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Males Around Young Children

Stegosaurus

Registered Member
Until I start student-teaching this September through December to find work at an elementary school, my summer position is at an early childcare center. I'm with kindergarten kids at the moment, (but will be doing the summer camp with older kids)--have been for three weeks--but I'm what they call a "floater" (laugh it up now) and can be sent to other rooms to make sure there are enough teachers per students ("ratio" they call it). I took the job because it's good experience and decent pay (a lot better than my landscaping job with the polyester long pants and shirt in the middle of the summer). That, and it's really quite rewarding to teach a kid to read. It may sound lame to you, but I swear that if you haven't done it you have no idea the euphoric rush of "Holy shit...I'm helping make this kid literate" you're missing. It's nice to work with them and see genuine smiles at a job, for once. It's a rather large center, very "modern" looking, caters to the Bank of America employees on the property, and is rather progressive in its instruction of children.

Out of roughly 60 "teacher" employees, there are two males--I'm the third. Out of SIXTY. Of course I don't expect it to be 50/50, let's be honest.

Here are the fine details:

-This center does not like males in the infant room--I'm not allowed to work in there. Or rather, neither I nor the other males are ever "scheduled" to work in there--never. My immediate director told me so. Some of the management just doesn't want to deal with the "uncomfortable publicity" as they work hard to market and sell their services to parents.
-When I'm sent to the pre-school wing, the rules state that for as young as toddlers to just before kindergarten we're forced to monitor (i.e. WATCH) the kids in the bathroom to make sure they don't get hurt or make a mess--that's both boys and girls. Some of the parents have not had a non-family male around their child like that. I've already had very "uncomfortable" looks even in the kindergarten room just doing writing exercises or even guiding their game-playing.

But I had a mother the other day look visibly horrified at me standing (rank-and-file-style, arms behind my back, legs straight, looking ahead) next to the kids' open communal toilets (slightly obscured in a hideaway corner). Roughly 65% of the parents I meet inquire (with quite obvious tonality, at that) as to why I'm working there. "So, are you just here for the summer?--Are you in school?--Why do you want to work with kids? Did you choose to work with the kindergarteners? Do they ever send you to the younger kids to work?" They're intrigued, and I understand that--I'm very sensitive to this. But there has been an enormous amount of awkwardness, and the newer girls aren't grilled by the parents the same way.

Question: Parent or non-parent, how does this honestly make you feel? Do you think it's "silly," unfair, or even discriminatory to keep males out of the infant room? Do you sympathize with the parents who are uncomfortable? Do you think it's "not right" to have a male in the very young rooms, monitoring the bathroom? Etc...

I'm very curious as to what you folks feel.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
Both cultural and factual basis are at play here.

The overwhelming majority of rapists and sexual assailants are men. Over 90% I know for sure but I can't find the exact source I read last year. Because of this, the public treatment of men has undergone a serious transformation these past 20 years mainly thanks to the heavy and more concentrated flow of information (yes, heavy flow, lol it up). However, treating all men as predators is obviously not the way to handle this problem.

Then you have to look at it from the parents perspectives.

No one is blindsided by such incredible quantities of horror stories, warnings and threats of terrifyingly awful death and trauma than parents. The news media atmosphere is never short on stories of child death, abuse and other such atrocities. This I think explains a majority of the reasons some parents are going to be very uncomfortable with your presence around their kids. Take a simple statement:

"I love kids!"

Women can say it, how about men? Probably not in public unless you say it quietly to a group of friends or else others are probably going to think you're a pedophile.

If I was a father, I admittedly would be weirded out. Then again, I would be too if it was a woman watching my kid drain the lizard. However, I'd probably never send my kid to school that early anyways. I'd rather be there to teach them those things and get them ready for the world and how to act in it.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
As a parent of young kids, I would support a business that followed those guidelines and would never send my kids to a childcare center that had a man unattended with children. There's just a huge creepiness factor about a guy that would choose to be a low paying child-care worker.
btw-I in no way feel the same about male teachers, that's a completely different story.
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
I can understand them not scheduling males in the infant room. Most dads don't know jack shit about taking care of their own kids, so I can see why they'd be leery of having a male take care of infants.

As far as the other stuff, it is pretty unusual to find a male in a day care center, but it wouldn't horrify me. However, keep in mind that a lot of younger kids, especially girls, are more shy when they're dealing with adult males except for their dads. My own daughter was terrified of my male cousin for a long time, and she's still not entirely comfortable with my brother. The bathroom stuff wouldn't bother me, but I'd want my daughter to be comfortable at her day care and not scared of any of the staff.
 

Wade8813

Registered Member
At the church I used to go to, it became a rule that men wouldn't be scheduled for nursery duty so that a mom could breastfeed at any time and be away from any males. I don't know if that's ever an issue where you work.

