does childcare have a lasting effect on childrens' wellbeing?

(21 Posts)
Lorelei2 Tue 05-Jul-16 20:35:52

I'm worried my children don't have the same bond with me and the same stability in their outlook because they attend childcare for the majority of the week. I see other children tagging along behind their mums (not necessarily doing anything exciting but just 'being with mummy') and I wonder whether they will have a better feeling of belonging than my children who are cared for by several different people. It fills me with a deep sadness to think my children are slightly different than if they'd been with me every day since they were born. I'd have learned to cope with them and discipline them properly and we'd have perhaps formed a better relationship because we were just always with each other. And it makes me very sad to think that the time is slipping away and we'll never get this precious time back. I wonder if I'd been with a different partner whether he'd have realised the importance of this grounding, instead he believes outside childcare helps children develop and has encouraged me to continue to work fulltime.

PhloppysFonics Tue 05-Jul-16 20:51:20

There is no right or wrong. What you have done is perfectly valid as are other options. Don't beat yourself up about choices you've made just focus on spending time and nurturing your children when you're with them.

Gizlotsmum Tue 05-Jul-16 20:53:17

Can't say I notice a difference in my 8 yr old and her non childcare reared friends...

Artandco Tue 05-Jul-16 20:53:43

I think childcare has a huge affect. However what depends on what childcare. Ie a nanny for a 7 year old child they have had since baby, is a huge positive as they have another close bond with somebody they trust and love. A nursery with new childcarer every 6 months isn't great as they wont ever form a close attachment

NickyEds Tue 05-Jul-16 21:22:21

I think Artandco is right, the quality of childcare makes a big difference. I'm a SAHM and can see no difference in terms of bonding between me and my dc and my friends who work and their children. However I know one friends lo was very unsettled and upset when her key worker left nursery, she had been with her since she was 6 months old so it was a big adjustment.

hmmmum Tue 05-Jul-16 21:27:13

I agree it's the quality of childcare that makes the difference. Also every family is different and you have to balance all the different needs that there are. There's no one perfect solution.
If you personally feel that you want more time with your kids, would it be possible for you to cut your work hours so you work a 4-day week? just because your partner strongly feels you should work full time doesn't mean you should, especially if you really like the idea of working a bit less and having the kids more.

NickyEds Tue 05-Jul-16 21:30:24

I would also say op that as a SAHM I have worries too, just different ones! I worry that ds's speech delay is because he didn't go to nursery, that he doesn't have as many friends as dc in childcare, that he might be bored with me......He started a couple of mornings a week at pre school at 2 because I was so worried (plus dd was 6 months old so I was knackered!).

Lorelei2 Tue 05-Jul-16 21:39:01

Thank you NickyEds for sharing. I always forget that SAHMs have such worries. I always see SAHMs as better mums and admire the fact they're choosing to be with their children (although I realise some don't necessarily choose). I think it's very admirable and I'm sure children of SAHMs will benefit in the long term.

Bottomchops Tue 05-Jul-16 21:53:30

Just don't go down the path of not disciplining them and buying them lots of "stuff" to make up for any guilt. I know full time mums can do this too; but imo this is more damaging for children. Feel good about your decision and be confident to discipline and say no etc.

aprilanne Tue 05-Jul-16 22:05:32

personally i can see a difference in my own sons who have always had a sahm .and my nieces who have always been with outside care givers .i dont know if its right or wrong but my sons and i have a very close relationship even although the eldest now grown men .but to be honest they are lazy bloody lumps the eldests partner is always complaining about him .where as my nieces are very independent teenagers eldest now 16 has been making everyones packed lunch since the age of 7 .they are very confident young ladies and i believe this is because they were not always with there parents and learned to be very self sufficient . so did i actually do my sons any favours being there 24/7 who knows .

Bottomchops Tue 05-Jul-16 22:29:41

Generally speaking I'd say that's pretty typical of the mother/son relationship; at least that of the last generation. Sons weren't called upon to help like daughters were, or even are. There's a lot of women having to teach their partners how to use a washing machine, when to hoover cos mummy did it all. I'm not projecting

corythatwas Wed 06-Jul-16 00:26:09

My dn was in fulltime childcare (nursery) and has a great relationship with his mum; don't think she has ever had any discipline problems either. He is also a very secure confident young man whereas my dd, who only went to a childminder part-time and had me as a SAHM the rest of the time, has always had high anxiety levels (though we do have a v good relationship). Personality, I reckon, and just the way things work out.

freshstart4us Wed 06-Jul-16 15:10:17

OP I worry about this too. My DD was 9 mo when I went back part-time increasing to full-time by the time she was 15 mo. She is 4.5 now and amazing, but has massive anxiety around me "disappearing" or not getting enough of me, even though I have been home now for over a year; albeit this was to have our DS. Am just about to go back to work, this time as there are two they will be taken care of in-home by an au pair, rather than nursery, and DD will be at kindergarten a few days a week. I feel bad that they are going to have different experiences, will always regret DD going to nursery 4 days a week for 8 hours a day (I always managed one WFH day, for which I will be eternally grateful) but I can't change it now. My gut instinct is that full time nursery is very stressful for them, but I also know it is the only option many families have. If you can change your hours and go part-time, work flexibly/from home or even 4 days, definitely do it and tell your DH to suck it up.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 06-Jul-16 15:18:57

