Would you leave your child with a male caregiver?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  June 8, 2009 10:12 AM

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There's an interesting discussion going on at Parenting.com, in which the parent of a preschooler wonders about a new male teacher in the toddler "potty trainer" room. The school hired a male teacher for the 4- and 5-year-old classroom, which raised a few eyebrows, but this parent is particularly nervous about having a young man help her 2-year-old daughter in the bathroom. "I just don't understand why a young man would want to be a daycare teacher," the parent writes. "It makes me think they have an ulterior motive or something."

I don’t understand this. How can we expect our husbands to be hands-on parents if we don’t trust professional, trained caregivers just because they happen to be male?

My now 4-1/2-year-old daughter had a male preschool teacher for a while when she was about 3, and I'll admit that, upon meeting him for the first time, I wondered why he was there. Would he be working directly with the kids, or in the background? Was he studying early childhood education? Were his certifications up to date? Did he just really like working with kids?

The answers were easy enough to get via a quick chat with the preschool director, and any trepidation I felt about him vanished when I saw the way the kids -- especially the little boys in the class -- related to and listened to him. He helped out in the toddler room as well, and the 1- and 2-year-olds followed him around like a flock of happy baby ducks. My kids adored him, and I was as upset as they were when he left the school the following year.

"I know i may exaggerate but i don't even trust my husband giving my daughter a bath! I know i may be wrong on not trusting him but thats the way i think!" one parent commented in the Parenting.com discussion, leading me to wonder if perhaps the issue is rooted in the parent and not the childcare provider. Others posted that they’d feel comfortable with a man providing certain aspects of care, but not others. "If a male teacher were employed in the next room, 4-5's, I think I would be okay with that. It's the whole potty training area I wouldn't be comfortable with. And the fact that my little toddler wouldn't be able to communicate she was touched improperly..." another parent added.

When it comes to hiring a caregiver for a daycare center, “gender shouldn’t be the consideration; overall qualifications are the key criteria that should be judged,” writes Robin McClure at About.com. And there are other issues to consider as well; Dr. Janet Rose Wojtalik, author of The 7 Secrets of Parenting Girls, points out that it can actually be a very positive thing for children, especially girls, to have a male caregiver. "The media and society place so much pressure on girls to conform to typical 'gender roles,' that being exposed at an early age to both men and women who challenge the typical stereotypes is a good thing," she writes.

Would you be comfortable with a male caregiver in your child's preschool? Why or why not?

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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74 comments so far...
  1. Honestly, right now, I have to say no. My children attend the Melrose Y afterschool program, and when I met Jim Conner, I put my trepidation aside, thinking I was just railing against his gender. Well, it turns out that I should have trusted my "spidey-sense". I'm extremely fortunate that my children were not directly affected by him, but they both are still suffering from the aftermath. If I still had a preschooler, right now I would be very nervous if there were a male teacher in the classroom. I'm sure that's unfair to some wonderful, caring men, but that one bad apple has made me extremely wary of men who I do not know extremely well serving as caregivers.

    Posted by anonymous today June 8, 09 12:40 PM
  1. Yes I am fine with male caregivers and as the mother of three boys, welcome them. My younger kids go to daycare twice a week and the setting is all female, then they will go to an elementary school system where there are no males (teachers or administrators) until third grade. The little bit of balance comes from the extended kindergarten and after school program that they go to, which is run by a man and has many male teachers. Even there, though, the sense is that women do the "serious" schooling (pre school and XK) and men do "fun stuff" (after school sports and rec.). It's too bad that more men don't go into early childhood or elementary education - I think that both boys and girls would benefit from having a mix of teachers, and boys are sorely in need of more male teachers so that they get the message, from the earliest age, that school isn't just something for girls.

    FWIW when I was in school the only male teacher in elementary school was for phys ed and in high school we had a male music teacher. My sisters and I all succeeded academically, my brothers did poorly. I wonder if the lack of male role models in school influenced their education?

    Posted by Jen June 8, 09 01:17 PM
  1. I'm probably more open minded because my father was a teacher. My kids went to daycare and had a few male teachers and they were always fabulous. They had such a high energy level and the kids adored them. I'm probably generalizing but I often think males can be better teachers because they must really be called to it. Some, definately not all, women find it as an easy fallback but to be a male studying early childhood education (an unlikely choice) you must really want it.

    I'm shocked by the quote that a person wouldn't want their husband doing bath time. Are we really that afraid of men these days? I feel for my son if that is true.

    Posted by Nancy June 8, 09 02:22 PM
  1. If I felt this way, my daughter wouldn't be in the hands of her father. This is just beyond the pale and it reinforces my husband's stories of the dirty looks he gets from other moms and female nannies on the playgrounds. So, should her uncles, her father, her grandfather or any one of our close male friends who we trust with her alone be barred from changing her diaper because she can't communicate effectively at this stage and couldn't tell me that she's being harmed in some fashion?

    Women kill me. We have been raised to rail against gender stereotypes and break the mold of domesticity and child rearing, but when it comes to it, when someone finally does break out of that mold and hand the reins over to a male counterpart, he is immediately suspect and guilty because HE is not a SHE.

    To anonymous today, what happened in your instance is a tragedy, but there are more and more documented cases of caregivers of the female persuasion sanctioning and assisting or participating in this pattern of abusive behavior. Would you then not trust any female care giver if the gender was different? If I were in your position, I would not trust any outside caregiver, period. Male or female.

    Until men are given equal consideration as the wonderful caregivers they are and can be, my husband knows that he'll just have to suck up the cold shoulder and nasty looks on the playground.

    And since when are women blameless in patterns of abuse? We are just as capable of that evil and it's documented, thoroughly. The very notion that we are the only ones who should be giving care and education to our young raises my ire to dangerous (for my BP) levels because it's indicative of a greater ill that still seeks to bar us from many professions, even in this day and age.

    Sod that for a lark. Give me my husband - that "evil male caregiver" - over anyone I don't know, of any gender, any day of the week. Give me my numerous male friends, her myraid of uncles, over any snotty female who thinks that she has the onus on caregiving capabilities. The positive roles they play in her life have already made her a wonderful, tough, independent and fearless child.


    Posted by phe June 8, 09 03:06 PM
  1. I leave my two sons with a male caregiver every day. Their father! He can confirm the dirty looks that phe comments about above. Before my husband became a stay at home dad after the birth of our second son, my first son was usually taken care of by his uncle who is a stay at home father of two girls. My husband's other brother is also a stay at home father. I don't understand the double standard either. Some of the blurbs taken from the parenting website in the original post are VERY disturbing. You can't trust your own husband to give your child a bath?! You wouldn't want a male potty training your child because the child can't verbalize? Does that mean a woman wouldn't do the same to a child who can't verbalize?! I would never put a child who can't verbalize into a daycare. As mentioned above women are well documented attackers to and it doesn't just have to be sexual abuse that you're child can't verbalize. That doesn't mean I look down on those who do put a non verbal child in daycare or am naive enough to think that a family member could do no harm to a child. However, I feel much more comfortable leaving my child with a family member that my husband and I love and trust. Or in my case now the most important male role model in my children's lives. Regardless if they are male or female, there should be no double standard as both genders can be offenders.

    Posted by workingmom June 8, 09 03:56 PM
  1. No, I wouldn't have a male be the sole caregiver for my kids, unless it was their father or an uncle. My older son was sexually abused by the 13 year old son of a daycare provider in family daycare. Don't avoid all male caregivers, but listen to your intuition!

    Posted by Name Withheld June 8, 09 04:46 PM
  1. Notice, in all the histrionics about potty-training classes, not a word about little boys having their penises exposed to the unsupervised prodding of women strangers. Of course, not; we don't want to dwell on the unfortunate fact that little boys have such things at all. They should be girls, as all good children are. At least, such is the opinion of the harems of harpies who too often rule early childhood care.

    Posted by Glad I'm not a little boy in the system now June 8, 09 08:05 PM
  1. To #6...I'm sorry about what your son went through, but an unsupervised 13 year old doesn't = all adult males....

    I agree, intuition should be heard, but don't paint all men with the same brush....sometimes I think men get a bad rap because they deal with kids differently than women.

    Posted by SettleDown June 8, 09 10:50 PM
  1. I heard a person on NPR state that the number one way to prevent your child from being sexually abused is to keep them away from male caregivers.

    Posted by lilac22421 June 9, 09 09:01 AM
  1. Men are born guilty of what some might call "precrimes", which is the penalty they owe society for the males that have committed crimes before them. The vast majority of sex offenders are male. Is it reasonable for people to use gender or other risk factors in determining who cares for their child? Of course.

    While there is much trepidation about whether or not it is fair to single out men for special scrutiny, I would remind everyone of the history of clergy abuse in Boston and across the globe. Despite this clear history, many strongly desire to send their children to Catholic schools or to Sunday school Are these less serious risks than having a male babysitter? For many thousands it was not.

    For that matter, how do parents rationalize the risk of sending their young boys camping with the Boy Scouts, far away from any child's ability to seek help?

    Women are quite capable of abuse too, and probably more capable of the worst forms of emotional abuse of children and teenagers, particularly girls. A broad case that has only received modest attention here were the Magdelene Laundries in Ireland run by nuns for decades. Their mistreatment of girls went beyond basic beatings to humiliation by forcing girls to appear naked before groups and suffer verbal insults, forced hair cutting, wearing crushing clothing and other tactics that were designed to destroy a girls sense of self-worth. In later years, some of the teens who became pregnant (often by priests) had their infants taken from them after two weeks of breastfeeding, never to be seen again. Some of those children in turn wound up in similar institutions, and were abused themselves. Google "Sex in a Cold Climate" or "Magdelene Laundries" to hear the women describe the impact on their lives.

    Posted by question June 9, 09 09:43 AM
  1. One bad apple? No, it's not one bad apple that gave us these feelings. It's an orchard of bad apples throughout the even just the past five years that give us our "gut feeling" that men should not be caregivers to children. Fathers yes, at home, not in a daycare. I would pull my kids in a heartbeat

    Posted by Orchard of Bad Apples June 9, 09 09:45 AM
  1. I would absolutely trust my children to a male caregiver in a daycare center. My boys have never had one in their daycare, but in watching them interact with their swim teacher and other coaches, I can see that there really is a connection, something that they get out of those relationships. Personally, I am not comfortable leaving my children in the hands of a single (home) care provider, male or female - but we have had an amazing experience with a daycare center. I love knowing that they have a group of teachers watching out for them. But I would definitely love if they hired a male!

    Posted by Momof2boys June 9, 09 09:57 AM
  1. I find it interesting that women caregivers get a total pass in the child molestation department, even though women DO molest young children.

    Basically, I think it's important to trust your intuition about ANY caregiver and to teach your kid as early as possible about what's private and what's appropriate touching and what to do if inappropriately touched. ANYONE can molest your kid: a caregiver, a family member, a neighbor, another kid, ANYONE.

    Finally, I'm sorry for the mom who doesn't trust her husband to bathe their daughter -- that person has issues.

    Posted by suz June 9, 09 09:57 AM
  1. I would like to take the comment that Phe made and repost it all over the place. I am thoroughly disgusted by the implication that man are the only ones - or even the more likely ones - to commit some kind of abuse. When did we all become such hypocrites? Why is it okay to say, "I wouldn't trust a man with my child..." Can you imagine the uproar if you replace the word "man" with "black" or "woman"? It's a horrendous double-standard that is being employed here.

    Bottom line - trust your gut. Don't base it on gender or color or the ridiculous histrionics of overly worried women demonizing the male gender.

    Posted by Kate June 9, 09 10:26 AM
  1. I am not sure I have seen anything so blatantly sexist here on boston.com. If the reverse were written NOW would be organizing a picket line by now. Sexism is sexism. I doubt that boston.com would have a high profile article discussing the ability of women to rescue people as firefighters?

