What Kids (Really) Need

Here's a question to drop in the center of the breakfast table and break in two: What if day care makes our children smarter--and meaner?

It is the season again for working parents to brace themselves and shudder as the latest study on child care lands in the headlines to stoke their quiet fears. But not just theirs. Last week's survey, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the largest ever on the subject, had something awful for just about everyone.

The more hours children spend away from their mothers, researchers concluded, the more likely they are to be defiant,...

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