I know I have been away from this blog for a while and I had every intention of coming back and so here I am. I have sort of a backlog of ideas in my head of things to blog about and yet, when i see an article in which Chuck Norris expresses his "thoughts" on the Obama Healthcare plan and on child development, well... ya knew I had to comment on it. I originally found the article in an online post from the Chicago Tribune and then went to the original post by Chuckie, welcome to wingnuttia. Not only does he talk about things that have nothing to do with healthcare, but he is an uninformed, ignorant rambling idiot. I know this is no surprise and it is what I expected to find when I looked at the article, but really... Apparently, there is a provision in the new healthcare plan that gives monies to states to allow for "home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children."According tot he bill this would be accomplished by "well-trained and competent staff," who would "provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains ... modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices," and "skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development." Norris's response is your basic wingnut response about how dare the government interfere in me raising my child. Whose idea of child raising would be used, "would they teach some secular-progressive and religiously neutered version of parental values and wisdom?" He also wants to know what field and theory of childhood development would be used by these government agents? Now this may be a valid question if you knew what you were talking about, but Chuck doesn't know what he is talking about. He is saying that there is either no child development field or it is just government telling us how to raise our children. I hate to tell him but there is a large and expansive child development field with many opinions about raising children. Many of which are, yes, non-religious so that those with and without religion can still use the same theories and philosophies. The field of child development is not focused on how to raise your child, but on how children tend to develop with the understanding that every child and family is different and each child will develop differently. I also hate to inform Chuck and his ilk, but programs like these exist everywhere and are used with a lot of success. These programs allow for an expert or an outside individual to come into a home and help the parents to learn how to best work with their child. These experts would say things like, children need to be read to and need books in the house, they need to not watch TV 24-7, they need to be fed regularly and bathed. I can guess they would help parents to not beat their children and learn other methods of discipline other than physical violence. I know these are radical ideas, but you may notice that none of them would contradict any religion. If the only book you wish to read to your child is the bible, than go for it. You are still reading to your child and they still see the value of reading and books. If you want to have your child home schooled, no child development expert is going to disagree with you as long as you teach them the ABCs, 123s and other basic skills. Ya see, Chuck, child development does not care about how you raise your child as long as you are doing what is in the best interest of the children.
Then he rails how in the bill it says that this assistance will be targeted toward lower income families. He makes a comment how that then means lower income families must not make good parents like middle and upper class families according to the government. Well, again that is bullshit, there is research that shows that lower income families do not always have the resources or expertise that is helpful in raising a child. Middle and upper class families tend to have the money to send their children to good schools and good childcare centers, this is not usually the case with lower income families. They are struggling just to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, they do not always know if their child is developing typically or not. I have worked in schools for low income families for three of my four years in early childhood education and I have seen first hand these parents struggling and many of them are glad when someone, a teacher, suggests other ways of doing things or gives them help in how to work with their children. So no, lower income parents are not bad parents, sometimes they just need help. Plus these programs are voluntary, as Chuck notes. He does not believe this though, he thinks that there will be jackbooted government officials breaking into houses and telling parents what to do with their children. In reality, there are already similar programs where at the hospital, parents are offered assistance if they want it and if they refuse, than they are left alone.
Yet again, the right wing nuts are trying to scare people and spreading lies and half truths. I wish, though, on this topic maybe someone would have done some research and realize that this is not a scary idea and that it in no way infringes on their own beliefs and decisions about how to raise their children.
UPDATE: I forgot to write some names that are influential in child development just in case someone does not actually think that there is such a field, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Urie Bronfenbrenner, who happens to also be the founder of Head Start here in the US.