Wednesday, November 25, 2020

What about the Children?

We have, on several occasions, drawn attention to the fact that closing schools is bad for children. It is also bad for their mothers. The teachers’ unions do not care. The Democrat mayors and governors do not care. They want to show themselves to be intrepid warriors against the coronavirus. This is the empathy party, keep it in mind.

We note that America has closed more schools for longer periods of time than have any other countries.

Yesterday, Lisa Miller wrote an excellent article about the damage that these policies are doing. She tells a grim story, well researched and comprehensive. Obviously, she is not promoting a political agenda. She is simply asking: What about the children?

Researchers asked parents to record their children’s regressions. The parents’ reports were alarming:

They observed their kids’ sudden regressions and general nervousness as novelties. Toilet-trained children were wetting their beds, and kids who once went to sleep easily became hard to soothe, waking at night or crawling in with their parents. “My son is suddenly scared of everything,” one Ohio parent wrote in the first week of June. An Arizona parent corroborated: “Our 2-year-old has had a very sudden increase in separation anxiety. She doesn’t like it when we leave the room, and at night she takes a long time to fall asleep because she doesn’t want us to go.”

By summer, the cabin fever and separation from friends, as well as the disruption of routine, were taking a toll. At week 12, 79 percent of parents of kids under 5 said their children were more fussy and defiant than before, and 41 percent of their children were more fearful or anxious. Harried parents reported frequent tantrums and incessant, escalating sibling fights. One young boy in New York mourned the loss of his day care, shuttered for more than two months, and chanted the name of each child in his class every night in an incantation of grief. Just after the Fourth of July, a mother in Missouri noted that her daughter had gotten more demanding, wanting extra attention especially when she was on video calls. That same week, a young mother in Pennsylvania worried that four months of isolation had been “devastating” to her daughter’s mental health. “She really needs to get back in counseling, but we’re concerned about exposure.”

Miller calls it a “global experiment in child psychology:”

A recent study in JAMA Pediatrics found that in Hubei province, where COVID-19 raged during the winter months of 2020, school-age children who quarantined for just 30 days reported measurably more depression and anxiety than similar pre-pandemic cohorts. A small Harvard study on the effects of the pandemic has found that caregiver-reported depression, anxiety, and misbehavior among American kids in the general population to have reached levels typically seen only in those previously diagnosed with a form of mental disorder. According to a literature review out of the University of Bath, persistent loneliness and isolation among children of the kind that has become quite widespread during the pandemic can lead to suicidal ideation and self-harm and to significant depression. “The kids will carry these experiences through life,” Fisher told me. “And it’s not going to be good.”

We know and have known that children best in the presence of a responsive caregiver. This means that screen time and day care cannot compensate for an absent or distracted mother:

Decades of research has definitively shown that the presence of a responsive caregiver, especially during early childhood, when the brain is extremely plastic, is the crucial ingredient in healthy development. This stable adult attention is exponentially more meaningful when children are growing up in persistent adversity: environments of neglect, abuse, deprivation, or poverty that medical and psychological professionals call “toxic stress.”

Children are being abandoned. Miller distributes the blame, but ought we not to notice that the school shutdowns have been imposed by Democratic politicians, people like Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti and Gavin Newsom. As noted here and elsewhere the children suffering the most are inner city minority children:

There are 74 million kids under 18 in the U.S., which is to say more children in America than there are Trump voters, a greater number than the population of France. And the collective shrug of big business, policy-makers, and government with regard to the fates of these children amounts to wholesale abandonment. (“I’m kind of discouraged, frankly, right now,” Senator John Cornyn said weakly of the congressional impasse holding up additional relief funds.) In September, Fisher’s research showed that 60 percent of Black, Latinx, and single-parent families were facing at least one material hardship: difficulty paying for rent, food, utilities, or health care. It also showed that 40 percent of all American families were facing these hardships. “There’s an erosion of well-being that’s directly tied to money and the ability to pay for basic needs,” Fisher said. “There’s no reason to think people are going to be able to engage in nurturing ways with their kids when they’re worrying about food. This is a perfect storm of toxic stress. With what we know about how vulnerable kids are to stress early in life, it’s just shocking to me the way that it’s all adding up. We’re all going over the edge together.”

And, of course, with the schools shut down, women are necessarily removing themselves from the workforce.

Nine months since the country’s schools shut down, nearly 60 percent of American kids are still learning entirely online and someone needs to look after them. Women flooded the workplace over the past 30 years, but as they did, no one — not employers, governments, or, for the most part, spouses — picked up in any meaningful or systemic way the main job they left behind: the day-to-day business of caring for children. “Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women,” the sociologist Jessica Calarco recently said.

Miller is slightly disingenuous here. Is it really possible to replace mothers? And, lest we forget, America is leading the world in single-parent households. 

And why is it a government responsibility to provide childcare? Most other countries are sending children to school The CDC in America says that the safest place for children is school. 

A child at home is an irrefutable priority, putting too many mothers in an impossible bind, especially if their income contributes significantly (or exclusively) to the family’s bottom line. More than 15 million American children are raised by single mothers; if that mother quits work, who’s paying the rent?



Anonymous said...

The Imperial edicts being handed down by our Betters are a social experiment that they see is working. The Teachers' Union members have seen that they get paid for not working and they see no reason to ever work again.

pakistani matrimonial rishta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pakistani matrimonial rishta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.