    Posted by pj1 June 9, 09 10:33 AM
  1. All kids need role models of both genders. And having only family care for a child is often unrealistic in our society. As an only child with an only child as a partner, I know it's not feasible for us.
    I'd much rather have somebody trained in early childhood care for my child than I would have someone be trusted just because they happen to be a woman. Having a male preschool teacher would be a great thing for little boys. And as far as little girls being cared for by a male, if he's honest and compassionate who cares.

    Posted by Sensible Woman June 9, 09 10:33 AM
  1. Yes, I would be comfortable overall.

    My kids both went to day care centers, which provided a lot of supervision of staff, and there was always more than one teacher in the classrooms (thus giving an additional layer of protection against any kind of abuse.) All bathrooms had half-doors, so that adults could see into the bathroom... so kids were always supervised and there was no opportunity for inappropriate touching.

    Posted by HollyP June 9, 09 10:33 AM
  1. The sissification of America needs to end. If you can't trust your husband alone with your child *for no good reason other than your unsubstantiated feelings* ..YOU are the one with issues. You probably shouldn't have had kids, or even be married.

    All of this can easily be solved by just checking the sex offender registry to make sure that child care men AND women are not on there. That will keep your kids safe, because 90% of sex offenses are committed by people who are not on those lists, and less than 5% of the people on those lists ever commit anouther sex offense - this is from the federal government study recently completed.

    Posted by WakeUpAmerica June 9, 09 10:35 AM
  1. The sissification of America needs to end. If you can't trust your husband alone with your child *for no good reason other than your unsubstantiated feelings* ..YOU are the one with issues. You probably shouldn't have had kids, or even be married.

    All of this can easily be solved by just checking the sex offender registry to make sure that child care men AND women are not on there. That will keep your kids safe, because 90% of sex offenses are committed by people who are not on those lists, and less than 5% of the people on those lists ever commit anouther sex offense - this is from the federal government study recently completed.

    Posted by WakeUpAmerica June 9, 09 10:42 AM
  1. Absolutely! Both of my girls went to a family day care run by a wonderful man. When people say "why would a man want to take care of children?" they are exposing their gender bias on many levels. Not only that men don't have the skill to care for children and can't really be trusted, but that child care is unpleasant women's work and beneath the interest of a male. Women have internalized this and society reinforces it. If more men went into child care/early ed, I bet the pay scale would go up!

    Posted by Mary Gaughan June 9, 09 10:51 AM
  1. Best babysitter my boys ever had was a kid (male) that lived two houses away. My three boys loved him and he did take really good care of them. They were totally comfortable with him and he played with them more than the girl sitters we'd had.

    Posted by dragonlady June 9, 09 10:58 AM
  1. I am also a stay at home dad of 2 girls, a 2 yo and a 1 yo. I would never let a male care for either of my daughters, be it a daycare teacher, a neighbor, or even a relative. Nor would I care for someone else's child, not that i couldn't be trusted, but simply because of the stigma. Though both men and women abuse children, the percentages of male to female abusers is staggering. I will take a female caregiver every time and so should you.

    Posted by Dante's Inferno June 9, 09 10:59 AM
  1. The answer is men are just as good care givers as women and I would trust my kids with a male caregiver and I do have girls.

    Women can do just as bad things to kids as men can and often do.

    Hopefully caregivers are checked out and so are their references.

    We have male gynecologists, male internists, male nurses and they take just as good care of women as they do men.

    Men can be caregivers and this anti male attitude is out of control

    Posted by Peter G. Hill June 9, 09 11:24 AM
  1. Sadly, I don't think this concern is "histrionics," given girls' and women's nearly universal experience of unwanted sexual attention and inappropriate touching and harassment from boys and men, most of whom are not strangers but the boy next door or a family member or family friend.

    Given that fact, I do think we need to be vigilent but also try to given our sons and daughters positive experiences with male caregivers. To the dads out there who get those dirty looks: please understand, your gender has a lot to answer for! So hang in there and prove that you can be trusted -- which means acknowledging the reality of girls' and women's experiences and helping put an end this culture that sexualizes children.

    Posted by JP Gal June 9, 09 11:26 AM
  1. My son had an awesome male preschool teacher. His style was different from the other teachers, less about discipline and structure, all about play and encouraging the kids' creativity & social skills. Why be a teacher? Because after studying other things, he just enjoy being in an office, and knew he was good with kids. He spends a lot of time creating games and clever ways to teach his kids how to share, play nice and learn their numbers & letters. What else could you want in a preschool teacher?

    WELL, superior knowledge of super heroes, racing/crashing cars & trucks and the importance of daily ACTIVE play are just a few of the things he brings to the group of excellent teachers at this center. He now babysits for us on a regular basis, and I trust him completely. I won't doubt the stats of physical abuse by female caregivers alluded to above, but female caregivers who emotionally abuse kids (by ignoring them, misunderstanding them, or who would just rather be on the phone) are not uncommon, and also a serious concern.

    Posted by PK June 9, 09 11:37 AM
  1. To #1... What was the race of the individual? If he was White, will you no longer leave your children in the care of White people? Was he Catholic? Was he Irish? After the latest report from Ireland (2600 pages long), boys and girls were routinely sexually, physically, and psychologically abused in Catholic-run schools in Ireland up through the mid-1990's. Thus, you shouldn't leave children with Whites or Irish or Catholics, or men. What was his sign? There are many facets to a person, many reasons and influences that cause people to treat others nicely and with respect, or to abuse them. Why are you so sure that his sex was ther determinative factor? Was he American? Perhaps we can't trust Americans either.

    Posted by MakeLoveNotWar June 9, 09 11:50 AM
  1. I am a male who who works with special education students (both male and female). I work with students in all aspects of life, including showering, bathroom training, etc. When i tell people tha I work on showering/toileting, etc with students, the first question they always ask, with lots of skepticism and uneasy looks is whether I work with females on these issues. My answer is yes, I do. My first question back to them is "why does that bother you?" Most people can't give a straight answer. They just stammer and look embarassed that someone called them out on this subject. I ask them econdly, why is it such a big deal for men to work with females, while females working with male students, most people don't even bat an eyelash? I totally agree with Phe in that when the sterotypical bounds are broken by women, thats fantastic, the best thing that could ever happen. But when Men break those gender norms, men become elementary teachers, special ed teachers, etc, they get looked upon as weird, that they are going to take advantage of the yong children, whether they be male or female. That is sexist and uncalled for. My best elementary school teacher was male, I work with some of the best male special ed teachers in the world and the only reason that any of them have ever gotten into the field is because they love working with kids.

    People need to stop looking at the atrocities that have been committed by one small portion of gender and look at each person as an individual. I don't look at all women and think they'll be great mothers. In fact I know a lot of women I wouldn't trust to take care of a cat (self sufficient animal #1) let alone a child. But I dont view all women in that light. People need to stop and think, would you want your husband looked upon in that light? You know that they are a great father, so do you want other women to think that the only reason they watch their neices and nephews is to get in their pants? The U.S is supposed to be this grea melting pot of people and ideas and beliefs, lets start having our own, not falling back into the sterotypes of old.


    Posted by MALE special education teacher June 9, 09 11:57 AM
  1. The hysteria presented by some women is unfortunate and hypocritical. My brothers and I had a male babysitter on occasion, the teen son of friends of the family. His sister also babysat for us. If anything, she was less patient and respectful of us. My brother babysat for a neighbor's son. A very good friend, former neighbor, babysay for us with our daughter, from infancy to age 3. It so happens he is gay, so put that into the equation and the bias. He was wonderful with her, language development, social skills, counting, etc. She loves him. I often babysit for my daughter. I give her baths on occasion, help her go potty, help her get dressed. The only perversions are in your minds. How sad some of you are.

    Posted by Bob Lincoln June 9, 09 12:33 PM
  1. The fact is that women are about 5 times more likely to abuse children (government statistics) as men. They are even about 6 times more likely to kill their own children. These stories are getting out now when before they did not. Even when correcting for the larger number of women caring for children you end up with a much high risk from a female than a male. Society and media has focused for decades on the demonizing of men - the last group of people it is okay to be prejudiced against. In fact commercials are often run where if the roles were reversed people would be totally outraged. A recent grocery store commercial showed a woman tackling and beating a man to get something he took from the refrigerator. Imaging these roles reversed with the man tackling the woman! Then you begin to see how deep sexual stereotype run. In fact a man getting kicked in the private parts is "funny" - imagine that role reversal in a movie or sitcom where the woman gets kicked in the crouch by a man! The outrage would make national news.
    Society needs to accept that man can be caregivers just as well as women (minus the mammary glands) as well as they have already accepted women can perform equally in the workforce.
    Society needs to accept that man can be caregivers just as well as women (minus the mammary glands) as well as they have already accepted women can perform equally in the workforce. See: www.FathersUnite.org for more information on how these stereotypes are literally destroying America by destroying it children through the incompetence of our family court system still ordering 85% sole custody to mothers. We have known for over 15 years that sole custody is simply a form of child abuse and damages children for life, yet the band plays on to generate legal fees and federal kickbacks for child "support". (see www.BestInterestOfChildren.org).

    Don’t believe me: lots of independent research at the CDC web site and at: http://www.mediaradar.org/research.php
    Over 100 articles on this at: http://www.mediaradar.org/prior_headlines.php

    The facts actually indicate that women are the more violent and abusive sex but we are deluged with propaganda from women’s groups who do not represent most women and no equivalent organization supporting men.

    In fact http://www.lectlaw.com/files/fam27.htm shows that:
    * Eighty two percent of the general population had their first
    experience of violence at the hands of women, usually their mother

    What the media has told us is a small part of the story.

    Posted by Bob Norton June 9, 09 12:55 PM
  1. Good grief. Our preschool had a male teacher. He was awesome. A couple of the kids had no fathers in the house, and the moms were so grateful that they could have a positive male role model around. He changed diapers, sang songs, played games, and didn't have to leave half way through the year on maternity leave like at least 4 of the female teachers did. My kids were much more effected by having their teachers disappear mid year than they were by having a (gasp) male teacher.

    There is something positively pathological about treating every male in the world, even your own husband, as a child molester. What do you do if you have sons? Do you raise them to believe they are inherently evil, destined for sexual misconduct? Are all females perfect? Do females never abuse or molest children? If you are that paranoid, then please stay at home with your kids, and spare the rest of us.

    Posted by BMS June 9, 09 01:00 PM
  1. Heck yes i would! I really don't understand why a man is any different from a woman in a daycare/school setting. My daughter goes to a back up daycare where i work and there are wonderful teachers there, male and female and they are all equally awesome.

    Posted by jenne June 9, 09 01:28 PM
  1. As a male preschool teacher who taught preschool children for 8 years, it is disheartening that the only time you hear about males teachers is when this is the topic. It wasn't bad enought that for 8 years I had to work a part time job just to stay afloat because daycare providers don't get paid enough. To be disrespected by parents that are too narrow minded to accept something a bit different is a real slap in the face. As a white male in America there isn't much I have to complain about but considering the amount of inequality women have put up with (such as unequal pay), I would expect a little more openmindedness from you.
    I refused to do diapers when I was teaching for fear that a parent such as some of the one's from this blog would be too eager to blame me for something. Some parents even asked that their child not come to our room because we had a male teacher. Fortunately, %99 of the parents and none of my coworkers were this narrow minded but those few incidents of mistrust eventually led me to leave the field altogether.
    Even though thousands of planes take off and land safely each day, we only hear about the ones that crash. The same is true for all of the teachers, women and man alike. It is only the few sick ones who ever get any press. But I don't just blame the media, I blame the people who believe them. I'm just glad that the children I cared for and the women I taught with had love for me, they made it all worth it.

