Federal 10-yr. Daycare Study

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Federal 10-yr. Daycare Study
60
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 8:52am
http://www.msnbc.com/news/939921.asp?0cv=CB10#BODY

I saw this on NBC Nightly News last night and found the story at their website. The 10-year federally funded study shows that for some kids daycare increases aggression and misbehavior. Basically, for those kids, the longer they are in daycare up to kindergarten, the more aggressive they become. It also showed that the cortisol levels increased in some infants and toddlers in daycare, while it was lower in those who were at home. (Cortisol is the "stress hormone" and the higher the stress, the higher levels of cortisol.)

A majority of kids weren't as affected according to the study.

As with all studies, each "side" will point out the parts that prove their point or they will claim the study didn't consider certain factors. Those who SAH will look at this and be relieved they didn't send their kids, especially infants and toddlers, to daycare, and like me, ask how "normal" behavior in daycare compares to "normal" behavior of kids at home with mom. Those who WOH will be quick to point out that the study showed that the majority of the 1,000 kids studied weren't as affected, if at all.

Comments? Does this study confirm or change your mind at all? Or is it just another study that basically says nothing? For those of you who are always insisting on backing up opinions with facts or studies, does this study qualify for anything for both sides of the issue?

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Avatar for biancamami
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 9:53am
I have been trying to find at least the abstract of this study somewhere online...if anyone could please provide it.

Basically, I don't trust how media organizations interpret and regurgitate any scientific study. I rather do the reading and interpreting myself.

What I find is that MOST media outlets will take study results and twist them beyond comprehension in order to get a "story" out of it. It takes a careful analysis of the ACTUAL data, rather than the reporter's twist on it to really assess what this study is saying. In fact, I find many of the statements made about this study to be laughable...as in one article I read today where a reporter said that the bottom line of the study was that kids in DC were both "smart & nasty" ROFL! What a combo...I'm sure there was some MAJOR "simplification" going on right there!

Yep...the journal article is probably quite dull compared to all the headlines popping up on those "violent" DC kids but I'm sure much more useful observations can be gleaned from the actual text than from some reporter's selective view on the study (because they don't even have enough space to give ALL the relevant statistics...they just pick the ones THEY think are important)

Ana
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 11:10am
The study is linked to the New York Times online page. You have to register at their site and it's only free for seven days, after that you have to pay to read, but if you hurry over there, you can read it.
Avatar for biancamami
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 11:39am
Trust me, I'm registered with NYT! Its my hometown paper! Thanks.
Ana
Avatar for biancamami
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 12:14pm
OK...I couldn't find the journal article (not even through NYT) but I did find a more unbiased summary from the NIH and already I see a problem with the way this is being reported. Here is some of the "meat" of teh study which somehow doesn't make it into the headlines:

"Children were rated by mothers and teachers on items such as: child demands a lot of attention; argues a lot; bragging and boasting; cruelty, bullying or meanness to others; destroys things belonging to others; disobedient at home; disobedient at school; gets into many fights; lying or cheating; screams a lot."

Ok, so first of all this study is based on EXTREMELY subjective data because mothers and teachers are the ones reporting the behaviors. There are SO many variables to consider when analyzing a study that is dealing with someone reporting what their child is like as opposed to a more objective third party analyzing said behavior. I'm not saying the observations are NOT valid, but considering that the differences the study found in the degree of "problem" behavior between DC and non-DC kids is already SO small, and the fact that, as someone else said, there isn't a real control group, and the manner in which the data is collected makes this information a lot less significant in my view.


"One of the important findings of this study is that the strongest predictor of how well a child behaves was a feature of maternal parenting that the researchers described as sensitivity — how attuned a mother is to a child's wants and needs. The behaviors of the sensitive mother are child centered; the sensitive mother is aware of the child's needs, moods, interests, and capabilities. She allows this awareness to guide her interactions with her child. Children of more sensitive mothers were more competent socially, less likely to engage in disruptive behavior, and less likely to be involved in conflicts with their caregivers and teachers."

OK...so this seems to be saying that a mother's attentiveness drastically reduces behavioral problems. And isn't it likely that a mother who is neglectful would be just the kind of person to place her child in a bad daycare environment? Already I see many variables at play that have nothing to do with daycare per se. And I think if you consider yourself a "sensitive mother" you can pretty much rest easy that DC will not have any sort of drastic negative effect on the behavior or development of your child.

"Similarly, children whose parents had higher incomes and who were more highly educated also were more socially competent and less likely to engage in problem behaviors."

Ahhhh...now we're getting somewhere. It seems very likely to me that many of these "problem" DC behaviors might have to do with socioeconomic factors that are not being fully explored in the stories generated by this study. Because a headline that says "Children from lower incomes in run-down daycare facilities with neglectful mothers are more aggressive" doesn't make for a good headline.