I'd say not necessarily but it can do. Was working recently alongside a 19 year old who was saying how her relationship with her parents is a bit strained because they were fairly 'hands off' with parenting and she had a nanny from 3 months until she was at secondary school and she says she and her parents have never known how to interact with each other so times like Christmas and other 'enforced family time' as she put it, feel a bit awkward. In her case, I think her parents have tried to compensate by providing lots of material things - a private education, new car on her 18th etc but I couldn't help but feel sad that she feels her parents choices wrt childcare have had such a lasting effect.

Lorelei2 Wed 06-Jul-16 20:31:04

Thank you all for your replies. I've realised I can't turn back the clock on my oldest, he's about to go to school and I'll be dropping off and picking him up every day so no more childcare for him and my ds has less childcare than her brother did, she's with me on a wednesday and I pick her up at 3.45 instead of 5.00 for my son when he was little. My balance has changed for the better with a recent move change of job. I guess I'm reminiscing because my son is off to school and wondering if he'd be a different child and more ready for school emotionally if I'd been with him. However I think I need to give myself a reality check. He's very sociable and always gives me a kiss and cuddle when I leave him. He's very articulate and is always in on the action. I think I may have stronger doubts whether I am really a 'motherly' type and perhaps I feel I've denied myself that chance because I've wanted to keep going with work and not 'fail'. I know a good work like balance is paramount and actually I work in the evenings so only have to do 5 hours during the day and we do need my salary as we're self building. So maybe it's my problem to deal with in my own head and not blame the situation. Maybe I chose to keep working? If it had been so important to me not to work so much, surely I would've sorted it out. And perhaps I'm a better mother and wife because I do work? A better role model perhaps than if I'd forced myself to try and stay home and got frustrated because I wasn't contributing to the household and perhaps I would've been less stable to be around if I always felt useless to a certain extent. Sorry for the rant.

downright Wed 06-Jul-16 20:36:15

No I don't think being in childcare has affected my bond with my children.

Being with a settled, quality childminder simply gave them someone else to be lovely and bonded to! Them having a bond hasn't taken away from our bond at all. It's like having more than one child - the love just expands to encompass more people!

lenibose Wed 06-Jul-16 20:39:35

Hmm...honestly I don't think so. My son has been in childcare 4 days a week since he was 6.5 months. He is now 4.5 years old and has had the same CM all this time. He starts Reception this summer and his CM will be doing the after school care. He is like a member of her family and he has never complained about going off with her. I enjoy my work and the intellectual stimulation it brings. I believe that I am a better mother for it. More importantly, we need the second income and we are able to afford more things as a result- eating out on weekends, going to concerts/plays/holidays with DS.

Many of DS's classmates in preschool had SAHMs. I didn't see any difference at all. Some of them were very dedicated SAHMs, whereas several of the others were very hands off and were only SAHMs because their husbands had big jobs and weren't willing to do any childcare responsibilities so they had sacrificed their career. I don't think anyone is a better mother than anyone else. I think we all just try to do our best. I have no regrets about working. BUT I did find childcare that I was 100% comfortable with and it has contributed immensely to my peace of mind.

NataliaOsipova Wed 06-Jul-16 20:43:04

Do you know what - there is no optimal solution. I think everyone just does what's best for their family in the particular circumstances they're in. And I say that as a SAHM who firmly believed that being at home was best for us - in our circumstances. There are pros and cons with every set up and there is no perfect solution. If you've done what you feel is for the best, then that's all you can do. I know that sounds trite, but I firmly believe it.

starry0ne Wed 06-Jul-16 20:52:44

I am a childminder and can tell you I have a bond with the children I look after it is a very different bond to my own DS... All the children I look after while will come to me for a cuddle when tired, hurt them selves, upset still know I am not their mum. The way they talk about family is different.

NickyEds Wed 06-Jul-16 21:45:38

Your ds sounds lovely and I'm sure he'll be fine at school. One of my best friends went back to work when her ds was 6 months and swears that she is a better mother for it, she simply does not want to be at home and wants to be working-she's absolutely right. I love being a SAHM, I believe I'm contributing to our home and it's right for our dc.... but I could not imagine doing this under any sort of duress! It's not for everyone and I think it's far better to be happy working than unhappy at home.

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 06-Jul-16 21:54:48

I'm a mum of 3 and believe that it's a personality thing rather than a lack of bond. My son is 15 and was very similar since he was a baby. He's fiercely independent, stubborn alpha type whose never required my presence in order to feel secure. I've interpreted it as him being very secure with himself - a positive trait.

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