Medium published my new article “When We Leave Our Kids with Someone Else”
For several weeks now, police in the Israeli town of Qiryat Shemona have been investigating a case of child abuse, when five kindergarten teachers abused thirteen children in their care. The events, which were documented on webcams, consisted of physical and emotional abuse, where teachers grabbed one hand of the children and hoisted them into the air, threw them on beds, covered their heads with blankets, leaned on them, and prevented them from removing the cover from over their heads. The cameras were installed in the kindergarten after the government made it a law several years ago to document everything that happens in kindergartens, following another case of child abuse.
For their part, the horrified parents, who had to watch the recorded videos in order to confirm the identity of the children, do not understand how women, who are all trained and certified teachers, became such monsters toward their children. Where was their motherly instinct?
There are two things we should note here: 1. I have said before and I will reiterate here that no matter how many cameras we install in a kindergarten or a school, it will not prevent abuse. When I first said it several years ago, people did not believe me; the idea of placing cameras in every kindergarten sounded great to them. They thought the cameras would restrain abusive teachers. Even then, I knew it would not, since human nature is stronger than any admonition, and the presence of cameras will not deter abusive teachers.
2. In no culture and in no indigenous people is it acceptable to leave babies in the hands of caretakers while the mother goes away for hours on end on a daily basis. Infants are always to be kept at home, next to their mother, at least until they are two years old. This is the indigenous way, and the fact that we have abandoned it does not mean that we are more progressed, but that we are out of touch with nature. The first motherly instinct that is trounced is not that of the teachers, but that of the mothers who put their children in their care.
The idea that a mother should return to work a few weeks or a few months after she has a baby is fundamentally flawed. We are putting career and affluence in higher priority than children, so we should not be surprised that our children get hurt. Since the dawn of humanity, and in all of nature, mothers would not dream of handing their children over to someone else’s care. Only we, thanks to progress, have begun to think that we are smarter than nature. Now we are paying the price for our folly.
Moreover, since people are becoming increasingly narcissistic, experiencing what multiple sociologists have dubbed a “narcissism epidemic,” the risk of our children being abused is even greater now than before, and will keep growing over time. Nothing can stop the growing ego. Therefore, nothing will stop teachers from abusing defenseless children.
I have nothing against women working, but I think they should do it from home, at least during the first couple of years of every child’s life. Women need to be there for their children, and no surrogate, however professional and caring, can replace them. Readers might deride my views as backward or outdated; I prefer to call them what they are: natural.
We need to rethink the whole concept of family, parenthood, children, and child-rearing. We need to see how we can rearrange our lives so that we needn’t be in constant pursuit of career jobs and long hours.
I thought that by now, we would be accustomed to working from home, but I see that many people are returning to their offices. I cannot understand why. Who gains from it?
I think women need to do what they love to do; they need to work because they love their work, and not because their livelihood depends on it. Their work should give them satisfaction and fulfillment, and make them happier, not more stressed and anxious about their children.
Granted, there are mothers, and fathers, who abuse their children, too. This is part of the educational process that we all need to undergo. As a whole, however, the only way to prevent child abuse is by leaving children under their mothers’ care. We may have to readjust our thinking, but it will make everyone happier, including the mothers, and to me, this is all that matters.