Childcare in the age of divorce and atheism
Judging by the placement of the word 'atheism' in this title, I'd say that columnist Tasha Kheiriddin, co-author of the assuredly gripping Rescuing Canada's Right: A Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution, isn't a big fan of atheism.
In her article, she quotes a new study from the Institute for Marriage and Family Canada, which, as far as I can tell, exists as some kind of conservative think tank. Their site seems to bolster families and marriage - well, man-woman marriage that is. Here is the study.
Anyway, to boil things down, the study found that Quebecers are much more likely to prefer sending their children to daycare than to be cared for by relatives. In numbers, 34% of Quebecers prefer a family member over another caregiver, while this is 55% in the rest of Canada. Interesting, isn't it? I would agree, it's odd and worthy of more investigation.
Why would common-law parents prefer outsiders over relatives? Are they less connected to their own family? Do they view the bonds of family, and extended family, as less important? The study speculates on these reasons, but doesn’t reach any firm conclusions.
Now, as far as I can tell - and someone correct me if I'm wrong - Kheiriddin says "common-law" here simply because parents are several times more likely to be common-law in Quebec. This is likely a lasting reaction to the theocratic oppression of the Catholic Church. Anyway, a link seems to be made here subtly and I haven't seen where it's justified.
Anyway, all of these are pretty good questions! Maybe financial reasons also come into play or even demographic reasons. The model of mom staying home here in Quebec seems rare to me, anecdotally at least. Perhaps some would prefer to stay at home but are forced by financial reasons to work? Perhaps others simply wish to have careers of their own? I know a family where dad stays home with the kids and mom works.
As for the relatives, perhaps they also work or perhaps they are two old to care for the children properly. Who knows?
And in my own experience as a parent, there is more in Quebec than a set of grey monolithic day care centers. You know the picture that's being painted. Sterile hospital-like institutions run by the evil, secular socialist government. But in my experience this isn't the case. Our son was cared for in a small private daycare center. There are thousands of daycare options and some of them are run in private homes. We still got the tax break, and ours was still applying for $7/day status (although many have this status).
It's not all black and white.
The article talks about how 76% of those polled outside of Quebec believe a child should be at home with a parent until the age of six contrasted with 70% in Quebec. There is a notion that children who remain at home with a parent are better off than those who attend a daycare center. Age six? Perhaps Quebec is really different than the rest of Canada, because I do not know many parents who have the luxury of staying home with their children.
Here's one commenter's response to the article that mirrors a lot of what I hear in Quebec. It's just a different attitude and it is not all that uncommon.
"Outsiders have training in early childhood education.
Day cares offer socialization, experiences of enrichment, games, learning, getting out of the house-- all wonderful things for children.
My family is extremely close, and all of the kids were in day care. This is a bunch of poppycock."
In Barbados, from whence my wife's family hails, children as young as three or four are sent to pre-school and it has worked out fine. This is not to say I disagree with parents who stay home with their kids. If that's what you want and you have the means then go for it!
And that's where the article should have probably left off: Excellent Questions but more research necessary. But instead she posits this, pretty much out of the blue.
Throughout history, blood and faith have been the twin ties uniting the family. Today, both of those are ebbing. That may cheer libertarians and atheists. But the state abhors a vacuum — and, as in Quebec, usually is all too ready to step in to the void once filled by family and church. Sadly, we are all too ready to let them.Why's atheism there? It just sort of got slid in along with some fairly typical conservative talking points: "government - bad", "religion - good", "atheism - bad", "family(tm) - good", "church - good".
The last thing Quebecers need is more faith.
Here's one more exchange in the comments section of the article: