Indiana governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s chauvinistic op-eds from the late 1990s keep coming back to haunt him. He has argued that Disney’s “Mulan” is liberal propaganda, and insisted that cigarettes do not cause cancer, prompting the tobacco industry to generously subsidize his political career. The most recent object of scrutiny is a the op-ed that claims children who attend daycare are “emotionally stunted.”
“Am I condemning anyone who has chosen the day-care route? Absolutely not. I am criticizing a culture that has sold the big lie that ‘Mom doesn’t matter.’ … Or we could just settle for another generation of adults with good language and cognitive skills but stunted emotional growth.”
We tracked down the 1998 study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and looked at the Psychiatric Times’ analysis. The study followed a diverse set of children from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds in a diverse range of maternal and non-maternal care situations. The Psychiatric Times repeatedly emphasizes that every statistically significant finding relating to emotional development was minute in real terms.
Fundamentally, the study found that children in lower quality child care situations – where carers were less sensitive to children or had a higher ration of children to staff – suffer slightly compared to their peers.
“Mothers whose children were in higher quality child care, on the other hand, were more involved with their children [than stay-at-home mothers] when they were observed with them at home (vocalizing, responding, voicing positive feelings, hugging, kissing, praising) and more sensitive to them in the videotaped interaction; their children were more engaged and affectionate.”
No differences in the likelihood of secure attachment were observed to be related to child care-whether the child was in child care, how many hours he or she spent there, how many different care arrangements he or she was in, how old the child was when care began, the type of care (father, relative, in-home, child-care home, center), or the quality of care received. However, where children were already “at risk” because their mothers were less involved and sensitive toward them being in child care, particularly when the child care was of low quality, was related to an elevated rate of insecure attachment.”
The closest thing to a correct conclusion Pence drew was that children in non-maternal care are more prepared for school and score better on tests of cognitive development. However, for the most part, he purposefully misinterpreted a study to support a ‘traditional family’ political agenda. Ironically, the “family values” hypocrite Pence even voted against mandating four weeks paid parental leave for government workers, forcing women to choose between baby and income.
Pence’s ‘pro-family’ agenda includes using government funding to dissuade Americans from engaging in homosexual relationships, teaching abstinence-only sex education in Indiana public schools with an emphasis on the immorality of extramarital sex, forcing women to pay for the cremation or burial of their aborted or miscarried fetuses, opposition to gay marriage and even gay civil unions, and closing his state’s borders to families fleeing Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) in the Middle East.
In other words, Mike Pence supports all families that conform to his idea of what a family should be, and share his family’s particular religious and moral values. All other families are either wrong, or in the case of gay families, don’t deserve to be recognized as families at all. Pence needs to mind his own business and respect the right of citizens to make their own decisions within the home and keep his religious extremism out of the governor’s office.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.