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Narrow research on working mums achieves little

Wednesday, 24 November 2004

Turner: Narrow research on working mums achieves little

A Ministry of Women’s Affairs report that claims there are no ill-effects on a child if both parents return to work immediately after its birth is far too narrowly focused on intellectual achievements, United Future’s Judy Turner said today in calling for wider research.

“Where is the research on bonding between parents and a child, rather than the bonding between a paid caregiver and a child?” Mrs Turner, United Future’s family affairs spokeswoman, asked.

“Indeed, where is the bonding at all, if there is a creche situation with a number of children under the control of workers who simply cannot give a child the time they would get from a parent at home? And what are the emotional and social impacts of that?

“Too simply look at how a child reads and does maths some years down the track is to look at a very limited part of what it means to raise a healthy, whole and well-balanced child,” she said.

“Clearly there are many families where the decision to have both parents working is not a choice, but a necessity, and no one wishes to make their decision more difficult than it may already be, but research such as this also serves to undermine and minimise the very real family, social and emotional benefits that are gained when a parent makes the choice to stay home and raise children.

“As a society we have not respected or acknowledged that choice enough,” Mrs Turner said.

“The Ministry of Women’s Affairs would do well to broaden its criteria a little.”


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