Should a daycare notify parents about male caregivers?

by Joey Lombardi - babycenter blog

Society is a fluid and changing thing. Caring for a child is also fluid. The way people behaved even a few years ago draws very different reactions today. In this torrent of changing opinions is the perception of men as caregivers.

There are more expectations and opportunities for men to be involved in children's lives. But what happens when a male caretaker is not a father, not a relative, but a daycare worker?

There seems to be a comfort level with a male nanny or daycare worker playing sports, safely rough housing with, or being in charge of boys, but other aspects of care give some parents pause. One comment on the BabyCenter community boards crudely (but directly) nails what I am trying to say:

"I've learned on the BHB that many feel penis=pedophile."

Is society more accepting of men in daycares? Sure there are terms like "mannies" making their way into popular culture, but would you be comfortable with a guy changing your daughter's diaper?

Should a daycare have to send a letter out informing parents that a fully qualified male nanny/teacher would take part in changing diapers? Don't we want our kids to feel comfortable interacting (and learning from) both men and women?

Before my son was in daycare, I really didn't think about anybody changing my kid's diaper. I remember having a chat one day with one of his teachers about a diaper rash and the whole room chimed in with techniques. I remember thinking "wow, there are a alot of people that have seen his rash."

I had to process that situation. Would I be more freaked out if there was a male teacher instead of one of the other women? No. I just had to get my head around the idea that somebody was doing these things for my son… gender is superseded by personality.

Some people say there is a gender bias in education. I don't think this is true. I do think it is problematic that there are not more men in early education. Here is a quote from the DC Urban Mom board:

I toured a preschool that I like but one thing that threw me off was that they have a male teacher. Just one — I hate to assume the worst but why would a man be a preschool teacher? Also, he seemed a bit "off" or weird to me. I really liked the preschool but this one thing is bothering me. Is it common for preschools to have male teachers? He is an activity teacher, so he actually sees ALL the kids everyday from all the classes. Should I go with my intuition? If I look at other schools can I expect to find some male teachers?

When you read quotes like the one above, you can see that there might be more to the story than "guys just don't like to do this type of work." I found several stories of male daycare workers talking about the perceptions they face. It is so sad to see people jump to the worst possible conclusion out of the gate.

As parents, we have to feel comfortable with the professionals that care for our children. Before denouncing a daycare or preschool for hiring a male teacher, at least check the person out. Speak to the director or principle to learn about the guy's qualifications. Maybe your opinions will change, maybe they won't… but don't react without meeting the person first.

August 21, 2016

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Should a daycare notify parents about female care givers?

If a daycare does not notify parents about female caregivers, it should NOT have to notify parents about male caregivers. ABSOLUTELY NOT! By notifying parents of male caregivers, they are only perpetuating the societal myth that somehow male caregivers are different from female caregivers. That there is something defective about a male who takes care of children and this something is to be feared and looked out for. If penis = pedophile, why does vagina not = pedophile, as well. It is time for our society to wake up to the fact that nurturance comes from the heart and not from the genitalia. If male caregivers are just treated in a matter of fact way, as female caregivers are, our society will eventually learn that there is nothing that different about male caregivers and we do not need to fear them. But, by choosing to treat male caregivers differently than female caregivers, we are choosing to perpetuate that a difference exists even when there isn't one and people tend to fear anything different from what they are use to. I have been a member of many churches and they all have different boundaries about who can and cannot be in the nursery and what they are or are not allowed to do. How sad it is, when male caregivers are in the nursery, but they are not allowed to change diapers. What message is that sending to our children but that somehow men are defective and will molest any child without a diaper? How sad it is, when male caregivers are not even allowed in the nursery of another church. Women's lib has come a long way baby, but not so for men's lib. If women can be in the boardroom and even the president of the United States, why can't men be in the nursery and in our elementary school class rooms. You have all heard of the glass ceiling that females face, well for us males it has been the diapered door. Our children, our girls as well as our boys, deserve to have both "male & female nurturing role models" in their life. Anything less and we are just short changing our children and our future. How nice it would be if our boys could learn that it is OK for them to be nurturing. How much less aggression and violence do you think our society might have if only our boys could learn just that.

Thomas W. Washburn