    Posted by Brendan Bonavita, Somerville June 9, 09 01:28 PM
  1. "The 'only' perversions are in your minds"? That's certainly taking it too far. Pedophilia does exist in some men as well as in some women. I've known many great men who work with kids because they think kids are great. To help a child reach his or her potential is rewarding and enjoyable work. Many, many men are far and away better teachers and caregivers than some women. What a shame it would be if these great people were replaced by "just anyone" who happens to be a woman. Perhaps one day we'll all be well-educated enough that parents, like the woman who is afraid to leave her husband alone with her kids, won't live a life of fear and misplaced anxiety.

    Posted by wg67 June 9, 09 01:38 PM
  1. Nope. I pulled my daughter from her day-care when they hired a male preschool teacher while she was potty training. Just wasn't comfortable with it on any level. If you are paying for your child to be cared for-it only matters what you are comfortable with. Bottomline.

    Posted by mcg1125 June 9, 09 02:17 PM
  1. What I find very intriguing is that many of the women on this site will claim themselves to be liberals, but I'm sure are against racial profiling. I wonder if you are the same women who grab tight to your purse when you cross paths with someone of a different race. This backward thinking is why the world is the way that it is now. Instinct and intutition and being an involved parent and citizen are the best methods of prevention.

    Posted by anonymous June 9, 09 02:22 PM
  1. All the canonizing of women as the only perfectly trustworthy childcare providers reminds me of the woman (maybe it was in Marlboro but it slips my mind) who had her home day care closed and faced charges for a number of offenses, including (but not limited to) duct taping a small baby to the wall of her living room.

    Just keep in mind some women know they are automatically trusted, and love to use and abuse that trust...

    Posted by Beth June 9, 09 02:45 PM
  1. Not only would I leave my child with a male caregiver but I find it essential to have a male teacher in the classroom. Children need role models of both sexes. I was a preschool teacher for 5 years and was lucky enough to work with a male teacher for half that time. I must admit I was a little hesitant to understand why a male would want to work with children, but after 5 minutes of meeting him all those thoughts went out the window. He was a very important part of the classroom. Kids looked up to him and followed him around like his was a hero. The parents enjoyed his presence in the classroom also. One mother whose child didn't have a father at home thought it was great for her to have a male role model at school because as much as we like to say males and females aren't different, it is very apparent from the beginning how different we are. And that statement is coming from a feminist. It makes me sick reading these and seeing how many mothers would take their child out of daycare if there was a male teacher. I was lucky enough to work a great male teacher and know there are plenty of more out there. There are creepy women that work in daycare situations too! In my experiences as a preschool teacher I have seen nothing but care and love from overworked/ underpaid individuals who don't need to read from rich/snobby parents who can afford daycare why they wouldn't leave there children there.

    Posted by Molly Higginson June 9, 09 03:09 PM
  1. Most women are inherently racist and sexist. And thanks to the mainstream media, most women think men are lazy, slobbish, stupid buffoons. Women shouldn't even have the right to vote...they "think" with their "feelings," lack any sense of logic and reason, and are more interested in impressing their girlfriends than being good mothers and wives. Remember guys: 50% of marriages don't last, and 70% of all divorces are initiated by the woman. DO NOT GET MARRIED.

    Sounds like you've had a rough time, BountyBusters. Not all women are like that, any more than all men conform to the stereotypes about them. -- LMA

    Posted by BountyBusters June 9, 09 03:18 PM
  1. This is such discrimination, it's not even funny

    Posted by Bostonvlad June 9, 09 03:28 PM
  1. This blog is idiotic. However, the question is even more ridiculous. Men are taking care of their kids more than ever. I have rasied my 2 and 3 year old every single day, changed diapers, up with midnight feeding etc. Have not missed a Pedi appointment, not one day have i been absent. It is time for women to relax about this men stuff. We take care of kids all the time whether you chose to see it or not. The women who run and are on this blog are male haters get past yourselves for one second and you'll see us pushing the stroller, giving up our jobs and taking care of kids and doing an excellent job of it!!

    As for the stupid comment about letting a make nurse give help give birth to the child, I work in an Emergency Department and the male nurses there are the best in the city. ...

    For the rest of us men, and male nurses, we're doing great and unlike the women on this board, our women love us to death and are very lucky to have us. As for you all, make a better choice picking your man next time.

    PS-why the heck doesn't Boston.com have a Dad's blog? we sure could use one. But alas since there are no others available us SAHDs need to put up with this drivel.

    SAHD's unite and don't take this crap lying down!!!

    Note: Chris's comment has been edited to remove the personal insults, but is being published because he does raise some interesting points for discussion. Chris, while I appreciate you took the time to leave your 2 cents, if you think the blog is idiotic, you can save yourself a lot of grief by clicking the little "x" in the corner of the window. -- LMA

    Posted by Chris Shepard June 9, 09 03:30 PM
  1. I agree - caregivers shouldn't be male and firefighters & police officers shouldn't be female. It is a fact that females are not as strong as males. Lives depend on the job these groups do. Whats that you say? Some females are as strong, some females can do as good a job?

    Sure - the male gender has a lot to answer for... Don't worry darlin, your gender is catching up fast

    Posted by Double Standard June 9, 09 03:42 PM
  1. If you would liketo make a list of all the jobs males are not suited for that is fine, as long as we can make a list of all the jobs females are not suited for as well.

    Posted by sexismlives June 9, 09 03:46 PM
  1. As the President of Beacon Hill Nannies, Inc. we have struggled for 22 years in placing male nannies with pre-schoolers. The sterotypical prejudices & concerns exist with parents. We have been very successful in placing male nannies with school-age families. Mostly with school-age boys looking to have a "guy" do guy stuff with them. The males candidates we place typically have a strong camp counseling background that really appeals to both parents and children. They are also college degreed, and can help them with better homework
    and study skills as well.

    I wonder if any of the commenters would feel differently about male caregivers if their children were older? Anyone want to weigh in? -- LMA

    and study skills as well.

    Some Dad's are jealous of another male role model in the home, and will not consider them.


    niotconsider them.


    \

    Often Dad's

    Posted by Katherine June 9, 09 03:47 PM
  1. This conversation amazes me as a person and infuriates me as a father. If the topic was "would you trust a woman to change your oil/teach your kids math/hold elected office" there would be no end to the righteous fury directed at such a misogynistic line of thinking. Yet here we are, with many of you on record of suspecting any given man of being at best less capable by virtue of his gender and at worst a pedophile by virtue of his choosing to be a childcare provider. Glad I didn't decide on that as a career, how stomach-turning it must be to have these bigots judging you every day.

    Well said, Jim. Thanks for weighing in. -- LMA

    Posted by Jim June 9, 09 03:58 PM
  1. Probably not :(

    Posted by Maigan June 9, 09 04:08 PM
  1. Why are so many of you comfortable leaving your kids with anyone - male or female? Make sacrifices so that your kids can have a stay-at-home parent. Do the "heavy lifting" of parenting day in and day out, so that your kids are most affected by you, and not their day care provider. Please don't tell me how expensive it is in Boston, etc.... I used to live in the area. I moved. Primarily because my wife and I wanted to give our children a stay-at-home mom. Yes, that means no Saturday nights on Lansdowne St. But life is about sacrficed alternatives.

    Posted by Bill June 9, 09 05:46 PM
  1. bill, lots of mothers are happier and frankly better mothers if have outside interests, including working. not all people enjoy taking care of small children, even their own , 24/7 and fewer still will admit that.

    as for the male caregiver, I would personally never leave a small child with a non-family member in a day care or preschool setting with a male teacher, maybe if I was sure there was a lot of other teachers around watching. I question the motives of any male who wants to spend all of his time with young children. all those convicted pedophiles (and there are a lot of them around) , guess their occupations - youth church leader, sports coaches, etc.. you just can't risk your child.

    Posted by Laura June 9, 09 06:18 PM
  1. Even if you are a stay at home parent, unless you are homeschooling, your kid needs to learn how to be in a classroom, cooperate with other kids, listen to a teacher, follow directions, etc. I stayed at home with my kids, but I still sent them to 2-3 days of preschool for the two years before they started kindergarten. And they had a wonderful male preschool teacher. They have also had male baby sitters - horrors! Goodness knows how they have survived.

    I suppose you could make your life completely revolve around your kids to the point where they never, ever leave your sight until college. But that is unhealthy for you, your marriage, and your kids. You cannot bubble wrap them and expect them to magically develop self sufficiency at age 18.

    Posted by BMS June 9, 09 06:43 PM
  1. Strangers touching our bits is only wrong because society says it is wrong. As a child who was "touched" by strangers, related and not, male and female, I had no issue at the time, despite the fact that I had been educated by my parents to watch out for and tell them about such behavior. I still have no issue (and I am not sexually obsessed or any of that, apparently I just look friendly and easy for desperate men to target...and I don't enjoy it, but it isn't atrocious, and if it makes someone's day, well...). "Inappropriate touching" only becomes an issue when we think we have found the love of our life, and then the love of our life wants us to be his or hers and all his or hers...a function of our need for property rights.

    That's a pretty controversial statement, gmonkey1. Thank you for weighing in. -- LMA

    Posted by gmonkey1 June 9, 09 07:35 PM
  1. Take care of your OWN kids, or don't' have any.

    With all due respect, Shecky28, that's a pretty unrealistic statement. People, oftentimes women, have been taking care of other people's kids for generations. Just because caregiving had not been institutionalized to the same extent in the past doesn't mean that everyone took care of only their own kids 24/7. -- LMA

    Posted by Shecky28 June 9, 09 08:10 PM
  1. Absolutely. My sons have greatly benefited from both male caregivers and male teachers and male therapists. It has been my experience that males who are in these fields are generally compassionate and competent but they bring a different perspective or edge to their work. My husband and I are both very grateful for the work that they did with our sons. This kind of gender discrimination hurts children who may not be able to access the best care or person possible because we believe only a woman could do these jobs. We are lucky in that my son's preschool has been smart enough to hire men who provide the boys with great experiences and are great role models. Abusers can be of either sex and parents should always be vigilant.

    Posted by MROY June 9, 09 09:03 PM
  1. I think it's horrible that there's even a debate.

    This is the same kind of fear mongering that makes parents today too frightened to even let their kids play in their own yards, much less walk to school on their own.

    As a teacher I'm offended by the question. No one thinks twice about a female teacher working with boys who are being potty trained as if there's never been a case of documented female caregiver abuse. But a man???? He must be some kind of predator out to get the young children!!!!

    Puh-lease.

    All this debate does is illuminate your own prejudgices about gender stereotypes and those who step outside them. And what kind of role model does that makes you?

    And FWIW...I was abused by a female caregiver's husband, so if anyone has a right to be afraid of exposing little girls to adult male caregivers (which is what the debate is ACTUALLY about, let's not fool ourselves) it's me.

    Posted by C June 9, 09 10:29 PM
  1. As a male who was, for two years, on the track to becoming a pre-k/kindergarten teacher, some of these statements are absolutely mind-boggling.

    My girlfriend (yes, she's a girl, and yes, she's my age) was abused by her FEMALE nanny for TWO YEARS growing up. The lady hit her in the head with a coffee mug when she misbehaved.

    Anyone with sense in their head knows that news TV only reports bad news; controversial, sensationalist, tabloid news, written more for baseless emotional appeal and outrage than actual journalistic integrity. The images of men as abusive male caregivers are perpetuated time and again because they make money, not because they're any more or less common than any other kind of abuse. I'm sure many of you female posters know how bad high school can get for a girl. What makes you think that those of your gender that make high school so bad would be any better or more sensible with kids?

