Friday, April 20, 2001

Children and Time Away from Their Parents

In a recent NHK satellite broadcast of an edition of ABC news, it was reported that a 10-year, 10-city federal study, found that children who spent the most time in day care away from their parents were more likely to be aggressive and exhibit behavioral problems when they got to kindergarten. This same report was taken up in the International Herald Tribune-Asahi Shimbun where I read about it in more detail.

In this study, billed as the largest long-term study of child care ever conducted, over 1300 children in a variety of settings were followed, not only in day care situations, but with baby-sitters and with other care-giving relatives as well. It was found that children in day care scored higher in terms of aggression. The study found the findings held up regardless of family background, i.e. male or female, parents' annual income, etc. The article cautioned, however, that the results of this study do not in any way mean that "education by anyone other than the parent breeds aggression." The children in the study (age 3 months to 4 year olds) spent an average of 26 hours a week away from their parents.

According to this study, children who spend more than 30 hours per week in an environment away from their parents "scored higher on items like 'gets in lots of fights, 'cruelty,' 'explosive behavior,' as well as 'talking too much,' 'argues a lot,' and 'demands a lot of attention.'" So, Dr. Jay Belsky, a principal researcher on the study, commented that, "If it follows that the more time the child spends away from the parent, in various child-rearing settings, the more disorderly he/she becomes, to avoid these possibilities, less time should be spent with non-parental care-givers. Parents should spend more time caring for their children and work part-time."

Problems arise when small children spend significant time away from their parents. I wonder, then, how those in the United States, where there are a countless number of single parent families and families where both parents are working, will deal with this dilemma?

- MT

Friday, April 13, 2001

My Wife's First Publication

My wife's first book, entitled Essays on Each Season*, was recently published by Nihon Kyobunsha. It is a collection of the essays she wrote for the Japanese White Dove magazine over a six-year period. Each essay was about five pages long, which is relatively short, but, with all 42 combined, it makes for quite a bit of reading. I, too, had my first book published some four years ago, and I can tell you from experience that writing a book and publishing it for the general public, requires a certain amount of courage and is even a little embarrassing. I would, therefore, like to ask for your warm support and encouragement on this, my wife's first venture.

I personally have had the opportunity to publish three books thus far, and, in each case, I reached the deadline date, still not satisfied with the end product and reluctantly had to approve the final copy with corrections. Thinking about it, though, there probably isn't a writer who exists that is truly satisfied with his or her final manuscript. It seems that there's been a recent increase in people writing their "memoirs", and I think that, in some ways, my three books have all been just my "memoirs." In other words, they were accountings of my inner thoughts at the time. Since we are all never the same for any prolonged period of time, conquering one book and going on to the next is good. And, "the next book" leads to the next book and the next. In this way, if the author matures and develops with each new publication, the readers will excuse the small mistakes. A problem arises, though, when the book that follows isn't quite as good as the one preceding it. We'd like to try our best, though, to "avoid" that problem.

Included in my wife's book, there are five sketches of mine as well as five photos that I took. Four of those sketches are posted on this website, under the "On Drawing" link. They, however, pale in comparison to the magnificent drawing on the front cover of cherry blossoms in full bloom, done by master artist, Tadashi Asoma. Although mine are all embarrassingly poor, I trust that you will understand that it all comes from a loving husband trying to support and encourage his wife.

(*Not yet available in English)

- MT