Letter: The nuclear family just cannot cope

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The Independent Online
Sir: If having mothers that work causes children "emotional harm", making them "insecure" and "aggressive", as Dr Butler claims (letter, 28 October), the French must be totally screwed up. The vast majority of mothers in France work, and this has always been the case.

Instead of hoping mothers would stay at home, the French state has sensibly faced up to the reality that most mothers won't and probably cannot afford to, and there is accordingly an excellent system of child care here.

Creches are run and staffed by fully trained, full-time nursery nurses; parents receive allowances and tax relief to help meet the cost of child care, and from age three onwards most children go to a state-run nursery school, which is entirely free.

At the creche my two children go to, all the children have working mums and I've never noticed any particularly aggressive behaviour among toddlers. The question of whether or not mothers should work is rarely raised in France: it simply isn't an issue.

NIKKI FRANSeS-JONES

Paris

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