    Finding a good teacher is a hard thing to do in modern life, and I can tell you first hand that the women (and few men, none of whom were pedophiles) in the education dept. of my college were extremely excited to have me there. We need qualified professionals teaching our children, and we should not let gender bias scare men away from teaching any more than we should let it scare women away from any other profession. Heck, my favorite teacher in elementary school was a male, and he's still teaching there - no child abuse cases for 40 years now. He even asked me to go do my practicum with him!

    For those of you wondering, "well why aren't you going to be a teacher anymore," it's because I realized that it takes a very talented person to be a good teacher, and I didn't want to try to be a teacher knowing I'm not talented enough. There are enough mediocre teachers (most of them women, note) out there, and honestly, I think those are the ones you should be worrying about.

    Posted by Ryan M June 10, 09 04:10 AM
  1. As a child care toddler teacher and the mother of a young man who worked as a toddler teacher in his late teens, early twenties, I resent the fact that people would reject him out of hand. He is a loving, caring man and wonderful with children. Also, men bring a different energy to child care, that the kids thrive on. I have also seen some female teachers who can be abusive in much different ways than being spoken of here. And my son always felt that he had an extra burden of having to prove himself because of his gender---I know what that feels like, having come of age in the 60s when I felt the same thing. My generation of women worked hard to rid the world of unfair gender biases

    Posted by Robineva June 10, 09 05:54 AM
  1. I am not surprised at all about all these women fear of male caregivers. If you aren't ready to face a male caregiver in the future, don't have a child. For tthe parents whose children who were abused by Jim Conner, I fell sorry for them. He abused children not b/c he's a male, but rather b/c he's a child predator.
    I find it ridiculous when 2 individuals touching the children the same way when they change their diapers, one is considered as abused, the other is not. If I were to only allow males to be the caregivers, no doubt I will get alot of discrimination lawsuits. If parents want to only allow male relatives to take care of their chilren, think again. Most of the children actually were abused by someoen they know rather than strangers.

    Posted by Lee June 10, 09 07:48 AM
  1. are you kidding me - men here are outraged and insulted!
    Be apart of the solution and put your outrage to use - speak out privately and publicly against sexual violence, organize, encourage and educate boys and men to adopt positive models of masculinity, positively manage anger, conflicts, disappointment, low self esteem. As a man you have the opportunity to have a huge impact on reducing sexual violence against your wives, sons and daughters.

    Posted by Mina June 10, 09 09:44 AM
  1. This whole discussion is totally off base. I can understand concern about male teachers having too close of a relationship with female students 14 and up since post puberty females are sexually attractive to normal males. However, a only a very small fraction of the very small percentage of males perverted enough to be attracted to children would be attracted to toddlers. The fact that a few of these women are concerned about male pre-school teachers and not by male high school teachers is proof of world case contradiction in their logic. Note the vast majority of male teachers are no threat to high school students either,

    Posted by Robert June 10, 09 09:50 AM
  1. It amazes me that some women ever got married. How do you have a healthy relationship with your spouse if you constantly assume all adult men are child molester potential? My husband is an involved, active, loving father. Eeek! Call the authorities - he can only have alterior motives!

    And gmonkey1 - thank you. I have had unwanted sexual attention from a boyfriend in the past. While I did not enjoy it, neither did it traumatize me for life. Dumped boyfriend, moved on.

    Posted by BMS June 10, 09 10:46 AM
  1. To Laura #47: Most of those convicted pedophiles you speak of are not only men, but are White, Christian, and heterosexual. Do you know longer trust heterosexuals? Christians? You question the motives of any man who wants to spend time with young children. Do you question the motives of your father? He had a young child--you. Your husband? Doesn't he want to spend his time with his child(ren)? Why don't you question the motives of women? Your sexism is appalling.

    To Mina #56: One way for men to be part of the solution is for them to be really good role models to very young boys and girls. If we don't allow our children to interact with good male role models in day care, then our children will lose out. As a woman, you have the opportunity to teach your children thatall people should be judged on their characther and their actions. By perpetuating sexist ideas, you teach your children that it is okay to judge someone by some immutable characteristic.

    For all the women who have no problem with not trusting their children with qualified male caregivers, and cite statitistics to do so, are you also teaching your children to stay away from Blacks due to their high levels of incarceration? Are you teaching your children to stay away from Muslims and Arabs because of terrorism, are you teaching your children to stay away from Latinos because of the prevalence of undocumented people in this country? What other stereotypes do you perpetuate and rationalize as your "gut instinct" and in the name of child protection. Given that children are much more likely to be abused by a family member or someone they know are you preventing relationships with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblinggs, even you as the parent?

    Posted by MakeLoveNotWar June 10, 09 12:04 PM
  1. People have bought into the idea that anything is ok, as long as it is 'for the good of the children'. So even though the chance of something bad happening is minimal, nothing is too extreme if it will protect the children. This of course leads to young adults who can't negotiate college without holding Mommy's hand, or grown women with irrational fears of guys, or teenagers who rebel and lash out in risky behaviors becuase they have had every movement scripted, planned, and hovered over since birth. But that's ok - it's for their own good! /sarcasm off

    Posted by BMS June 10, 09 01:05 PM
  1. As a male caregiver in a daycare center I can relate to alot of the comments made. There are alot of parents that are very nervous when they come tour and see me in the classroom. Then after they enroll and get to know me they realize they had nothing to worry about. I have been a teacher now for 12 years and have gotten to know the families very well. I have been asked to babysit for thier children. We even get referrals because there is a male caregiver in the center. I feel the biggest reason you don't see more men in the field is because of the pay. You see more and more stay at home dads playing Mr. Mom. This is how I became involved in teaching. I started as a stay at home dad volunteering at my son's school and just fell in love with the idea of teaching the future of America. I could go on for days about this topic but just wanted to say thank you to all of you writing to support us male caregivers

    Posted by Bill June 11, 09 09:56 AM
  1. i agree with bill above. i am a working 24 year old male pre-school teacher myself having studied for a diploma in childcare and early years education graduating with the highest exam grade out of all candidates and the only male in 400 students graduated last year. having worked with children for 7 years. i say really enjoy my job, but it would not be without the support of the other women in my setting. with regards to the whole toilet training subject, i said from the first dayon the job in order to protect myself and the children and the parents know i will not change children or to put it bluntly wipe bums. a female is always within eyeshot/earshot to give me assistance. altho there have been plenty of children haing progressed through this room successfully with great personal hygiene. and it is possible to have a fun structured creative stimulating environment where the children feel safe and secure and parents feel happy to leave them in your care, i can wholwheartdly say there should be more male early years workers through qualifications and effective screening. i could go on for days telling you why. but what i will say due to the amount of divorces and single mothers dealing with rebelious children if there were more male influences at a younger stage there could be a more balance world and not so many f**ked up kids


    Posted by connor from ireland July 1, 09 08:36 PM
  1. Interestingly, in my experience, it's most often been the man that's had an issue with male babysitters. I think it's a primitive biological thing... they don't want other males near their family.

    Posted by Chris July 26, 09 06:14 AM
  1. This is not a philosophical debate people! It only takes one pedophile to ruin a child's stability for the rest of their lives. ONE...a single person. The record of the male gender has a higher rate of child molestation. It is only common sense that a parent would want to decrease the odds of their children being forever scarred. By the way, a healthy normal male under certain conditions could very well be a hop skip and jump away from that one brief disgusting encounter with a child. This is not rocket science. I refuse to walk blindly down the street just because it hurts other people's feelings.

    Posted by Lauren November 3, 09 11:16 PM
  1. This is not a philosophical debate people! It only takes one pedophile to ruin a child's stability for the rest of their lives. ONE...a single person. The record of the male gender has a higher rate of child molestation. It is only common sense that a parent would want to decrease the odds of their children being forever scarred. By the way, a healthy normal male under certain conditions could very well be a hop skip and jump away from that one brief disgusting encounter with a child. This is not rocket science. I refuse to walk blindly down the street just because it hurts other people's feelings.

    Posted by Lauren November 3, 09 11:16 PM
  1. I do not know where you people get the stats, but it is a fact that most commonly a family member is involved on child molestation than a stranger. Now, for me stats are just that. A stat can be raised as more people move forward saying "I have been molested". Female and Male are both humans capable of violence and horrible acts.
    First of all, if I am a parent I would not go to this website to check to whom I should trust my child, that is MY decision. Since you think that your child would be on a higher risk to be molested by a male potty trainer...then embrased yourself for high school in where there have been more cases of female school teachers involved with teenagers. So I hope to see all these parents saying how bad a male teacher could be in potty training...how the female teacher should do when your child is a teenager and can tell you to go to hell "I love my female teacher and she is pregnant too". This entire debate is just pure discrimination and sexism.
    For years women (obviously not many of those are in here), who are professional want a place in society to be respected and treated as equals with their men counterparts and here we are treating men like the evil seeds of society...which let me tell you...isn't that answer and put women at worst then? So in the most impotant stage of child development if it is solely control by females...then how men become the bad seeds? uhmmm this could be for another debate.
    I wonder how you can even look at your own husband, bf, uncle and male friends after say that basically they are born with a bad seed... I wonder how you explain sexual education to your teenagers...oh nevermind!

    Posted by Virginia November 7, 09 09:43 AM
  1. This is deplorable.

    We use sexist profiling to make all men guilty of pedophilia with no real chance to prove their innocence.

    How would you like it if you child was lost and abducted and 5 men came forward and said "Yes, I saw he was lost, but I was afraid of what people would think if I tried to help him"? Because that's how men have to think now to stay safe.

    I think that would change your tune REAL fast.

    Posted by Lasivian December 17, 09 03:05 AM
  1. No. Any parent who would leave their child alone unsupervised with an adult male who isn't the child's dad is insane. A female is far less likely to be a sexual predator. So its always better to choose a female over a male.

    Posted by student99 December 28, 09 06:56 PM
  1. In my opinion, what in the bad word is so sexually attractive about a child? thats paranoia to the max, if you look at a child your gut instincts say innocent, no one in their right mind should think their kids are sexually attractive, and if they do they should see a therapist. The question is, do you feel safe in society leaving your child with a stranger? If its with a male, people are going to assume sexual abuse, which is insane, and if its with a woman, is my child going to be ok? If someone was giving me dirty looks at the playground, i would think to myself, this lady is a psycho freak who thinks her 7 year old is sexually appealing, if there are men who have no reason to do those things other then being disgusting, then they be should looked down on, but i dont think anyone in their right mind should think of children and assume sex

    Posted by Cillian January 27, 10 01:14 AM
  1. No, I would never leave my potty training daughters or sons in a daycare with male teachers. I'm sure that there are many wonderful male teachers out there, but I absolutely will not take the chance. That's not to say that I don't think that women daycare teachers would sexually abuse a child, but statistically, most child molesters are committed by males. That is what I'm comfortable with for my children.

    Posted by Janine February 1, 10 03:48 AM
  1. I had a male caregiver work for me, he was absolutely great with my daughters and they called him grandpa. Appearantly he had committed some felonies 10 year before that time and the cops came and picked him up. We were all astonished. Then we found out it was nothing sexual, he just robbed a few banks when he was down on his luck. According to the cops who arrested him he did not even use a gun, just went in with a letter telling them he was robbing the bank and to put the money on the counter. then he took the money anre ran. I reckony yu can never tell about people. I know we done a background checkand evrything and nothing showed up at the ime.

    Posted by OJS April 22, 10 06:22 AM
  1. I am a 16 year old teenage male and I am very offended by some of the things people are saying, and in the article, I volunteer at a local daycare center in my town because I love children and enjoy spending time at the daycare. I am just as capable as a female in caring for children, and any other male is too.

