Why Mothers Should Stay Home
American Children are doing badly. From drug use to suicide rates, from academic performance to the perpetration of violence, the numbers tell us that they are failing. “Practically all the indicators of youth health and behavior,” notes the education expert William Damon in his recent book, Greater Expectations1 “have declined year by year for well over a generation. None has improved.”
There is little disagreement about one major cause of this general failure. “American parents,” writes Elizabeth Fox-Genovese in her judicious and thoughtful Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life,2 “spend 40-percent less time with their children than they did only a few decades ago—down from 30 hours a week to seventeen.” And Karl Zinsmeister, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, elaborates:
We have kicked out a lot of the social supports that used to undergird child-raising in this country: decent public schools in the cities, strong “backdoor” networks among parents, extended families and relatives nearby to help out, a safe public environment that allowed children to play outdoors without supervision.
About the Author
David Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale.