Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Preschool: helping raise poorly adjusted children

Last week, LifeSite.net, one of my favorite pro-life news sources, broke a story about the harm done to children whose parents place them in preschool. Often preschool is used by parents who work or feel that their child has a development disability. It is also used mostly by parents who have just one or two children.

LifeSite.net reports that in reality, "preschool has a negative effect on a child's social and emotional development, according to a study of 14,000 US preschool children." Surprisingly, it is the white children of middle-class families who suffer the most from preschool, and the earlier a child enters, the worse off he or she is.

Another study from 2001 goes hand-in-hand, showing that "the more hours children spend in daycare, the more likely they are to become aggressive, disobedient, and defiant by the time they are in kindergarten."

Clearly, the issue is not the content of the lessons at preschool, but the neglect and abandonment a child feels by not being around at least one of the parents throughout the day. The two-parent family structure is not just some "freak of nature," but it is the best environment for a child to be raised, to be challenged and to grow.

In their report, "Why Marriage Matters (Second edition)," the Institute for American Values drew 26 conclusions about the importance of marriage from the social sciences. One of those conclusions is that "children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than do children in other family forms."

Part of "liv[ing] with their own two married parents" is actually having stable, wholesome time with them. When parents neglect their children in order to hold two jobs outside of the home, an overbearing social schedule, memberships to sports clubs and country clubs, and more, the children feel that neglect in the fact that they are "pawned off" on daycares and preschools to raise them.

It can be said that preschool only helps parents to neglect the responsibility of childrearing. Stay-at-home moms and homeschooling moms have known for years that the best place for children to grow up is in the home. Though the convenience of preschool helps parents be able to provide more material goods for their children or provide peer groups for the young children, their social upbringing and health are hindered because they are not in the natural structure of a family. (Learning happens naturally when a child observes older and younger siblings and two parents as well as their interaction with each other.)

In paragraph 48 of The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, the Pontifical Council for the Family states:

The family environment is thus the normal and usual place for forming children and young people to consolidate and exercise the virtues of charity, temperance, fortitude and chastity. As the domestic church, the family is the school of the richest humanity. This is particularly true for the moral and spiritual education on such a delicate matter as chastity.

They also call families "rich in the strengths" necessary for the proper upbringing of children. With social development linked so closely to a child's upbringing in chastity, virtue and goodness, it is so important that families make the sacrifices necessary to raise children in loving service of the God who entrusted them with that precious little life.

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