    Posted by Nicolas October 10, 12 10:26 AM
  1. When a person has been sexually abused as a child (by a man or a woman) it creates trust issues and hyper-vigilance. Unfortunately there is no big x on the forehead of a person who abuses children. Without real red flags there is just no way to KNOW who is safe and who is not. So, my feeling being "over-protective" is better than just choosing to trust people, Neither is a great solution but I would rather err on the side of caution and possibly hurt the feelings of a well meaning adult than set a child up for abuse. Bottom line - keep your eyes open.

    Posted by K July 18, 13 02:05 PM
  1. Having had a male teacher often chase me and my girlfriend around the classroom when we were in primary school trying to lift up our skirts when we were alone, I would say no. My best friend also had experiences of her male primary school teacher often dropping his pen or piece of chalk on the floor of the feet of some girl in the classroom. When he bent down to pick up the pen or chalk he would always look up the girl's skirt. A male friend said he often got felt up by his male teacher at his Catholic school. My husband's ex girlfriend was forced to perform sexual acts on her teenage male neighbours when she was a child. What I am trying to say here is that I don't have to look very far to find examples of sexual abuse my males. It actually seems almost commonplace. So the answer is no.

    Posted by May September 15, 13 08:06 AM
 
74 comments so far...
  1. Honestly, right now, I have to say no. My children attend the Melrose Y afterschool program, and when I met Jim Conner, I put my trepidation aside, thinking I was just railing against his gender. Well, it turns out that I should have trusted my "spidey-sense". I'm extremely fortunate that my children were not directly affected by him, but they both are still suffering from the aftermath. If I still had a preschooler, right now I would be very nervous if there were a male teacher in the classroom. I'm sure that's unfair to some wonderful, caring men, but that one bad apple has made me extremely wary of men who I do not know extremely well serving as caregivers.

    Posted by anonymous today June 8, 09 12:40 PM
  1. Yes I am fine with male caregivers and as the mother of three boys, welcome them. My younger kids go to daycare twice a week and the setting is all female, then they will go to an elementary school system where there are no males (teachers or administrators) until third grade. The little bit of balance comes from the extended kindergarten and after school program that they go to, which is run by a man and has many male teachers. Even there, though, the sense is that women do the "serious" schooling (pre school and XK) and men do "fun stuff" (after school sports and rec.). It's too bad that more men don't go into early childhood or elementary education - I think that both boys and girls would benefit from having a mix of teachers, and boys are sorely in need of more male teachers so that they get the message, from the earliest age, that school isn't just something for girls.

    FWIW when I was in school the only male teacher in elementary school was for phys ed and in high school we had a male music teacher. My sisters and I all succeeded academically, my brothers did poorly. I wonder if the lack of male role models in school influenced their education?

    Posted by Jen June 8, 09 01:17 PM
  1. I'm probably more open minded because my father was a teacher. My kids went to daycare and had a few male teachers and they were always fabulous. They had such a high energy level and the kids adored them. I'm probably generalizing but I often think males can be better teachers because they must really be called to it. Some, definately not all, women find it as an easy fallback but to be a male studying early childhood education (an unlikely choice) you must really want it.

    I'm shocked by the quote that a person wouldn't want their husband doing bath time. Are we really that afraid of men these days? I feel for my son if that is true.

    Posted by Nancy June 8, 09 02:22 PM
  1. If I felt this way, my daughter wouldn't be in the hands of her father. This is just beyond the pale and it reinforces my husband's stories of the dirty looks he gets from other moms and female nannies on the playgrounds. So, should her uncles, her father, her grandfather or any one of our close male friends who we trust with her alone be barred from changing her diaper because she can't communicate effectively at this stage and couldn't tell me that she's being harmed in some fashion?

    Women kill me. We have been raised to rail against gender stereotypes and break the mold of domesticity and child rearing, but when it comes to it, when someone finally does break out of that mold and hand the reins over to a male counterpart, he is immediately suspect and guilty because HE is not a SHE.

    To anonymous today, what happened in your instance is a tragedy, but there are more and more documented cases of caregivers of the female persuasion sanctioning and assisting or participating in this pattern of abusive behavior. Would you then not trust any female care giver if the gender was different? If I were in your position, I would not trust any outside caregiver, period. Male or female.

    Until men are given equal consideration as the wonderful caregivers they are and can be, my husband knows that he'll just have to suck up the cold shoulder and nasty looks on the playground.

    And since when are women blameless in patterns of abuse? We are just as capable of that evil and it's documented, thoroughly. The very notion that we are the only ones who should be giving care and education to our young raises my ire to dangerous (for my BP) levels because it's indicative of a greater ill that still seeks to bar us from many professions, even in this day and age.

    Sod that for a lark. Give me my husband - that "evil male caregiver" - over anyone I don't know, of any gender, any day of the week. Give me my numerous male friends, her myraid of uncles, over any snotty female who thinks that she has the onus on caregiving capabilities. The positive roles they play in her life have already made her a wonderful, tough, independent and fearless child.


    Posted by phe June 8, 09 03:06 PM
  1. I leave my two sons with a male caregiver every day. Their father! He can confirm the dirty looks that phe comments about above. Before my husband became a stay at home dad after the birth of our second son, my first son was usually taken care of by his uncle who is a stay at home father of two girls. My husband's other brother is also a stay at home father. I don't understand the double standard either. Some of the blurbs taken from the parenting website in the original post are VERY disturbing. You can't trust your own husband to give your child a bath?! You wouldn't want a male potty training your child because the child can't verbalize? Does that mean a woman wouldn't do the same to a child who can't verbalize?! I would never put a child who can't verbalize into a daycare. As mentioned above women are well documented attackers to and it doesn't just have to be sexual abuse that you're child can't verbalize. That doesn't mean I look down on those who do put a non verbal child in daycare or am naive enough to think that a family member could do no harm to a child. However, I feel much more comfortable leaving my child with a family member that my husband and I love and trust. Or in my case now the most important male role model in my children's lives. Regardless if they are male or female, there should be no double standard as both genders can be offenders.

    Posted by workingmom June 8, 09 03:56 PM
  1. No, I wouldn't have a male be the sole caregiver for my kids, unless it was their father or an uncle. My older son was sexually abused by the 13 year old son of a daycare provider in family daycare. Don't avoid all male caregivers, but listen to your intuition!

    Posted by Name Withheld June 8, 09 04:46 PM
  1. Notice, in all the histrionics about potty-training classes, not a word about little boys having their penises exposed to the unsupervised prodding of women strangers. Of course, not; we don't want to dwell on the unfortunate fact that little boys have such things at all. They should be girls, as all good children are. At least, such is the opinion of the harems of harpies who too often rule early childhood care.

    Posted by Glad I'm not a little boy in the system now June 8, 09 08:05 PM
  1. To #6...I'm sorry about what your son went through, but an unsupervised 13 year old doesn't = all adult males....

    I agree, intuition should be heard, but don't paint all men with the same brush....sometimes I think men get a bad rap because they deal with kids differently than women.

    Posted by SettleDown June 8, 09 10:50 PM
  1. I heard a person on NPR state that the number one way to prevent your child from being sexually abused is to keep them away from male caregivers.

    Posted by lilac22421 June 9, 09 09:01 AM
  1. Men are born guilty of what some might call "precrimes", which is the penalty they owe society for the males that have committed crimes before them. The vast majority of sex offenders are male. Is it reasonable for people to use gender or other risk factors in determining who cares for their child? Of course.

    While there is much trepidation about whether or not it is fair to single out men for special scrutiny, I would remind everyone of the history of clergy abuse in Boston and across the globe. Despite this clear history, many strongly desire to send their children to Catholic schools or to Sunday school Are these less serious risks than having a male babysitter? For many thousands it was not.

    For that matter, how do parents rationalize the risk of sending their young boys camping with the Boy Scouts, far away from any child's ability to seek help?

    Women are quite capable of abuse too, and probably more capable of the worst forms of emotional abuse of children and teenagers, particularly girls. A broad case that has only received modest attention here were the Magdelene Laundries in Ireland run by nuns for decades. Their mistreatment of girls went beyond basic beatings to humiliation by forcing girls to appear naked before groups and suffer verbal insults, forced hair cutting, wearing crushing clothing and other tactics that were designed to destroy a girls sense of self-worth. In later years, some of the teens who became pregnant (often by priests) had their infants taken from them after two weeks of breastfeeding, never to be seen again. Some of those children in turn wound up in similar institutions, and were abused themselves. Google "Sex in a Cold Climate" or "Magdelene Laundries" to hear the women describe the impact on their lives.

    Posted by question June 9, 09 09:43 AM
  1. One bad apple? No, it's not one bad apple that gave us these feelings. It's an orchard of bad apples throughout the even just the past five years that give us our "gut feeling" that men should not be caregivers to children. Fathers yes, at home, not in a daycare. I would pull my kids in a heartbeat

    Posted by Orchard of Bad Apples June 9, 09 09:45 AM
  1. I would absolutely trust my children to a male caregiver in a daycare center. My boys have never had one in their daycare, but in watching them interact with their swim teacher and other coaches, I can see that there really is a connection, something that they get out of those relationships. Personally, I am not comfortable leaving my children in the hands of a single (home) care provider, male or female - but we have had an amazing experience with a daycare center. I love knowing that they have a group of teachers watching out for them. But I would definitely love if they hired a male!

    Posted by Momof2boys June 9, 09 09:57 AM
  1. I find it interesting that women caregivers get a total pass in the child molestation department, even though women DO molest young children.

    Basically, I think it's important to trust your intuition about ANY caregiver and to teach your kid as early as possible about what's private and what's appropriate touching and what to do if inappropriately touched. ANYONE can molest your kid: a caregiver, a family member, a neighbor, another kid, ANYONE.

    Finally, I'm sorry for the mom who doesn't trust her husband to bathe their daughter -- that person has issues.

    Posted by suz June 9, 09 09:57 AM
  1. I would like to take the comment that Phe made and repost it all over the place. I am thoroughly disgusted by the implication that man are the only ones - or even the more likely ones - to commit some kind of abuse. When did we all become such hypocrites? Why is it okay to say, "I wouldn't trust a man with my child..." Can you imagine the uproar if you replace the word "man" with "black" or "woman"? It's a horrendous double-standard that is being employed here.

    Bottom line - trust your gut. Don't base it on gender or color or the ridiculous histrionics of overly worried women demonizing the male gender.

    Posted by Kate June 9, 09 10:26 AM
  1. I am not sure I have seen anything so blatantly sexist here on boston.com. If the reverse were written NOW would be organizing a picket line by now. Sexism is sexism. I doubt that boston.com would have a high profile article discussing the ability of women to rescue people as firefighters?

    Posted by pj1 June 9, 09 10:33 AM
  1. All kids need role models of both genders. And having only family care for a child is often unrealistic in our society. As an only child with an only child as a partner, I know it's not feasible for us.
    I'd much rather have somebody trained in early childhood care for my child than I would have someone be trusted just because they happen to be a woman. Having a male preschool teacher would be a great thing for little boys. And as far as little girls being cared for by a male, if he's honest and compassionate who cares.

    Posted by Sensible Woman June 9, 09 10:33 AM
  1. Yes, I would be comfortable overall.

    My kids both went to day care centers, which provided a lot of supervision of staff, and there was always more than one teacher in the classrooms (thus giving an additional layer of protection against any kind of abuse.) All bathrooms had half-doors, so that adults could see into the bathroom... so kids were always supervised and there was no opportunity for inappropriate touching.

    Posted by HollyP June 9, 09 10:33 AM
  1. The sissification of America needs to end. If you can't trust your husband alone with your child *for no good reason other than your unsubstantiated feelings* ..YOU are the one with issues. You probably shouldn't have had kids, or even be married.

