The Public Interest

Missing moms kids in crisis

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Spring 2005

MARY EBERSTADT’S pull-no-punches book Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutest is bound to stir memories for those of us who have been on the front lines of the family debates. In my own case, there are certain images and old conversations that really bring the debate home. I recall a little boy, age three, whose mother taught full time at the university where I had been invited to lecture. His father taught at another university over 500 miles away, so he saw his dad only on weekends. As it happened, I was a guest of the family, and witnessed firsthand a sad, but all too widespread, spectacle. The boy was in day care five days a week, ten hours a day, and his mother was perplexed.

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