The Feminist Revolution has long sought to remove the woman from the home, to abolish motherhood, and institutionalize child care. Simone de Beauvoir explained why:
No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.
The Feminist Revolutionaries have yet to remove the option of choice. But they have succeeded in radically changing our society and our view of motherhood. From 1975 to 1993, children with absentee mothers increased from 33 to 55 percent in the US. What sort of children were being effectively left without mothers? Children from birth to 6 years old.
As Mary Eberstadt points out, we have witnessed a “near-total about-face in the way society views working mothers.”
Why is institutionalized childcare so destructive to the lives of children?
Stanford University School of Medicine has shown through a study that a child’s brain responds significantly more powerfully when listening to his own mother’s voice, as opposed to a stranger’s. Another study shows that boys “raised outside of an intact nuclear family” are “more than twice as likely as other boys to end up in prison.”
But as Ryan Anderson points out, “our culture doesn’t value the choice of a mother to devote herself for a time to childcare and homemaking.” Yet, despite these trends, there is good reason for a woman to cherish the young years of motherhood while she can.
Erica Komisar, a New York psychoanalyst and someone who is not a conservative, has specialized in developmental psychology. In her professional perspective, “It is indisputable that the first three years present a crucial, formative window.” In fact, “substantial research” confirms that “the more time a woman can devote to the joy and job of mothering during that period, the better the chance her child will be emotionally secure and healthy through his life.”
She explains one reason for this:
The healthy development of the right brain, which controls our resilience to stress throughout life, is a product of the attachment, bonding, and continuous care that a mother provides in the first three years.
Komisar explains that several studies show the hormones related to stress (namely, cortisol) are significantly higher among children who are regularly left to the institutionalized childcare centers. Day care does not provide the single-care nurturing that children need, especially from a mother. Unhealthy levels of stress due to absentee mothers creates emotionally and mentally unstable children–leading to increased mental disorders and increased violence and murder.
Increased Mental/Emotional Disorders
The higher levels of stress and anxiety that infants and toddlers face when a mother has a full-time job has been linked to increases in ADD/ADHD.
For example, today, 11% of children between 4 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD. Furthermore, children under 12 years of age have been hospitalized for eating disorders at an alarming rate, increasing by 119% in the past decade. Depression has sky-rocketed, with a 400% spike in anti-depressant medications being prescribed to children 12 years and younger. And what is a left-leaning psychoanalyst’s explanation for this? “Too often,” Komisar states, “mothers are putting their work and their own needs ahead of their children’s.”
Komisar is not the only woman whose research documents the effects of institutionalized childhood. Mary Eberstadt documents the correlation between children raised without mothers and homicides.
Jeffrey Dahmer, the Columbine boys, Charles Manson, and “Ted” Bundy, all had one thing in common–latch-key upbringing where the mother was not sufficiently involved in the lives of their children.
Eberstadt explains, “The litany of sensational murder cases is replete with just such people–the teenage or adult version of feral, abandoned, uncivilized children.” Of course, she admits that many latch-key kids turn out ok, nevertheless,
beneath the public anxiety provoked by every such savage, beneath even the ritual media cycle that follows the recorded-for-television atrocities, lies an element of unspoken truth about the link between these adolescent outcasts and the rest of society.
What about the fact that so many institutionalized children seem to turn out fine? If a man shoots his wife, she might turn out fine, especially thanks to modern medicine. But it neither makes shooting his wife justified or acceptable. To institutionalize new-borns and toddlers for the sake of money is neglect; a neglect which people are morally culpable for.
Interestingly, most women intuitively understand this. That is why three-quarters of women would rather not have a career (assuming we do not consider a part-time job to be a career). Further, the younger generation is proving (in this regard) to be more conservative than previous ones.
Bradford Wilcox terms this recent change as “neo-traditional.” And since the recent rise in public violence and ADD/ADHD has been directly linked to motherlessness and absentee mothers due to careers, this is an encouraging change.
There is, of course, a small group of sincere men and women whose zeal for money has shut their eyes to the ugly realities of institutionalized childcare. Only the foolish optimism of a broken ideology can deny the harsh realities stemming from absentee mothers. But feminism and greed has created an absentee culture. As Erica Komisar raises a question the church and every family seeking to be responsible stewards must face:
Our society values financial security and material success over the more important values of emotional security and connection to those closest to us. Are we making the right choice when we choose a more comfortable material life over the mental health and well-being of our children and ourselves?
Nicole LeamanSee More Essays
Nicole Leaman is a wife and mother of four daughters. With a degree in Criminal Justice, she writes essays about social matters regarding women and culture as a Senior Contributor to The Reformed Conservative.