Carolyn Hax discusses hyper-critical and nervous parents who feel increased pressure to better equip their children for their future. (WashingtonPostLive Production/Washington Post Live)

Carolyn Hax

Columnist, The Washington Post

The people without kids — and this seems to be common in this country — they sort of look at the kid world like this: I don’t want to sit next to a baby on a plane. I don’t want to be near them in a restaurant. Why can’t people take care of their monsters? I don’t want my property taxes to go up to pay for schools; I don’t have any kids. That was my choice. You chose to have kids; you pay for them.

There’s not this ingrained American cultural understanding that the welfare of our kids is our own welfare. That you — the childless person who wants your property taxes low and the rugrats out of the restaurants — that someday you’re going to be old, and your gerontologist is going to be one of those kids or the one changing your bedpan. You want well-raised kids. You want societally supportive kids.

Having federal standards, nationalized standards, and a sliding scale for fees [for day care] seems like such a simple thing. [Quality day care is a common concern for so many parents], from the people barely getting food on the table to the people trying to optimize their little MIT student. I think the way to reach everybody is to have some basic services that are available to all for scaled cost. The idea is in­cred­ibly simple. And a lot of other countries have come up with some version of this, and we just can’t agree.

For Carolyn Hax’s bio, click here.