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Views of Participants

III. Participant's Views on Panel Discussion "The Child Care Paradox: Choices in Children's Development"

2. Thoughts and Opinions on the Panel Discussion or on the Symposium by participants in their
20's 30's 40's 50's 50's

Participants in their 20's

Kindergarten Teacher (Female)
In times where values are becoming diverse, there are many ways people look at working women. For this reason I feel that many women have a lot on their minds, but I do not feel that it is a problem of whether or not women work. I think that it is a problem of if they can proudly say how much love they feel and how confident they are in raising their children, or how much cooperation they are getting from their families. There are many kinds of women and various situations, but feeling it is hard being a woman because there are people who criticize all this is not true at all. I feel that for the children, mothers are irreplaceable. Sure, self expression at work or in other fields is great, but giving birth to a baby is also a great experience and self expression.

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Participants in their 30's

Graduate student (Female)
Dr. Friedman's research was on when child care center is used as a tool when raising infants, how does this effect the quality, the children's development and parent-child relationships, and not a research that tries to come up with a conclusion on whether it is better for children to be raised by their mothers or at child care centers. However, it was unfortunate that a lot of the precious time was spent on questions that seemed to be based on the idea "it is best if mothers raised their own children" instead of the goal of the research itself.

Doctor (Female)
I was convinced after listening to the presentation based on Dr. Friedman's data. However, there may be cases where the conclusion that was obtained here to be hastily connected with the ideas that there is no need for mothers to care for their infants and the denial of the 3 year old myth. I felt that we should be aware of the fact that the essential part of Dr. Friedman's research conclusion was that the most important factor for the infants to develop is the characteristics of the child care provider and family (the sensitivity of the mother). I had the opportunity to ask her about future studies during the lunch talk because the formation of one's personality and the establishment of identity, social adaptability, and parent-child relationship all develop and are related from pre-adolescence~adolescence~youth (18 years of age). She mentioned that as long as she was able to get the budget, she would like to carry out follow up researches until the age of 18. I felt that the biggest difference between Dr. Friedman and the other panelists is that she has an outstanding sense of balance between rational, essential thoughts on child care and risk and necessity. I was impressed by the answer "the flow of the times for women to work is necessary and I will pursue good child care conditions" she gave when a question was raised from one of the participants.

On the other hand, Dr. Matsumoto is a pediatrician, so he can be called a professional that works for children. His value is more towards what the parents and countries can do in order to prepare conditions for better development and health for the children, and he also presented from this viewpoint. Dr. Matsumoto's conclusion was that his presentation may have made mothers who work while putting their children in child care centers a bit troubled, but that it was necessary for them to be aware that this kind of a health risk does exist. There were some parts that confused some of the participants who heard the presentations by Dr. Friedman and Dr. Matsumoto. I felt that it would have been better if the moderator could have commented on the difference of the standpoints of the two speakers.

Professor Imai's presentation had detailed examples on good quality child care and could feel hope. I felt concerned that the presentation emphasized the feeling of almightiness of child care by groups will save mothers and children who have problems instead of giving persuasive explanations on the essence of mothers with low sensitivity. It would be nice if talented child care providers could be good influence towards the mothers all across Japan.

I felt impact towards Professor Uchida's presentation since she showed that attachment is the internal working model of the human development through extreme models of abuse. She also indicated the conclusion that there is no problem if there is attachment established between the children and another individual, even if it is not their mothers. However, when she presented the restoration of rights of the mothers in her final proposal, I felt that something was missing in the presentation as a whole.

On the future child care, I felt that it is not possible to carry out the conclusion that we should prepare the foundation of society (child care centers and law) since the working mothers and mothers who want to work are worried most on infant child care. The loss of family ties, motherhood, fatherhood is being pointed out in Japan, and I feel that these problems cannot be solved just by preparing the social foundation. Also, the psychological problems of children who refuses to go to school, the atrocious crimes that are committed, and the decline of morale will probably not be improved. I felt that the mothers in Japan may be feeling that raising their children as a full-time mother equals to the idea that they are worried about being left behind society and that it is something that works against them. Dr. Friedman pointed out that the motivation towards working is interrelated with the sensitivity of the mothers. However, I feel that this point is still immature. (I think there is a big difference between the working mothers of the United States and Japan in the sense of self-realization and taking their jobs seriously). Also the evaluation and opportunities between male and female are still not equal and it is a vicious cycle. I wonder it the females of today can be proud that they were the ones who chose to work or not work, to have children and raise them. I would like for them to stop the dichotomy of full-time mothers and working mothers and try to have more conscience on their lifestyles that includes their partners and children and on self-realization. Regarding the social foundation, I would like for the support system towards the children to be prepared so that institutions or professionals such as counselors or pediatric psychology that deals with psychological problems of the children be increased and to make it possible for them to intervene into families that are having problems with abuse and into schools with bullying problems

