Balancing love and work in the family

Where can I find supporting documentation to support my thoughts that it is better for children to be raised at home than be in a daycare. I am working from my house and my wife wants to put our two year old and four year old in daycare so I can work outside of the home and make more money.

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Gayle Peterson

Gayle Peterson, PhD, is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She is a clinical member of the Association... Read more

There are no studies (to my knowledge) that support homecare over daycare in all circumstances. Perhaps because these are such global generalizations. You will fare better in your discussions with your wife, if you focus on your specific situation and what your goals are as a family.

First, examine your circumstances in light of what is in the best interest of your children. Is your desire to stay home with your children based on their needs or your own self-interest? Do your children get your full time attention when you are working or are they under someone else's care? Do you split your attention between caring for them and working? If they were to be in daycare, how much of the time would they be there and what kind of care would benefit their individual development? If home, do they enjoy developmentally stimulating activities and play with other children? Socialization is an important part of their development. What measures do you take to assure they are enjoying optimal benefit from being in your care and at home with you?

You are a parent and you have equal say in what you believe is in your children's best interests. If you and your wife agree that it is truly in their best interests to be cared for by you at home, you may want to consider taking out a "parenting loan" which enables you to be a stay-at-home Dad. When your family goals involve supporting primary relationships with your children, it may mean that you could borrow enough money to subsidize the early years of development and focus on increased earnings as your children mature. The "pay-off" would possibly include a greater knowledge and solidified relationship with your children which may prove beneficial to their security and self-esteem. In other words, it is possible to place love and nurturance in family relationships equal to or even above (at certain periods of your child's development) money-making work.

Economic and nurturing goals are open for discussion and negotiation between yourself and your wife. Create balance between economic and caretaking realms by examining the true nature of what "homecare" means in your circumstances and in your children's development. There is no reason to assume that "homecare" is always better than "daycare". This comparison must be made by understanding your children's needs and how they are best fulfilled.

Have a discussion with your wife and determine what benefits your children and why. Your voice is a Father's voice. Your feelings and opinions matter. Be honest about putting your children's best interests first. Discuss family goals that value both the role of work and the role of nurturance. And create a successful plan to balance both!

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