Anxiety, poor school performance and suicidal conduct have been among the frequent signs of sexual abuse. Excessive masturbation and other unusual sexual activities are also associated with sexual abuse. Symptoms of emotional abuse, on the other hand, are loss of self-esteem, sleep disturbances, headaches or stomach aches, refusal to go to school and running away from home. Neglect can be more visibly detected when the child's normal physical, social, emotional and mental development is hampered. Symptoms can be underweight, slower acquisition of language skills and emotional neediness. Child abuse inflicts lifelong consequences (Baker 1999). These include poor school work, emotional problems, the formation of an antisocial personality, promiscuity, drug or alcohol abuse and suicide attempt. Abused children often find difficulty in establishing intimate relationships as adults (Baker).
The economic, cultural, and social revolution 50 years ago changed the scenario for everyone. Young women joined the workforce even when they became mothers. To fill the parental gap when both husband and wife worked, the concept of child care centers was established (Meyerhoff 2004).Working parents and other creators of the child care center concept left out the aspect of socialization. Young children have the fundamental need for it and must be guided adequately in that stage in order to grow up and develop normally. At a child or day care, children, especially young children, continue to develop socially with or without correct guidance. In this setting, they develop social skills by imitating and through operant conditioning. They watch the caregivers and other children behave and they imitate their behavior. They also learn from operant conditioning of reward and punishment. They learn to do what rewards them and avoid what brings them punishment. A lot depends on the environment of the chosen child care center. The undisputed fact is that children who are raised primarily at home develop much better social skills than those who spend much time in group care. Parents must remember that early childhood education or the concept of child care center was designed to meet the needs of adults or parents, not those of the children. It was the response to the parents' need to work and separate from their children while at work. They are clearly sacrificing the children's requirements for the development of guided social skills in favor of their work. In addition, more and more parents have begun feeling guilty that there is something amiss in the set-up (Meyerhoff).
A study conducted by the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies said that the average cost of quality child care exceeded the rent and other monthly household expenses (Grooms 2007). There are available child care subsidies in many States, such as Wisconsin and Minnesota, which can help working families meet the costs. But many low-income families cannot afford to meet the co-payment requirements for these subsidies. Minnesota and Wisconsin were among the 10 least affordable States when it came to child care costs for infants and young children in child care centers. As a result, these affected families gave up quality in favor of cost or frequently changed from one child care provider to another in order to make ends meets. Neither was beneficial to the healthy development of the growing child. An average and licensed center in 2005 charged $146.93 a week for children less than 2 and $119.09 for those aged 2 to 12. These centers establish their own prices, which include hours they spent in planning activities, shopping for supplies and attending continuing training and education classes. Costs were high because these centers were running a business (Grooms).
But a long-term national study on the emotional connection between mothers and their 15-month-old infants revealed that regular child care outside the home need not be detrimental to that connection and the healthy development of the child (Bower 1996). Co-author of the study, Sarah Friedman of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the other researchers found no relation between the infants' attachment security and the quality of day care and the duration of the infants' stay as long as the mothers remained sensitive to them when the mothers returned for them. The study involved 1,153 children and their families in Boston, Little Rock, Seattle and seven other locations. The children surveyed were 1-month-old when the study started and tracked until they were 7. The mothers' personality traits, their proficiency at child rearing and care and other important family influences and conditions were more critical to infant attachment security and development than other factors. But researchers admitted that the long-term effects of child care on development remained uncertain (Bower).
Conclusion recent national survey showed that many States lagged behind in regulating the operations and quality of child care center. Cases of child abuse in all its types continue to increase in the past years, some occurring in child care centers or committed by babysitters and other child caretakers. The symptoms of abuse may also indicate the quality of care. Parents must also contend with the high cost of quality day care services and risk their children's developing poor social skills in these child care centers. But current research also showed that regular day care does not have to interfere with the emotional connection between a working mother and her infant. Adequate provision for the child's basic physical needs, the feeling of being valued, being allowed to play and the mother's personality traits weigh much more heavily (Bower).
Baker, H. (1999). Child abuse. 3 pages. Encyclopedia of Medicine: Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine.
Bower, B. (1996). Mom-child relations withstand day-care attachment behavior in infants. 3
Pages. Science News: Science News Service, Inc.
Grooms, a. (2007). Quality child care expensive. 2 pages. La Crosse Tribune: ProQuest