I'd be slightly weirded out by anybody supervising a bunch of kids going to the bathroom.

My experience has been that it's quite common to receive questions like you do about how long I've been there, if it's just for the summer, whether I'm in school or not, etc. Of course, I get it most when in Army uniform, so maybe it's a common reaction to anyone our age doing a job that most people wouldn't think of as a guys' normal career. I got it when working at Sears as well, but a bit less frequently.
 
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Stegosaurus

Registered Member
No one is blindsided by such incredible quantities of horror stories, warnings and threats of terrifyingly awful death and trauma than parents. The news media atmosphere is never short on stories of child death, abuse and other such atrocities. This I think explains a majority of the reasons some parents are going to be very uncomfortable with your presence around their kids
If I was a father, I admittedly would be weirded out. Then again, I would be too if it was a woman watching my kid drain the lizard. However, I'd probably never send my kid to school that early anyways. I'd rather be there to teach them those things and get them ready for the world and how to act in it.
Very true. The parents like the center to begin with because the background checks, fingerprinting, hiring process in general is arduous for employees. And I agree with you about keeping kids home that early on in life. Some of the mothers literally pop their kids out and have them in the infant wing of the center three weeks later. Wow. Just, wow.

There's just a huge creepiness factor about a guy that would choose to be a low paying child-care worker.
btw-I in no way feel the same about male teachers, that's a completely different story.
That’s totally understandable to feel the creepy factor initially. The low pay factor always got me, though—considering I can think of way worse jobs for the same pay. Here, both males are full-time. They make decent money, get amazing healthcare benefits, and ample support.

The bathroom stuff wouldn't bother me, but I'd want my daughter to be comfortable at her day care and not scared of any of the staff.
I think that’s the pinpoint right there—“Is the job getting done the right way?” would be my question. i.e., “is my kid comfortable?” Some of the girls are totally comfortable with me. One pre-kindergarten girl yesterday asked me to button her fly. It may honestly come down to each individual employee’s disposition. Kids seem to be cool with me.


At the church I used to go to, it became a rule that men wouldn't be scheduled for nursery duty so that a mom could breastfeed at any time and be away from any males. I don't know if that's ever an issue where you work.
There is actually a “lactation” room, funny enough. They warned me on day number one that if I had to go in there for any reason, to…how did they say it…well, they didn’t :lol:. A lot of the time, no one finishes their damn sentences the right way. They just nod and gesture, saying, “Well, you know…”
---------------
Overall, I’m neither surprised nor offended, really, by the parents—just inconvenienced. I fully expected to encounter some awkwardness, but not as much as I’ve seen already.

Thanks for your viewpoints thus far.
 
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BrinkOfExistence

Registered Member
I'd be slightly weirded out by anybody supervising a bunch of kids going to the bathroom.

.
yeah but it's necessary for health and safty, you'd be upset if your child hurt themselves, which could have been prevented had they been supervised.

I have kids and i've never met a man who looks after infants i would feel uncomfortable about it, as a man i imagine you'd have to go through alot and be constantly frowned upon while working, i think someone mentioned above what kind of man would go through all that just to baby sit a bunch of infants. it's sad that it's come to this and that men who look after children are harshly judged, but it's for the safety of the children.
 
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stripes

Registered Member
If I were a parent, I'd be annoyed to hear that a male COULDN'T supervise my child alone. I really see no difference at all in the average male or female providing the supervision, and I'm not one to judge based on someone's sex or gender.

Fortunately, those children are probably too young to notice the discrimination going on - otherwise, what does that tell them? That males can be a risk - thus continuing this ridiculous cycle of 'men can't work with children' in future.

I'd be a bit creeped out by anyone watching my child on the toilet, I'll be honest, but that's about it. I'd rather someone stood outside the door. I work with kids myself and have had to help other people's sons and daughters on the toilet before, and it's a very comfortable experience when I do, because I wouldn't want someone else watching over MY child. I'm female, but constantly aware of the boundaries and careful around the young people I work with, because ANY of us could get judged. Touch a child in the wrong place (and I don't mean the 'wrong place' - even a ruffle of the hair might be taken the wrong way by some parents) and you're at risk of appearing to cause harm.
 
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Carter

New Member
I have a male friend who works in a nursery, I don't find it weird. If anything I find a lot of this lack of trust in males displayed in this thread derogatory, jeez since when did all men suddenly become heightened risk enough to weird people out.

This story comes to mind where it is a woman child abuse ring run from a nursery.
wikipedia.org - 2009 Plymouth child abuse case

In the article it says 1 in 5 abusers are female, perhaps the stereotype that it is the men are the risk is causing abuse to go unseen as people look the wrong way.
 
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