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Will Using a Nanny Negatively Affect Your Child?

Once in a while, a book touches a controversial topic that causes furor and sell lots of volumes. This is, however, one book I wouldn’t buy nor read.

A Nanny’s Influence on Boys

According to Dr. Dennis Friedman, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a male child who grew up under the care of a nanny is likely to become an adulterer later in life. The “outsourcing” of childcare by a mother to other women gives her son the impression that multiple females are required to meet his needs, introducing rather early in life the concept of “the other woman.” He expounds his idea in his book entitled “The Unsolicited Gift: Why We Do The Things We Do“, which was reviewed by Time magazine.

A Nannies Influence on Girls

And the nanny issue is not restricted to boys only. Girls, too, get “damaged” by being under the care of nannies according to Dr. Friedman. Mom’s absence leads to a “vacuum of need” in baby girls that will later be compensated by promiscuity or substance use.

Expectantly, there is a loud cry of outrage from working mothers and cuckolded housewives. His book basically gives the following messages:

  • Many things that we do as adults were determined by our mother’s love we experienced as a child. So if we go astray, we can blame it all on Mom.
  • Mothers shouldn’t work, at least at the early years of a child’s life.

Other Professional Opinions

Other psychiatrists criticize the fact that Friedman doesn’t present any data that support his conclusions. Dr. Jean Mercer, an infant psychologist thinks the conclusions does not make “developmental sense.” Others believe that his view is a bit “skewed” considering that his previous books dealt with the psychology of the British royal family. What he gleaned from his research for those books may not exactly be representative of how normal people live their lives.

Here’s What I Think

Personally, I think such allegations are ridiculous not to mention narrow-minded. There are many cultures in this world where childcare is not the sole responsibility of the mother. I come from a culture where aunts, older sisters, cousins, grandmothers – and yes nannies – help out with the childcare while moms go and work. I never saw of any statistics that shows higher rate of adultery compared to other countries.

In some ethnic groups in Africa and South America (or even in former communist countries in Europe), child-raising is more of a team effort rather than a solo occupation, where children are taken care of in a communal way. These children have been shown to be more socially capable than their counterparts growing up as an “only child.”

What do you think?

Is there a “right way” and a “wrong way” of raising a child? Is it fair to blame our moms for our adult mistakes?


4 Responses to “Will Using a Nanny Negatively Affect Your Child?”

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