BY Rosemary Black DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER NY
Could your baby boy turn into a serial womanizer if you hire a nanny? That’s the claim of psychiatrist Dennis Friedman, who says handing off child-rearing prematurely could give your son double standards where women are concerned later in life, according to an article in the Daily Telegraph.
According to the 85-year-old Friedman, the author of “An Unsolicited Gift: Why We Do What We Do,” introducing a baby boy to a nanny introduces him to the notion of The Other Woman.
“It creates a division in his mind between the woman he knows to be his natural mother and the woman with whom he has real hands-on relationship: the woman who bathes him and takes him to the park and with whom he feels completely at one,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
And baby girls also suffer, Friedman claims. Being cared for by a nanny or au pair means that later on, they’ll turn to drugs, alcohol, money or sex later on to fill the “vacuum of need” within them. Friedman thinks a baby should not have an au pair or nanny for the first year of life.
But working moms should take his advice with a large grain of salt, says Peter Kanaris, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association. “It’s kind of an old fashioned way of thinking,” he says. “I know of no data to support that idea.”
In order for a child to grow up with healthy social relationships, Kanaris says, he should form loving attachments with either one or multiple caregivers.
“Loving, consistent support is what is important,” Kanaris says. “And it doesn’t matter whether it is done by one person or more than one person, as long as it is consistent. The focus should be on providing for the child’s needs in a loving environment. There are many diverse possibilities for child rearing.”
And just what are the risk factors that could cause a little boy to morph into a serial womanizer?
“The plain truth of the matter is that we don’t know,” Kanaris says. “There is absolutely no scientific data out there on that. But even though we don’t know, that doesn’t mean that we can’t treat the condition.”
Nannies and au pairs, what do you think of this opinion? Do children suffer at the care of a nanny or au pair?