Dear friends – I am sharing this information not to shame working mothers or make them feel guilty for working outside the home. I am sharing this to point out that our society is set up in a way that is damaging children. We are on the wrong path. We need to shift direction.
Psychotherapist warns that working mothers are producing mentally ill children – and claims the problem is at an ‘epidemic level’
– Erica Komisar from New York has seen an ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders in clinic
– Said young children’s stress levels only reduce when their mothers return
– Advised working mothers to keep children up late to spend more time together
– Said daycare is a stressful environment full of stimulus that’s not good for kids
A leading psychotherapist has warned that mothers who return to work too soon after having babies are damaging their children’s mental health.
In a video for the New York Post, Erica Komisar revealed how she’s seen an ‘epidemic level of mental disorders in very young children’, which she puts down to the ‘devaluing of mothering in society’.
The author of Being There, Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters explained that babies experience a rush of cortisol and a great deal of stress when they’re away from their mothers.
She argued that when working women return from work in the evenings they spend as little as 90 minutes with their babies before they put them to bed – and then find that they don’t sleep through the night as they’re craving attention.
‘Our society tells women go back to work, do what you want, they’ll be ok,’ she explained. ‘But they’re not OK.
‘I was seeing it in my parent guidance practice. I was actually seeing an epidemic level of mental disorders in very young children who were being diagnosed and medicated at an earlier and earlier age.
‘I started looking at the research which backed up what I was seeing in my practice, which is that the absence of mothers on a daily basis in children’s lives was impacting their mental health.
Referencing research on attachment that’s been done since the ’60s, she said the only thing that reduces stress for babies is when their mothers return.
‘I still say daycare is my least favourite option,’ she said. ‘You’re taking a very young baby and exposing them to a great deal of stimulation and a great deal of fear.
‘When you take them out of their immediate environment and put them in a group with a lot of stimulation and a lot of people that’s not the natural environment for babies.’
If you are away from your child during the day, Erica suggested two key strategies in the evening to try and offset some of the damage.
She said that all distractions should be ‘put in a basket’, so that you don’t look at phones, tablets or other gadgets while spending time with your child.
The psychotherapist said that motherhood must become more valued by society
And she said that mothers should keep their babies up later in the evenings instead of coming home at 6pm and putting them to bed at 7.30.
‘Let them stay up much later,’ she advised. ’90 minutes a day is not enough to provide children with emotional security, regulate their emotions and buffer them from stress.’
Erica did not put the blame on women for feeling forced to return to work, arguing that the role of motherhood is not valued by society.
‘The ideal maternity leave would be one year of fully paid leave for all women of all backgrounds,’ she said.
‘When we give mothers the option of being home in the first three years we increase the emotional security and reduce mental disorders.
‘On a societal level we need to recognise mothers work is valuable work. We emphasise material success and professional achievement, but there is no more valuable or more important work.’