Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 29, 2006
Children need nurturing
First 2 years are crucial, says COLF
- Design Pics photo
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) urges a "radical transformation" in Canadian society so children get the care they need in the crucial first two years of life.
In a letter marking the May 15 United Nations' International Day of Families, COLF cited new studies that show the importance of parental bonding in a child's early cognitive development.
The letter repeats the "cry of alarm sounded" in a recent book by Montreal pediatrician Jean-Francois Chicoine and journalist Nathalie Collard, The Baby and the Bathwater: How Daycare Changes the Life of Children.
Look to the future
Chicoine implores society to provide parental protection to children for 18 to 24 months, COLF said.
"This is neither a minimum nor a maximum, it is the goal that any society should be able to attain for itself in order to give the best of the world to younger generations," Chicoine said, in a quote included in the COLF letter.
COLF said this protection would require a "radical transformation of many social and corporate attitudes."
"We believe such a transformation would benefit society in general and individual families in particular." It would require Canadians to recognize the "great personal and social value of the work of a parent who chooses to stay at home and raise children."
"We must also offer women, who most often take on this responsibility, the opportunity to develop professionally without sacrificing their role as mothers," COLF said. "It should be possible for them to continue their career from home or part time, or to return to the workplace without being penalized after raising their children.
Diversity of families
COLF's letter recognized the growing diversity of Canadian families in light of this year's UN family celebration theme: Changing Families: Challenges and Opportunities.
Noting that one in six Canadian children lives in a single-parent household, and many others are being raised by step-parents or common law couples, COLF called attention to children's vulnerability as family structures shift.
"Research continues to show that all forms of family structure are not equally beneficial for child well-being," COLF wrote. "Rather, one type of family consistently outperforms all others; children do best in a family founded on marriage between their own mother and father."
COLF cited statistics showing 50 per cent of cohabiting couples will break up by the time their children are 10 years old, compared to only 14 per cent of married couples.
"Children of married parents generally have fewer problems at school, they are healthier physically and psychologically, and they are less likely to fall victim to child abuse or neglect."
COLF also stressed the importance for children of having a mother and a father, who provide gender-specific role models for their children.
While recognizing the love adoptive parents give children, COLF called for children to have the right to know their biological origins.