February 3, 2013

Motherlode: Is day care linked to bad behavior?

By KJ DELL-ANTONIA

(Continued from page 1)

That's consistent with the U.S. research as well. In 2007, Slate's Emily Bazelon contacted the author of that much-publicized earlier study, and asked her to examine the quality of care received by the children who spent more time in day care, and who had a higher-than-average incidence of bad behavior. "The kids with more reported behavior problems in elementary school were the ones who spent three or four years in day care and whose care was, on average, of lower quality."

If, when day care is consistently high quality and embraced by a society, the (already small) negative impact of time spent in that care is erased, then it's hard to argue that it's the fact of the day care itself that causes the problem. But "Socio-political Context of Upbringing Linked to Unruly Behavior in Some Children" makes for an unwieldy headline, and an obvious one. There are a whole lot of factors that play into being a child who enters low-quality day care at a very young age, and stays there. But none of them get people as worked up as "day-care kids have problems."

Which may be why this latest research study -- the one showing that day-care kids are doing just fine -- hasn't grabbed any major headlines at all.

Contact KJ Dell-Antonia at:

kj.dellantonia@nytimes.com

 

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