There’s a lot of discussion these days about the high cost of raising a child and caring for him. In fact, just this week, the USDA rolled out its numbers on the cost of raising a child. Warning: It’s not very pretty:
“[F]or a child born in 2015, a middle-income married-couple family will spend between $12,350 and $13,900 annually (in 2015 dollars) – or $233,610 from birth through age 17 – on child-rearing expenses. Families with lower incomes are expected to spend $174,690 and families with higher incomes are expected to spend $372,210 from birth through age 17.”
Reporting on these findings, The Christian Science Monitor suggests that a decent portion of these cost increases are due to childcare costs necessitated by more mothers entering the workforce. You see, even though many of today’s mothers have been driven into the workforce either by financial or societal pressures, many of them don’t want their child to fall behind or have a poor chance of success just because he did not get the nurturing or development which high-quality childcare can give.
Thus it is not surprising that individuals like Ivanka Trump have advocated for greater government assistance in helping families to afford high-quality childcare.
But I have to wonder if even kids in high-quality childcare programs won’t miss out on an important component of future success. That component is security.
According to Psychology Today, “secure kids are confident, feel safe, and are resilient.” One of the best ways for a parent to build that security is to spend time, build relationships, and be the trustworthy confidant in the life of one’s child.
As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, it’s downright hard to do that when both parents are working long hours and struggling for basic survival the rest of the time.
One has to wonder: instead of providing financial help to parents for high-quality childcare, would we be better off figuring out a way to encourage one parent to return home and be the secure anchor children need?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.