Sociology 214H1F - Family Patterns
Week 11: Family Insecurity in Neoliberal Times
- Nuclear Family: thats how we build houses
- Social assistance: historically and now, this is geared to women with low income- below
the poverty line, who do not have a partner to support them. Remember, if the woman
resides with the husband, it is harder to receive social assistance. Hours of work have
gotten longer over the last few decades.
- Canadian federal government have continued to assume that there is somebody at home
taking care of children. When couples have children, often the mother changes her job to
get a job that is more flexible or less demanding/ cuts back her hours/switches from full
time to part time work. Men, on the other hand do not do this. This adjustment for women
has lifelong impact on their earnings.
Governments and Employers assumption that people live in conventional muclear families, with
mothers home caring for their children.
A. Governments and employers assumption that people live in conventional nuclear
families, with mothers home caring for their children.
1. The case for universal day care
- most governments argue for development meaning good day care not bad day care
with trained staff early childhood education certificates and educational program built
into daily routine
- Most European countries have daycare or in France have pre-school at age 3
universal childcare is part of their programs
In Canada Quebec as of 1996 they introduced universal health care- took a while to
implement- but these children have the right to a day care space (7$ a day)
- Every government for the last early 80s as promised they would develop such a
program minus Harper government
- Is day care a good option? The evidence on the effects of day care
There have been a few studies of the effects of day care where the comparison is
between kids in good day care facilities from early on vs. kids home full time with moms
and comparison with children take care by babysitters so the question is what is the
impact of good day care on children? In this society the assumption we all have is
that children especially babies, toddlers, are best off when at home with mothers (this is
the assumption) but is it? lets go over the evidence.
First to address concerning universal day care:
- Down side of day care is that little kids are sick a lot because they are with other kids a
- Physical growth? Height and Weights?
Kids form low income families are significantly better off in day care facilities in terms of
physical growth (height and weight measures) better off in terms of motor
1 development better than similar kids in low in come position that are at home with
homes- so they do better physically if in day care facilities
- Middle and class do the same even though sick more
(2) Cognitive Development?
- children significantly benefit from institutional day care compared to children at home
they are significantly more cognitively developed than children who stayed at home
(memory, comprehension, problem solving, speech is more complex as well, more
empathic, better identity of others feelings
- Children from low income families have IQs higher (20-30 points) if in daycare
- Middle class kids not so much but in some studies they do
Clear intellectual improvement if in daycare!
- Pre-school has same effects
- This is good day care with educational programs!
(3) Relations with Parents: mothers concern over the years has been these kids who
be less attached to mothers if they went to day care measure attachment The
Stranger experiment- children are no less attached to mothers than those who have
been at home full time, not anymore attached to daycare staff either when you
compare them to kids at home they seem to have the same degree of attachment to
mothers as those kids who stayed home difference is that they do not cry as much
when mom leaves room
(4) Relations with other children and peers studies have found children in day care
develop social skills in advance of children who have been at home. Thus they learn to
play, reciprocal play at a very early age, day care kids develop socially a bit earlier,
more cooperative, more mature but also more aggressive.
These differences between kids at day care and those at home are clear when they
enter school! The differences do disappear over several years!
Why the positive advantages? the studies show that they are because you have 2
things (1) skilled people caring for the children, people taught to do it, taken courses on
psychology of 2 year old (2) programs built into these good day care facilities
Fox would point out some other things about day care besides above results from
- (1) environment - you have an environment that is built for tiny people -
proportionate to their size, stimulating environment
o It is also a safe environment!
- (2) people taking care of children together, not alone, different work experience
then, have people watching each other, no harmful actions then - people talk to
each other as they work there is a conversation going of children and work
this is healthy vs. mothers home alone who suffer from a sense of isolation
thus there are benefits to the worker too
2- Enough day care for children today in Toronto (only for 15%- 80% do not have
- There is a solution to the problem we need to get there but we are not there yet
need to do like Quebec with universal
- 2 years ago there was a ranking of 25 wealthy countries across the world in
terms of day care Canada ranked at 25 worst in the world for day care we
were behind the U.S in terms of where we are in child care
This is one indicator of how we assume there is a mother home taking care of
WE also assume children are private responsibilities- not social Canada: child is
a lifestyle choice apparently (perceived to be so)
The clearest indication of how we assume all are nuclear families is when we look
at how single mothers get a long the final type of family we will look at
2. The difficulties of lone-parent families-
(a) 2006, almost 16% of families & over 18% of children younger than 15 years
lived in a single parent family This means lone-parent families are NOT
- Turns out the biggest source of single parent families is DIVORCE, not teenage
- Teen mothers- grew up in impoverished families