gorilla_inset.jpgEvery few months or so a study comes out about how day care is creating gorillas. The latest is a study published in the journal Child Development that finds kids who spend a lot of time in child-care facilities exhibit more minor behavior issues than there at-home counterparts. Some of those issues include aggression and disobedience. (Full disclosure here: both my children fall into this category of spending a lot of time in child care centers during their pre-K years.)

For working parents whose kids are spending their days in child care centers it’s just another bit of bad news to make them feel guilty and crummy about themselves. But guys, let’s not take the noose out quite yet.

Am I crazy, or doesn’t this study make perfect sense. We parents who have chosen this option send our little tikes out into the world on their own at an early age, so they learn independence early on. With independence comes free thinking, at least thinking that is separate from what their parents want to shove down their throats.

Yes, these kids are more disobedient and more aggressive because they can be and have to be. It’s the real world baby..dog eats dog. They’re only gaining experience that they’ll need anyway when they get into the real world..the rough and tumble work world.

When kids spend every waking moment at home with a stay-at-home mom or dad there is little opportunity for real independence. The parents make sure they eat, make sure they do certain crafts, make sure that if there are siblings around no one ends up biting the other on the butt, or other body parts.

My son often gets punched in the head by a boy at school he considers his buddy, and I remember many times my daughter got into scuffles with her pals, not to mention her teacher.

I proclaim that these kinds of experiences are not a good or bad thing. It’s just life and kids learn to deal with life quite well when we let them. You still have to be there for them and keep them on the right track when they come home with attitude because some other kid mouths off like a 10th grader, but let’s put this all in perspective.

There was some positive news in the study. Turns out children in high-quality day care (whatever the heck that is) have better vocabularies, and some steps up in math and reading. Alas, all these advances tend to fade as the years go on.

So it turns out we all end up on the same playing field sooner or later, whether your parents dropped you off at car line, or you were connected at the hip with mom or dad.

And is there really anything wrong with creating a little gorilla in the mist? You don’t see any gorillas leaving their natural habitat to hang out with the Dian Fossey’s of the world.

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