    All of this can easily be solved by just checking the sex offender registry to make sure that child care men AND women are not on there. That will keep your kids safe, because 90% of sex offenses are committed by people who are not on those lists, and less than 5% of the people on those lists ever commit anouther sex offense - this is from the federal government study recently completed.

    Posted by WakeUpAmerica June 9, 09 10:35 AM
  1. The sissification of America needs to end. If you can't trust your husband alone with your child *for no good reason other than your unsubstantiated feelings* ..YOU are the one with issues. You probably shouldn't have had kids, or even be married.

    All of this can easily be solved by just checking the sex offender registry to make sure that child care men AND women are not on there. That will keep your kids safe, because 90% of sex offenses are committed by people who are not on those lists, and less than 5% of the people on those lists ever commit anouther sex offense - this is from the federal government study recently completed.

    Posted by WakeUpAmerica June 9, 09 10:42 AM
  1. Absolutely! Both of my girls went to a family day care run by a wonderful man. When people say "why would a man want to take care of children?" they are exposing their gender bias on many levels. Not only that men don't have the skill to care for children and can't really be trusted, but that child care is unpleasant women's work and beneath the interest of a male. Women have internalized this and society reinforces it. If more men went into child care/early ed, I bet the pay scale would go up!

    Posted by Mary Gaughan June 9, 09 10:51 AM
  1. Best babysitter my boys ever had was a kid (male) that lived two houses away. My three boys loved him and he did take really good care of them. They were totally comfortable with him and he played with them more than the girl sitters we'd had.

    Posted by dragonlady June 9, 09 10:58 AM
  1. I am also a stay at home dad of 2 girls, a 2 yo and a 1 yo. I would never let a male care for either of my daughters, be it a daycare teacher, a neighbor, or even a relative. Nor would I care for someone else's child, not that i couldn't be trusted, but simply because of the stigma. Though both men and women abuse children, the percentages of male to female abusers is staggering. I will take a female caregiver every time and so should you.

    Posted by Dante's Inferno June 9, 09 10:59 AM
  1. The answer is men are just as good care givers as women and I would trust my kids with a male caregiver and I do have girls.

    Women can do just as bad things to kids as men can and often do.

    Hopefully caregivers are checked out and so are their references.

    We have male gynecologists, male internists, male nurses and they take just as good care of women as they do men.

    Men can be caregivers and this anti male attitude is out of control

    Posted by Peter G. Hill June 9, 09 11:24 AM
  1. Sadly, I don't think this concern is "histrionics," given girls' and women's nearly universal experience of unwanted sexual attention and inappropriate touching and harassment from boys and men, most of whom are not strangers but the boy next door or a family member or family friend.

    Given that fact, I do think we need to be vigilent but also try to given our sons and daughters positive experiences with male caregivers. To the dads out there who get those dirty looks: please understand, your gender has a lot to answer for! So hang in there and prove that you can be trusted -- which means acknowledging the reality of girls' and women's experiences and helping put an end this culture that sexualizes children.

    Posted by JP Gal June 9, 09 11:26 AM
  1. My son had an awesome male preschool teacher. His style was different from the other teachers, less about discipline and structure, all about play and encouraging the kids' creativity & social skills. Why be a teacher? Because after studying other things, he just enjoy being in an office, and knew he was good with kids. He spends a lot of time creating games and clever ways to teach his kids how to share, play nice and learn their numbers & letters. What else could you want in a preschool teacher?

    WELL, superior knowledge of super heroes, racing/crashing cars & trucks and the importance of daily ACTIVE play are just a few of the things he brings to the group of excellent teachers at this center. He now babysits for us on a regular basis, and I trust him completely. I won't doubt the stats of physical abuse by female caregivers alluded to above, but female caregivers who emotionally abuse kids (by ignoring them, misunderstanding them, or who would just rather be on the phone) are not uncommon, and also a serious concern.

    Posted by PK June 9, 09 11:37 AM
  1. To #1... What was the race of the individual? If he was White, will you no longer leave your children in the care of White people? Was he Catholic? Was he Irish? After the latest report from Ireland (2600 pages long), boys and girls were routinely sexually, physically, and psychologically abused in Catholic-run schools in Ireland up through the mid-1990's. Thus, you shouldn't leave children with Whites or Irish or Catholics, or men. What was his sign? There are many facets to a person, many reasons and influences that cause people to treat others nicely and with respect, or to abuse them. Why are you so sure that his sex was ther determinative factor? Was he American? Perhaps we can't trust Americans either.

    Posted by MakeLoveNotWar June 9, 09 11:50 AM
  1. I am a male who who works with special education students (both male and female). I work with students in all aspects of life, including showering, bathroom training, etc. When i tell people tha I work on showering/toileting, etc with students, the first question they always ask, with lots of skepticism and uneasy looks is whether I work with females on these issues. My answer is yes, I do. My first question back to them is "why does that bother you?" Most people can't give a straight answer. They just stammer and look embarassed that someone called them out on this subject. I ask them econdly, why is it such a big deal for men to work with females, while females working with male students, most people don't even bat an eyelash? I totally agree with Phe in that when the sterotypical bounds are broken by women, thats fantastic, the best thing that could ever happen. But when Men break those gender norms, men become elementary teachers, special ed teachers, etc, they get looked upon as weird, that they are going to take advantage of the yong children, whether they be male or female. That is sexist and uncalled for. My best elementary school teacher was male, I work with some of the best male special ed teachers in the world and the only reason that any of them have ever gotten into the field is because they love working with kids.

    People need to stop looking at the atrocities that have been committed by one small portion of gender and look at each person as an individual. I don't look at all women and think they'll be great mothers. In fact I know a lot of women I wouldn't trust to take care of a cat (self sufficient animal #1) let alone a child. But I dont view all women in that light. People need to stop and think, would you want your husband looked upon in that light? You know that they are a great father, so do you want other women to think that the only reason they watch their neices and nephews is to get in their pants? The U.S is supposed to be this grea melting pot of people and ideas and beliefs, lets start having our own, not falling back into the sterotypes of old.


    Posted by MALE special education teacher June 9, 09 11:57 AM
  1. The hysteria presented by some women is unfortunate and hypocritical. My brothers and I had a male babysitter on occasion, the teen son of friends of the family. His sister also babysat for us. If anything, she was less patient and respectful of us. My brother babysat for a neighbor's son. A very good friend, former neighbor, babysay for us with our daughter, from infancy to age 3. It so happens he is gay, so put that into the equation and the bias. He was wonderful with her, language development, social skills, counting, etc. She loves him. I often babysit for my daughter. I give her baths on occasion, help her go potty, help her get dressed. The only perversions are in your minds. How sad some of you are.

    Posted by Bob Lincoln June 9, 09 12:33 PM
  1. The fact is that women are about 5 times more likely to abuse children (government statistics) as men. They are even about 6 times more likely to kill their own children. These stories are getting out now when before they did not. Even when correcting for the larger number of women caring for children you end up with a much high risk from a female than a male. Society and media has focused for decades on the demonizing of men - the last group of people it is okay to be prejudiced against. In fact commercials are often run where if the roles were reversed people would be totally outraged. A recent grocery store commercial showed a woman tackling and beating a man to get something he took from the refrigerator. Imaging these roles reversed with the man tackling the woman! Then you begin to see how deep sexual stereotype run. In fact a man getting kicked in the private parts is "funny" - imagine that role reversal in a movie or sitcom where the woman gets kicked in the crouch by a man! The outrage would make national news.
    Society needs to accept that man can be caregivers just as well as women (minus the mammary glands) as well as they have already accepted women can perform equally in the workforce.
    Society needs to accept that man can be caregivers just as well as women (minus the mammary glands) as well as they have already accepted women can perform equally in the workforce. See: www.FathersUnite.org for more information on how these stereotypes are literally destroying America by destroying it children through the incompetence of our family court system still ordering 85% sole custody to mothers. We have known for over 15 years that sole custody is simply a form of child abuse and damages children for life, yet the band plays on to generate legal fees and federal kickbacks for child "support". (see www.BestInterestOfChildren.org).

    Don’t believe me: lots of independent research at the CDC web site and at: http://www.mediaradar.org/research.php
    Over 100 articles on this at: http://www.mediaradar.org/prior_headlines.php

    The facts actually indicate that women are the more violent and abusive sex but we are deluged with propaganda from women’s groups who do not represent most women and no equivalent organization supporting men.

    In fact http://www.lectlaw.com/files/fam27.htm shows that:
    * Eighty two percent of the general population had their first
    experience of violence at the hands of women, usually their mother

    What the media has told us is a small part of the story.

    Posted by Bob Norton June 9, 09 12:55 PM
  1. Good grief. Our preschool had a male teacher. He was awesome. A couple of the kids had no fathers in the house, and the moms were so grateful that they could have a positive male role model around. He changed diapers, sang songs, played games, and didn't have to leave half way through the year on maternity leave like at least 4 of the female teachers did. My kids were much more effected by having their teachers disappear mid year than they were by having a (gasp) male teacher.

    There is something positively pathological about treating every male in the world, even your own husband, as a child molester. What do you do if you have sons? Do you raise them to believe they are inherently evil, destined for sexual misconduct? Are all females perfect? Do females never abuse or molest children? If you are that paranoid, then please stay at home with your kids, and spare the rest of us.

    Posted by BMS June 9, 09 01:00 PM
  1. Heck yes i would! I really don't understand why a man is any different from a woman in a daycare/school setting. My daughter goes to a back up daycare where i work and there are wonderful teachers there, male and female and they are all equally awesome.

    Posted by jenne June 9, 09 01:28 PM
  1. As a male preschool teacher who taught preschool children for 8 years, it is disheartening that the only time you hear about males teachers is when this is the topic. It wasn't bad enought that for 8 years I had to work a part time job just to stay afloat because daycare providers don't get paid enough. To be disrespected by parents that are too narrow minded to accept something a bit different is a real slap in the face. As a white male in America there isn't much I have to complain about but considering the amount of inequality women have put up with (such as unequal pay), I would expect a little more openmindedness from you.
    I refused to do diapers when I was teaching for fear that a parent such as some of the one's from this blog would be too eager to blame me for something. Some parents even asked that their child not come to our room because we had a male teacher. Fortunately, %99 of the parents and none of my coworkers were this narrow minded but those few incidents of mistrust eventually led me to leave the field altogether.
    Even though thousands of planes take off and land safely each day, we only hear about the ones that crash. The same is true for all of the teachers, women and man alike. It is only the few sick ones who ever get any press. But I don't just blame the media, I blame the people who believe them. I'm just glad that the children I cared for and the women I taught with had love for me, they made it all worth it.

    Posted by Brendan Bonavita, Somerville June 9, 09 01:28 PM
  1. "The 'only' perversions are in your minds"? That's certainly taking it too far. Pedophilia does exist in some men as well as in some women. I've known many great men who work with kids because they think kids are great. To help a child reach his or her potential is rewarding and enjoyable work. Many, many men are far and away better teachers and caregivers than some women. What a shame it would be if these great people were replaced by "just anyone" who happens to be a woman. Perhaps one day we'll all be well-educated enough that parents, like the woman who is afraid to leave her husband alone with her kids, won't live a life of fear and misplaced anxiety.

    Posted by wg67 June 9, 09 01:38 PM
  1. Nope. I pulled my daughter from her day-care when they hired a male preschool teacher while she was potty training. Just wasn't comfortable with it on any level. If you are paying for your child to be cared for-it only matters what you are comfortable with. Bottomline.

    Posted by mcg1125 June 9, 09 02:17 PM
  1. What I find very intriguing is that many of the women on this site will claim themselves to be liberals, but I'm sure are against racial profiling. I wonder if you are the same women who grab tight to your purse when you cross paths with someone of a different race. This backward thinking is why the world is the way that it is now. Instinct and intutition and being an involved parent and citizen are the best methods of prevention.

