Popular Aussie Children’s Writer Brands Childcare a “form of Abuse”

by Tanya Thomas on Sep 2 2008 9:05 AM

Celebrated Australian writer of children’s literature, Mem Fox, has condemned the practice of placing new born babies in childcare. She labeled it as being nothing short of a “form of abuse”.

The author of the best-selling 'Possum Magic' said that she believed society would look back on the trend of allowing infants only a few weeks old to be put into childcare and wonder, "How could we have allowed that child abuse to happen?".

"I just tremble. I don't know why some people have children at all if they know that they can only take a few weeks off work," quoted her, as saying.

"I know you want a child, and you have every right to want a child, but does the child want you if you are going to put it in childcare at six weeks?

"I don't think the child wants you, to tell the honest truth. I know that's incredibly controversial," she added.

She said a Queensland childcare worker had told her earlier this year: "We're going to look back on this time from the late '90s onwards - with putting children in childcare so early in their first year of life for such long hours - and wonder how we have allowed that child abuse to happen".

"It's just awful. It's awful for the mothers as well. It's completely heartbreaking. You actually have to say to yourself, 'If I have to work this hard and if I'm never going to see my kid and if they are going to have a tremendous stress in childcare, should I be doing it?' Fox said.

"Babies have much higher levels of stress in childcare," she added.

The 62-year-old author said that parents were sometimes disturbed by 'the trappings' of having a baby, such as designer clothing and decorated nursery.

"When they have the good house, the good car, the good job - we're talking about very advantaged people - they have everything and they think, 'Now we need a baby which we can dress up and make look perfect'," she said.

"But do they realize that child needs love more than anything else in the world? It needs love, time and attention," she added.