Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Home Alone America (Review)


Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs and Other Parent Substitutes, Mary Eberstadt, 2004, ISBN 1595230041

Many books have been written recently telling women that they can Have It All; motherhood and a career. Few, if any, books look at the child's point of view.

Even the best day care centers are little better than germ factories. If one child is sick, which happens frequently, it is nearly guaranteed that all of the other children, and the day care provider, will also get sick. There is also a large increase in aggressive and violent behavior among 3 and 4-year-olds. Pro-day care groups, who the author calls separationists, think that this is a good thing. Getting sick now means they will get fewer illnesses as they grow up, and being an aggressive bully means that they will grow up to be the sort of person not afraid to fight for what they want. (Really?)

A major reason for the epidemic in childhood obesity is the lack of parental involvement. There are no adults around to keep an eye on children as they play in the backyard, or the local playground, so children are told to stay inside and lock the door. Children also go right for the junk food, skipping the fruit, because there are no adults around to teach them otherwise.

Symptoms of conditions like Attention Deficit Disorder include fidgeting, losing things, interrupting, squirming and ignoring adults. These seem to be very close to normal childhood and adolescent behavior. No doubt, there are some children with an actual disability who are really helped by drugs like Prozac and Ritalin. For everyone else, is there some disease or mutation sweeping America causing the "wiring" in millions of adolescent brains to be faulty, requiring such psychotropic drugs?

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