    Posted by anonymous June 9, 09 02:22 PM
  1. All the canonizing of women as the only perfectly trustworthy childcare providers reminds me of the woman (maybe it was in Marlboro but it slips my mind) who had her home day care closed and faced charges for a number of offenses, including (but not limited to) duct taping a small baby to the wall of her living room.

    Just keep in mind some women know they are automatically trusted, and love to use and abuse that trust...

    Posted by Beth June 9, 09 02:45 PM
  1. Not only would I leave my child with a male caregiver but I find it essential to have a male teacher in the classroom. Children need role models of both sexes. I was a preschool teacher for 5 years and was lucky enough to work with a male teacher for half that time. I must admit I was a little hesitant to understand why a male would want to work with children, but after 5 minutes of meeting him all those thoughts went out the window. He was a very important part of the classroom. Kids looked up to him and followed him around like his was a hero. The parents enjoyed his presence in the classroom also. One mother whose child didn't have a father at home thought it was great for her to have a male role model at school because as much as we like to say males and females aren't different, it is very apparent from the beginning how different we are. And that statement is coming from a feminist. It makes me sick reading these and seeing how many mothers would take their child out of daycare if there was a male teacher. I was lucky enough to work a great male teacher and know there are plenty of more out there. There are creepy women that work in daycare situations too! In my experiences as a preschool teacher I have seen nothing but care and love from overworked/ underpaid individuals who don't need to read from rich/snobby parents who can afford daycare why they wouldn't leave there children there.

    Posted by Molly Higginson June 9, 09 03:09 PM
  1. Most women are inherently racist and sexist. And thanks to the mainstream media, most women think men are lazy, slobbish, stupid buffoons. Women shouldn't even have the right to vote...they "think" with their "feelings," lack any sense of logic and reason, and are more interested in impressing their girlfriends than being good mothers and wives. Remember guys: 50% of marriages don't last, and 70% of all divorces are initiated by the woman. DO NOT GET MARRIED.

    Sounds like you've had a rough time, BountyBusters. Not all women are like that, any more than all men conform to the stereotypes about them. -- LMA

    Posted by BountyBusters June 9, 09 03:18 PM
  1. This is such discrimination, it's not even funny

    Posted by Bostonvlad June 9, 09 03:28 PM
  1. This blog is idiotic. However, the question is even more ridiculous. Men are taking care of their kids more than ever. I have rasied my 2 and 3 year old every single day, changed diapers, up with midnight feeding etc. Have not missed a Pedi appointment, not one day have i been absent. It is time for women to relax about this men stuff. We take care of kids all the time whether you chose to see it or not. The women who run and are on this blog are male haters get past yourselves for one second and you'll see us pushing the stroller, giving up our jobs and taking care of kids and doing an excellent job of it!!

    As for the stupid comment about letting a make nurse give help give birth to the child, I work in an Emergency Department and the male nurses there are the best in the city. ...

    For the rest of us men, and male nurses, we're doing great and unlike the women on this board, our women love us to death and are very lucky to have us. As for you all, make a better choice picking your man next time.

    PS-why the heck doesn't Boston.com have a Dad's blog? we sure could use one. But alas since there are no others available us SAHDs need to put up with this drivel.

    SAHD's unite and don't take this crap lying down!!!

    Note: Chris's comment has been edited to remove the personal insults, but is being published because he does raise some interesting points for discussion. Chris, while I appreciate you took the time to leave your 2 cents, if you think the blog is idiotic, you can save yourself a lot of grief by clicking the little "x" in the corner of the window. -- LMA

    Posted by Chris Shepard June 9, 09 03:30 PM
  1. I agree - caregivers shouldn't be male and firefighters & police officers shouldn't be female. It is a fact that females are not as strong as males. Lives depend on the job these groups do. Whats that you say? Some females are as strong, some females can do as good a job?

    Sure - the male gender has a lot to answer for... Don't worry darlin, your gender is catching up fast

    Posted by Double Standard June 9, 09 03:42 PM
  1. If you would liketo make a list of all the jobs males are not suited for that is fine, as long as we can make a list of all the jobs females are not suited for as well.

    Posted by sexismlives June 9, 09 03:46 PM
  1. As the President of Beacon Hill Nannies, Inc. we have struggled for 22 years in placing male nannies with pre-schoolers. The sterotypical prejudices & concerns exist with parents. We have been very successful in placing male nannies with school-age families. Mostly with school-age boys looking to have a "guy" do guy stuff with them. The males candidates we place typically have a strong camp counseling background that really appeals to both parents and children. They are also college degreed, and can help them with better homework
    and study skills as well.

    I wonder if any of the commenters would feel differently about male caregivers if their children were older? Anyone want to weigh in? -- LMA

    and study skills as well.

    Some Dad's are jealous of another male role model in the home, and will not consider them.


    niotconsider them.


    \

    Often Dad's

    Posted by Katherine June 9, 09 03:47 PM
  1. This conversation amazes me as a person and infuriates me as a father. If the topic was "would you trust a woman to change your oil/teach your kids math/hold elected office" there would be no end to the righteous fury directed at such a misogynistic line of thinking. Yet here we are, with many of you on record of suspecting any given man of being at best less capable by virtue of his gender and at worst a pedophile by virtue of his choosing to be a childcare provider. Glad I didn't decide on that as a career, how stomach-turning it must be to have these bigots judging you every day.

    Well said, Jim. Thanks for weighing in. -- LMA

    Posted by Jim June 9, 09 03:58 PM
  1. Probably not :(

    Posted by Maigan June 9, 09 04:08 PM
  1. Why are so many of you comfortable leaving your kids with anyone - male or female? Make sacrifices so that your kids can have a stay-at-home parent. Do the "heavy lifting" of parenting day in and day out, so that your kids are most affected by you, and not their day care provider. Please don't tell me how expensive it is in Boston, etc.... I used to live in the area. I moved. Primarily because my wife and I wanted to give our children a stay-at-home mom. Yes, that means no Saturday nights on Lansdowne St. But life is about sacrficed alternatives.

    Posted by Bill June 9, 09 05:46 PM
  1. bill, lots of mothers are happier and frankly better mothers if have outside interests, including working. not all people enjoy taking care of small children, even their own , 24/7 and fewer still will admit that.

    as for the male caregiver, I would personally never leave a small child with a non-family member in a day care or preschool setting with a male teacher, maybe if I was sure there was a lot of other teachers around watching. I question the motives of any male who wants to spend all of his time with young children. all those convicted pedophiles (and there are a lot of them around) , guess their occupations - youth church leader, sports coaches, etc.. you just can't risk your child.

    Posted by Laura June 9, 09 06:18 PM
  1. Even if you are a stay at home parent, unless you are homeschooling, your kid needs to learn how to be in a classroom, cooperate with other kids, listen to a teacher, follow directions, etc. I stayed at home with my kids, but I still sent them to 2-3 days of preschool for the two years before they started kindergarten. And they had a wonderful male preschool teacher. They have also had male baby sitters - horrors! Goodness knows how they have survived.

    I suppose you could make your life completely revolve around your kids to the point where they never, ever leave your sight until college. But that is unhealthy for you, your marriage, and your kids. You cannot bubble wrap them and expect them to magically develop self sufficiency at age 18.

    Posted by BMS June 9, 09 06:43 PM
  1. Strangers touching our bits is only wrong because society says it is wrong. As a child who was "touched" by strangers, related and not, male and female, I had no issue at the time, despite the fact that I had been educated by my parents to watch out for and tell them about such behavior. I still have no issue (and I am not sexually obsessed or any of that, apparently I just look friendly and easy for desperate men to target...and I don't enjoy it, but it isn't atrocious, and if it makes someone's day, well...). "Inappropriate touching" only becomes an issue when we think we have found the love of our life, and then the love of our life wants us to be his or hers and all his or hers...a function of our need for property rights.

    That's a pretty controversial statement, gmonkey1. Thank you for weighing in. -- LMA

    Posted by gmonkey1 June 9, 09 07:35 PM
  1. Take care of your OWN kids, or don't' have any.

    With all due respect, Shecky28, that's a pretty unrealistic statement. People, oftentimes women, have been taking care of other people's kids for generations. Just because caregiving had not been institutionalized to the same extent in the past doesn't mean that everyone took care of only their own kids 24/7. -- LMA

    Posted by Shecky28 June 9, 09 08:10 PM
  1. Absolutely. My sons have greatly benefited from both male caregivers and male teachers and male therapists. It has been my experience that males who are in these fields are generally compassionate and competent but they bring a different perspective or edge to their work. My husband and I are both very grateful for the work that they did with our sons. This kind of gender discrimination hurts children who may not be able to access the best care or person possible because we believe only a woman could do these jobs. We are lucky in that my son's preschool has been smart enough to hire men who provide the boys with great experiences and are great role models. Abusers can be of either sex and parents should always be vigilant.

    Posted by MROY June 9, 09 09:03 PM
  1. I think it's horrible that there's even a debate.

    This is the same kind of fear mongering that makes parents today too frightened to even let their kids play in their own yards, much less walk to school on their own.

    As a teacher I'm offended by the question. No one thinks twice about a female teacher working with boys who are being potty trained as if there's never been a case of documented female caregiver abuse. But a man???? He must be some kind of predator out to get the young children!!!!

    Puh-lease.

    All this debate does is illuminate your own prejudgices about gender stereotypes and those who step outside them. And what kind of role model does that makes you?

    And FWIW...I was abused by a female caregiver's husband, so if anyone has a right to be afraid of exposing little girls to adult male caregivers (which is what the debate is ACTUALLY about, let's not fool ourselves) it's me.

    Posted by C June 9, 09 10:29 PM
  1. As a male who was, for two years, on the track to becoming a pre-k/kindergarten teacher, some of these statements are absolutely mind-boggling.

    My girlfriend (yes, she's a girl, and yes, she's my age) was abused by her FEMALE nanny for TWO YEARS growing up. The lady hit her in the head with a coffee mug when she misbehaved.

    Anyone with sense in their head knows that news TV only reports bad news; controversial, sensationalist, tabloid news, written more for baseless emotional appeal and outrage than actual journalistic integrity. The images of men as abusive male caregivers are perpetuated time and again because they make money, not because they're any more or less common than any other kind of abuse. I'm sure many of you female posters know how bad high school can get for a girl. What makes you think that those of your gender that make high school so bad would be any better or more sensible with kids?

    Finding a good teacher is a hard thing to do in modern life, and I can tell you first hand that the women (and few men, none of whom were pedophiles) in the education dept. of my college were extremely excited to have me there. We need qualified professionals teaching our children, and we should not let gender bias scare men away from teaching any more than we should let it scare women away from any other profession. Heck, my favorite teacher in elementary school was a male, and he's still teaching there - no child abuse cases for 40 years now. He even asked me to go do my practicum with him!

    For those of you wondering, "well why aren't you going to be a teacher anymore," it's because I realized that it takes a very talented person to be a good teacher, and I didn't want to try to be a teacher knowing I'm not talented enough. There are enough mediocre teachers (most of them women, note) out there, and honestly, I think those are the ones you should be worrying about.

