The state’s intervention into everyday life can be worrisome, whether it’s a new tax policy, a new environmental regulation, or more government surveillance. But it’s something people can usually live with. But in her new book, No Child Left Alone, Abby W. Schachter delves into how the federal government has been meddling in the bedrock of human society: the family.
Whether it’s letting your child stay home, packing your child’s lunch, or sending your child to daycare, the federal government wants control. Schachter discusses how the state’s involvement has impacted the mental and physical development of children as well as how it strips away the rights of the parents to raise their children as they see fit.
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A mother of four, Schachter speaks from personal experience as to how involved the state is in raising her own children. She discusses how other parents, who have done nothing other than raise their children in a manner in which the state does not approve, have been arrested, put on probation, or had their children taken away. Choosing to let eight-year-olds play at a playground by themselves or walk a few blocks to a friend’s house used to be socially acceptable; however, Schachter details how doing so recently has landed parents in jail.
Teaching children responsibility is instrumental to brain development, she points out. Without it, children become overly dependent. In addition to economic factors, this has driven significant numbers of millennials to stay home. But even when they do branch out and venture off to college, the culture of dependency stays with them and they demand things such as "safe spaces." Yet parents become afraid of getting arrested or being shamed as bad parents if they allow a miniscule amount of independence.
Parents can also get arrested for children becoming obese. Schachter writes that the state has decided to treat morbid obesity as a form of neglect, even if there is no proof that the parents are at fault. She goes into detail about instances in which children have been taken away from their parents for obesity, and the foster care system did not make them any better.
The book documents how, at daycares and schools, the federal government has put in regulations that infringe on the rights of parents. Schools have been forced to respect very specific dietary guidelines—if a parent packs a lunch for a student that does not fit the guidelines, the school can strip them of the lunch and force them to take the school meal instead. Due to regulations, Schachter writes that her daughter was not allowed to take home her leftover food from daycare. She had to eat them or throw them away.
Apart from dietary issues, daycares are increasingly not allowed to swaddle babies, due to the possibility of danger—even though there were no reported instances of swaddling leading to any harm to babies at daycares. Regulations have also led to policies like removing concrete on playgrounds or banning dodge ball. Schachter points out that the rules seem aimed at banning everything in the hope of making everything perfectly safe. But sometimes getting hurt a little—like a bruise or a knee scrape—can also help children learn responsibility and safety.
Schachter calls for more parents to take a stand, and her book gives many compelling examples of when the state has gone too far. Readers will be shocked and disturbed at how involved the government has become in trying to take over the job of child-rearing. Every parent—or expecting parent—should read this book to see what they are up against.