"The study authors noted that their study was not designed to prove a cause and effect relationship. That is, the study cannot prove whether spending more time in child care causes children to have more problem behaviors. The behavior problems the researchers documented might be due to some other characteristic of the children or of their environment. Accompanying editorials in the July/August issue of Child Development offer possible explanations."

It would be interesting to read those editorials...seems like there might be more than one way to interpret these findings.

Ana
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 12:33pm
I run a childcare center. I read the study. The biggest sticking point is how the DC children are treated by their parents. (See my pasted post below)If parents spend their free time with their children the child tends to be better adjusted. The other issue is that each child has a different personality, "x" amount of 1000 DC children acting out may be the same as "x" amount of children of SAHP acting out.

This was my morning yesterday. My 2 1/2 DCB boy was dropped off today crying. Dad is wearing flip-flops and today is Wed. so Mom doesn't work either. He is starting to figure out that they aren't working on Wed. and he is still going to daycare. Fought coming in the house. He arched his back and pulled his legs up so he couldn't be set on the floor easily. He beat on the door after I closed it, trying to pull it open. So finally I opened the door he saw the car was gone, now he is standing in the corner.

While he was throwing his fit and Dad was apologizing for DCB's mood I said, "oh, not working today." He indicated that he wasn't. I then said something about DCB starting to understand things. My veiled reference to. Hey you idiot you son is behaving this way because he has figured out that you do not want to be around him on your days off!

These parents routinely take time off from work and take their other children on outings but place this child in daycare from 7 am until 6pm then he is put to bed at 8pm.Even during the school year mom does not work on Wed. and DCB is here from 7am until 6pm.

This is a child who has behaviour problems. What his parents, both working professionals, choose not to understand is that if they would spend time with him he would behave better.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 1:24pm
The news report of this study was so biased, that I could not give it any credence at all. They make the behavior of the 17% the major headline, and the fact that majority do not have behavior problems a minor headline. I think parental sensitiviy (not just matenal sensitivity) is a key factor here. I would say that the author of the article had a "hidden agenda" , except that they did such a poor job of hiding their agenda, that I would have to call it an obvious agenda.


Edited 7/17/2003 1:38:46 PM ET by idramamama
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 1:35pm
That must be so hard on you! I had a student like that at the day care. Even when the parents were off work, the kid was there for 9 hours. They figured they were paying for it, so they may as well bring him in. "Hello?" So "getting your money's worth" is more important than time w/your kid?

Parents like that REALLY p*ss me off!

C

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 1:38pm
I used to run a federally subsidized day care in my home. When I only made parents pay for the days they used, then on their days off, they would keep the child home. Well, I finally realized that I was never going to be able to pay for my expenses, b/c between 2 parents, there are enough holidays, personal days, etc. between the two of them that I RARELY got a full weeks pay. And its not like I ever got a complete day off (except maybe Christmas or Thanksgiving) I would just have fewer kids in a day, and less pay. When I finally restructured my rates, that's when I saw parents bring their kids in on their days off. I guess they figured if they had to pay for it, I was going to watch thier child. (How selfish, if you ask me, after all, THEY were getting paid for their day off) I can see a parent OCCASIONALLY leaving a child with a DCP, on a day when they are not working, perhaps so they can have couple time, go shopping, etc., but if this is done routinely as you have described, I agree, the child gets the clear message, that Mom & Dad really don't like spending time with them. JMHO.

I would like to add, that one couple paid me for everyday, right from the beginning before I restructured my rates. There were several times, when they used a day off from work to spend time with their kids, and they were happy to pay me for my day off. They also gave me a huge "bonus" at Christmas time. I must say, their kids were the best behaved, and very bright children too. I think this is because their parents genuinely enjoyed spending time with their kids, and they valued the DCP (me) and were willing to give me days off with pay, even tho' I wasn't requiring it. I recently got back in touch with the father, and he told me that his daugher (who is now a senior in HS) is planning on becoming a DR. and she already has been accepted at several colleges, and now she has to choose the one. Looks like DC did NOT negatively impact either one of their kids.

I think there are way to many factors to consider in how a child turns out. Quality of DC is just ONE factor, parental involvement and sesitivity to their child, and also, how much they ENJOY their child is even a BIGGER factor if you ask me. (after all, if a parent is involved & sensitive to their child, they are more likely to pick a higher quality of day care)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 1:42pm
I didn't realize every county didn't set rates and rules for childcare. It was assumed, at every place I contacted, that the parents paid 52 weeks of the year. That's just standard here, and required. The minimum rate is $175 per week per child. It's the only way to make sure providers earn a living wage. There are still not enough family child care homes.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 1:43pm
You & I must have been posting at the same time. I saw your message immediately after I posted mine.

In regards to "So "getting your money's worth" is more important than time w/your kid? "

When you read my post, about my experience as a DCP (in my home) you will see that the "money's worth angle" was pretty much it.

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