    Posted by Ryan M June 10, 09 04:10 AM
  1. As a child care toddler teacher and the mother of a young man who worked as a toddler teacher in his late teens, early twenties, I resent the fact that people would reject him out of hand. He is a loving, caring man and wonderful with children. Also, men bring a different energy to child care, that the kids thrive on. I have also seen some female teachers who can be abusive in much different ways than being spoken of here. And my son always felt that he had an extra burden of having to prove himself because of his gender---I know what that feels like, having come of age in the 60s when I felt the same thing. My generation of women worked hard to rid the world of unfair gender biases

    Posted by Robineva June 10, 09 05:54 AM
  1. I am not surprised at all about all these women fear of male caregivers. If you aren't ready to face a male caregiver in the future, don't have a child. For tthe parents whose children who were abused by Jim Conner, I fell sorry for them. He abused children not b/c he's a male, but rather b/c he's a child predator.
    I find it ridiculous when 2 individuals touching the children the same way when they change their diapers, one is considered as abused, the other is not. If I were to only allow males to be the caregivers, no doubt I will get alot of discrimination lawsuits. If parents want to only allow male relatives to take care of their chilren, think again. Most of the children actually were abused by someoen they know rather than strangers.

    Posted by Lee June 10, 09 07:48 AM
  1. are you kidding me - men here are outraged and insulted!
    Be apart of the solution and put your outrage to use - speak out privately and publicly against sexual violence, organize, encourage and educate boys and men to adopt positive models of masculinity, positively manage anger, conflicts, disappointment, low self esteem. As a man you have the opportunity to have a huge impact on reducing sexual violence against your wives, sons and daughters.

    Posted by Mina June 10, 09 09:44 AM
  1. This whole discussion is totally off base. I can understand concern about male teachers having too close of a relationship with female students 14 and up since post puberty females are sexually attractive to normal males. However, a only a very small fraction of the very small percentage of males perverted enough to be attracted to children would be attracted to toddlers. The fact that a few of these women are concerned about male pre-school teachers and not by male high school teachers is proof of world case contradiction in their logic. Note the vast majority of male teachers are no threat to high school students either,

    Posted by Robert June 10, 09 09:50 AM
  1. It amazes me that some women ever got married. How do you have a healthy relationship with your spouse if you constantly assume all adult men are child molester potential? My husband is an involved, active, loving father. Eeek! Call the authorities - he can only have alterior motives!

    And gmonkey1 - thank you. I have had unwanted sexual attention from a boyfriend in the past. While I did not enjoy it, neither did it traumatize me for life. Dumped boyfriend, moved on.

    Posted by BMS June 10, 09 10:46 AM
  1. To Laura #47: Most of those convicted pedophiles you speak of are not only men, but are White, Christian, and heterosexual. Do you know longer trust heterosexuals? Christians? You question the motives of any man who wants to spend time with young children. Do you question the motives of your father? He had a young child--you. Your husband? Doesn't he want to spend his time with his child(ren)? Why don't you question the motives of women? Your sexism is appalling.

    To Mina #56: One way for men to be part of the solution is for them to be really good role models to very young boys and girls. If we don't allow our children to interact with good male role models in day care, then our children will lose out. As a woman, you have the opportunity to teach your children thatall people should be judged on their characther and their actions. By perpetuating sexist ideas, you teach your children that it is okay to judge someone by some immutable characteristic.

    For all the women who have no problem with not trusting their children with qualified male caregivers, and cite statitistics to do so, are you also teaching your children to stay away from Blacks due to their high levels of incarceration? Are you teaching your children to stay away from Muslims and Arabs because of terrorism, are you teaching your children to stay away from Latinos because of the prevalence of undocumented people in this country? What other stereotypes do you perpetuate and rationalize as your "gut instinct" and in the name of child protection. Given that children are much more likely to be abused by a family member or someone they know are you preventing relationships with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblinggs, even you as the parent?

    Posted by MakeLoveNotWar June 10, 09 12:04 PM
  1. People have bought into the idea that anything is ok, as long as it is 'for the good of the children'. So even though the chance of something bad happening is minimal, nothing is too extreme if it will protect the children. This of course leads to young adults who can't negotiate college without holding Mommy's hand, or grown women with irrational fears of guys, or teenagers who rebel and lash out in risky behaviors becuase they have had every movement scripted, planned, and hovered over since birth. But that's ok - it's for their own good! /sarcasm off

    Posted by BMS June 10, 09 01:05 PM
  1. As a male caregiver in a daycare center I can relate to alot of the comments made. There are alot of parents that are very nervous when they come tour and see me in the classroom. Then after they enroll and get to know me they realize they had nothing to worry about. I have been a teacher now for 12 years and have gotten to know the families very well. I have been asked to babysit for thier children. We even get referrals because there is a male caregiver in the center. I feel the biggest reason you don't see more men in the field is because of the pay. You see more and more stay at home dads playing Mr. Mom. This is how I became involved in teaching. I started as a stay at home dad volunteering at my son's school and just fell in love with the idea of teaching the future of America. I could go on for days about this topic but just wanted to say thank you to all of you writing to support us male caregivers

    Posted by Bill June 11, 09 09:56 AM
  1. i agree with bill above. i am a working 24 year old male pre-school teacher myself having studied for a diploma in childcare and early years education graduating with the highest exam grade out of all candidates and the only male in 400 students graduated last year. having worked with children for 7 years. i say really enjoy my job, but it would not be without the support of the other women in my setting. with regards to the whole toilet training subject, i said from the first dayon the job in order to protect myself and the children and the parents know i will not change children or to put it bluntly wipe bums. a female is always within eyeshot/earshot to give me assistance. altho there have been plenty of children haing progressed through this room successfully with great personal hygiene. and it is possible to have a fun structured creative stimulating environment where the children feel safe and secure and parents feel happy to leave them in your care, i can wholwheartdly say there should be more male early years workers through qualifications and effective screening. i could go on for days telling you why. but what i will say due to the amount of divorces and single mothers dealing with rebelious children if there were more male influences at a younger stage there could be a more balance world and not so many f**ked up kids


    Posted by connor from ireland July 1, 09 08:36 PM
  1. Interestingly, in my experience, it's most often been the man that's had an issue with male babysitters. I think it's a primitive biological thing... they don't want other males near their family.

    Posted by Chris July 26, 09 06:14 AM
  1. This is not a philosophical debate people! It only takes one pedophile to ruin a child's stability for the rest of their lives. ONE...a single person. The record of the male gender has a higher rate of child molestation. It is only common sense that a parent would want to decrease the odds of their children being forever scarred. By the way, a healthy normal male under certain conditions could very well be a hop skip and jump away from that one brief disgusting encounter with a child. This is not rocket science. I refuse to walk blindly down the street just because it hurts other people's feelings.

    Posted by Lauren November 3, 09 11:16 PM
  1. This is not a philosophical debate people! It only takes one pedophile to ruin a child's stability for the rest of their lives. ONE...a single person. The record of the male gender has a higher rate of child molestation. It is only common sense that a parent would want to decrease the odds of their children being forever scarred. By the way, a healthy normal male under certain conditions could very well be a hop skip and jump away from that one brief disgusting encounter with a child. This is not rocket science. I refuse to walk blindly down the street just because it hurts other people's feelings.

    Posted by Lauren November 3, 09 11:16 PM
  1. I do not know where you people get the stats, but it is a fact that most commonly a family member is involved on child molestation than a stranger. Now, for me stats are just that. A stat can be raised as more people move forward saying "I have been molested". Female and Male are both humans capable of violence and horrible acts.
    First of all, if I am a parent I would not go to this website to check to whom I should trust my child, that is MY decision. Since you think that your child would be on a higher risk to be molested by a male potty trainer...then embrased yourself for high school in where there have been more cases of female school teachers involved with teenagers. So I hope to see all these parents saying how bad a male teacher could be in potty training...how the female teacher should do when your child is a teenager and can tell you to go to hell "I love my female teacher and she is pregnant too". This entire debate is just pure discrimination and sexism.
    For years women (obviously not many of those are in here), who are professional want a place in society to be respected and treated as equals with their men counterparts and here we are treating men like the evil seeds of society...which let me tell you...isn't that answer and put women at worst then? So in the most impotant stage of child development if it is solely control by females...then how men become the bad seeds? uhmmm this could be for another debate.
    I wonder how you can even look at your own husband, bf, uncle and male friends after say that basically they are born with a bad seed... I wonder how you explain sexual education to your teenagers...oh nevermind!

    Posted by Virginia November 7, 09 09:43 AM
  1. This is deplorable.

    We use sexist profiling to make all men guilty of pedophilia with no real chance to prove their innocence.

    How would you like it if you child was lost and abducted and 5 men came forward and said "Yes, I saw he was lost, but I was afraid of what people would think if I tried to help him"? Because that's how men have to think now to stay safe.

    I think that would change your tune REAL fast.

    Posted by Lasivian December 17, 09 03:05 AM
  1. No. Any parent who would leave their child alone unsupervised with an adult male who isn't the child's dad is insane. A female is far less likely to be a sexual predator. So its always better to choose a female over a male.

    Posted by student99 December 28, 09 06:56 PM
  1. In my opinion, what in the bad word is so sexually attractive about a child? thats paranoia to the max, if you look at a child your gut instincts say innocent, no one in their right mind should think their kids are sexually attractive, and if they do they should see a therapist. The question is, do you feel safe in society leaving your child with a stranger? If its with a male, people are going to assume sexual abuse, which is insane, and if its with a woman, is my child going to be ok? If someone was giving me dirty looks at the playground, i would think to myself, this lady is a psycho freak who thinks her 7 year old is sexually appealing, if there are men who have no reason to do those things other then being disgusting, then they be should looked down on, but i dont think anyone in their right mind should think of children and assume sex

    Posted by Cillian January 27, 10 01:14 AM
  1. No, I would never leave my potty training daughters or sons in a daycare with male teachers. I'm sure that there are many wonderful male teachers out there, but I absolutely will not take the chance. That's not to say that I don't think that women daycare teachers would sexually abuse a child, but statistically, most child molesters are committed by males. That is what I'm comfortable with for my children.

    Posted by Janine February 1, 10 03:48 AM
  1. I had a male caregiver work for me, he was absolutely great with my daughters and they called him grandpa. Appearantly he had committed some felonies 10 year before that time and the cops came and picked him up. We were all astonished. Then we found out it was nothing sexual, he just robbed a few banks when he was down on his luck. According to the cops who arrested him he did not even use a gun, just went in with a letter telling them he was robbing the bank and to put the money on the counter. then he took the money anre ran. I reckony yu can never tell about people. I know we done a background checkand evrything and nothing showed up at the ime.

    Posted by OJS April 22, 10 06:22 AM
  1. I am a 16 year old teenage male and I am very offended by some of the things people are saying, and in the article, I volunteer at a local daycare center in my town because I love children and enjoy spending time at the daycare. I am just as capable as a female in caring for children, and any other male is too.

    Posted by Nicolas October 10, 12 10:26 AM
  1. When a person has been sexually abused as a child (by a man or a woman) it creates trust issues and hyper-vigilance. Unfortunately there is no big x on the forehead of a person who abuses children. Without real red flags there is just no way to KNOW who is safe and who is not. So, my feeling being "over-protective" is better than just choosing to trust people, Neither is a great solution but I would rather err on the side of caution and possibly hurt the feelings of a well meaning adult than set a child up for abuse. Bottom line - keep your eyes open.

    Posted by K July 18, 13 02:05 PM
  1. Having had a male teacher often chase me and my girlfriend around the classroom when we were in primary school trying to lift up our skirts when we were alone, I would say no. My best friend also had experiences of her male primary school teacher often dropping his pen or piece of chalk on the floor of the feet of some girl in the classroom. When he bent down to pick up the pen or chalk he would always look up the girl's skirt. A male friend said he often got felt up by his male teacher at his Catholic school. My husband's ex girlfriend was forced to perform sexual acts on her teenage male neighbours when she was a child. What I am trying to say here is that I don't have to look very far to find examples of sexual abuse my males. It actually seems almost commonplace. So the answer is no.

    Posted by May September 15, 13 08:06 AM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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