Child development is a very important in today’s psychology. That is why it is not surprising that so much research has been developed on that topic. In the article “Transforming the Debate About Child Care and Maternal Employment” the author, Louise B. Silverstein, presents a very interesting point of view on the history as well as the future of psychological research on child care and influence of maternal employment on child development.
The very essence of Silverstein’s argument was the biggest shock to me. She claims that psychological research and political culture is highly influenced by, or should I say contaminated with, the myth of motherhood. Up to 19th century motherhood was not a full time job and an essential component for a healthy child development. This approach started to change at the end of the 19th century, when under the influence of politics, clergy and psychology, the weight of child’s development was shifted from the society and father almost exclusively onto mother. It was believed at that time that “what happens to the child is largely a product of who the mother is and what she does or does not do” (Silverstein, 1026).
The theory of heavy influence of mother’s behavior on the child has been the subject of the research by Bowlby and Spitz on child care. It has leaded them both to similar conclusions. The research has shown that “emotional disorders and intellectual retardation observed in institutionalized infants were the result of the deprivation of a continuous relationship with mother” (Silverstein, 1026). This conclusion would seem completely logical if it was not for the fact that mother’s actions, or their lack, were the only factor taken under consideration in the study. That problem was noticed by Rutter, who after analyzing his studies, came to a very challenging conclusion. He concluded that “emotional disorders and intellectual retardation (…) were the consequence of a wide range of factors” (Silverstein, 1027). Unfortunately, Rutter’s findings were not accepted by the research community and the scientists kept gathering studies influenced by Bowlby’s theory.
Later research conducted by many professionals focused on the child-care disruption of attachment process of child to mother and the degree of that attachment in children put through child care program. That research data has not presented any consistency of significant differences in the degree of bonding between mother and child between child-care and home-care groups of children.
The research on maternal employment was more successful...