Company Employee (Female)
I would like to comment on the point of changing the structure of the society. Even as a working mother, I cannot agree with prolonged child care or child care when mothers are sick. Isn't changing the way of a company-based society the real support for child care that stands in the shoes of the children? As a company worker myself, today was a very meaningful day in the sense that I was able to receive data, information and the opinions of the doctors that I normally would not know about. In order for us to know what kind of support is needed for child care, it is necessary for us to understand the negative factors of the child care centers, and I felt that I learned a great deal in this sense as well. Also, I was able to hear the concerns towards infant child care. It would be nice if there were sessions that we could hear the opinions and documents of the pediatricians,

Office Worker (Female)
I was disappointed that we were unable to hear the opinions of the mothers who are raising their children. I felt that the presentations of the panelists were all very idealistic, but it will take much more time to be realized and that the social system is not complete. In reality, families may be on the waiting list to enter a child care center and there are many problems that are pressing for the mothers such as "what if I don't get out of work in time to pick up my children," "what do I do if I get sick?" I truly hope that what was discussed here today will be developed in the future.

Freelance writer (Female)
I enjoyed the heated discussion during the second half of the panel discussion. The theory that the appropriate age for the children to enroll into child care centers is from 2 years of age was a very new idea for me, and felt that if the mothers can relate to others at the time when they fear the 2 year olds, there will not be as many problems.

Part-time worker(Female)
I was surprised that someone asked the question of when the best age would be for children to enter a child care center in this symposium where it stated that there were no problems in early child care. I wonder if it is common for people to bring together crimes committed by children to early child care? I do not agree to the practice of making mothers stay home and raise their children without really understanding the feelings of the mothers

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Participants in their 40's

Kindergarten teacher (Female)
I was able to realize how important the quality of child care by the mothers is for the child, and how this actually influences building up the child's characteristic. I think if child care was provided 100% by people other than the families of the child, the world would definitely fall out of order. I feel it is necessary for high quality child care institutions to be available for mothers who need to work. However, I do not agree to the idea that they should work, work, and work. Child care centers are indispensable for working mothers, but I think that mothers should try to raise their children during the most difficult time of child rearing as much as possible. However, I do agree to supporting and relieving the uneasiness of the mothers at this difficult age. The center of attention should be the mothers and families.

Nurse (Female)
It felt as if a great index was indicated regarding what kind of role the child care at the centers should play for child rearing and how the support should be for mothers and children who are yet to enroll in their local child care centers.

Nurse (Female)
It felt as if a great index was indicated regarding what kind of role the child care at the centers should play for child rearing and how the support should be for mothers and children who are yet to enroll in their local child care centers.

Civil Servant (Female)
I would have liked to hear more about how infant child care should be. It seems as if many doctors acknowledge the idea that infants should be raised at home, but I think that the majority of the high school students that are causing problems today were raised at home. I would like to have the doctors show reliable data if they are pointing out this problem. It could be that the problem lies in the fact that the children are raised in a mother-child environment.
These days, I feel that support for full time mothers are just as important as support for working mothers when considering the negative factors such as housewives tending to fall towards abuse and the fact that they put great effort in "debuting at parks" --going to the parks for the first time and meeting other mothers and children. Taking advantage of high quality child care can have positive influence on the child and mothers.

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Participants in their 50's

Kindergarten Director (Female)
It would have been nice if the panelists discussed further on what kinds of members could think about how the contents of child care could be thought deeper in order for the support of child rearing to progress. Also, I wanted to discuss on the improvement of the labor conditions of the child care providers

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Participants in their 60's

Doctor (Male)
I feel that the top priority is to improve the quality of the child care providers. I know that we cannot always evaluate with the deviation valueAbut I feel that it is too low at the moment. Of course there are excellent child care providers, but there are many that I do not feel comfortable with. However, I feel that having a warm heart is more important than knowledge. I thought what I learned here today will be useful for the training for the pediatricians, child care providers and health nurses in other parts of Japan. Japan will not get better if things only get better in Tokyo. It is important that we raise the quality throughout Japan.

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