Do nannies create boys that cheat later?

Time Magazine recently wrote about a doctor in England who believes that boys who have nannies are more likely to cheat on their wives later.

Here is an excerpt explaining from Time.com:

“Mothers who outsource the care of their sons to other women may be inadvertently raising adulterers. Or so claims Dr. Dennis Friedman in a book that has kicked up a bit of a ruckus in Britain. A Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the doctor argues that men become womanizers because their mothers left them with nannies.”

“According to Friedman, having two women care for a baby boy may cause his little brain to internalize the idea that there are multiple females to meet his needs. “It introduces him to the concept of the other woman,” he said in London’s Daily Telegraph. He explicates the relationship in his book The Unsolicited Gift: Why We Do The Things We Do, which explores how a mother’s love for her offspring can determine how those children behave as adults.”

Friedman recommends that women don’t work and if they must work they wait until the baby is at least one years old.

Many critics aren’t buying it.

“It also doesn’t make developmental sense, says Dr. Jean Mercer, professor emerita of Psychology at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, who specializes in infant development. ‘Babies don’t form attachments solely to their mothers — they become attached also to fathers, grandparents, nannies, child-care providers, older brothers and sisters, or anyone else who interacts with them socially and frequently participates in care routines like feeding and bathing.’ These relationships are healthy and part of normal development. And becoming attached to a nanny doesn’t equal becoming detached from a mother, or that the two are interchangeable. “A nanny or other person is added to the existing relationships most babies have.”

Most of the comments on the story think it’s untrue. Check out the whole article and the comments here.

So what do you think: Do nannies inadvertently create cheaters later on? Do you buy into his theory or think the critics’ theory makes more sense?

Do you use a nanny? Will this article make you think twice about it?

Did you personally have a nanny and are you a cheater now?

104 comments Add your comment

JJ

March 29th, 2010
10:34 am

OMG we waited 4 days for this??????

DB

March 29th, 2010
10:39 am

Oh, my . . . I have no opinion as to whether or not this is true or not, but it is certainly an interesting theory!

The thought I had when I read the critics rebuttal was that yes, babies form attachments to lots of people growing up. However, I wonder if Friendman did any subsidiary research into the quality of the child’s relationship with their mother. In a strictly casual observation, it would not seem unreasonable that Friedman’s theory may have some basis IF a mother is already emotionally distant and turns over not only physical but emotional care to a nanny.

The problem is quantifying adultery and cheating and trying to tie it to early childhood experiences — trying to accurately get a picture of someone’s cheating has always been a problem, since it is self-reported.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 29th, 2010
10:40 am

It hasn’t been 4 days — breast cancer was on Friday — so it sat. sun — two days!!!

Jeff

March 29th, 2010
10:41 am

LOL. Welcome back TWG. I don’t think nannies create cheaters in men any more than they turn girls into high-maintenance, gold-digging women. But it makes for a good conversation.

Becky

March 29th, 2010
10:44 am

LIke Jeff, this will maek for a great blog today..Women have had babysitters for a long time, so no, I don’t think that it will make cheaters out of men..

Bubba

March 29th, 2010
10:44 am

Well, my old daddy didn’t have a nanny when he was a kid, and it didn’t stop him from tom cattin’ around as long as he was able.

fred

March 29th, 2010
10:45 am

If nannies created cheaters, then so would care by sisters, aunts and grandmothers. what a load of hogwash.

cuthersomeslck

March 29th, 2010
10:45 am

cut her slack, it totally takes likes 15 minutes to google, cut and paste something, and the view is about to come on.

Aquagirl

March 29th, 2010
10:45 am

Another attempt by a man to blame their cheating on women. What a surprise.

Monroe Burbank

March 29th, 2010
10:45 am

I would think this problem would be evident in the male long before he gets married. Cheating on girlfriends or fiancees, for instance. Also, gotta love the use of the word “outsource” here.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 29th, 2010
10:49 am

Aqua girl – that was one of the complaints that is pushes the problem back onto women and not on the men who do the cheating — seriously check out the comment on the site — people were not buying this guy’s theory at all!

???

March 29th, 2010
10:53 am

What about women who cheat??? Was their nanny a man?

DB

March 29th, 2010
10:53 am

I read the initial study and thought there was a difference between a “nanny” and a “babysitter.” A true English nanny is a very different from a casual babysitter, and generally has far more responsibility for a child than a babysitter. A babysitter is usually considered temporary childcare for when the mother is busy. An English nanny, on the other hand, tends to be more a part of the family and have far more hands-on time with a child that goes from waking up to bedtime than a babysitter. It may be useful to determine what, exactly, Friendman means when he refers to a “nanny.”

What I’d be more interested in is seeing how much adultery/cheating comes about because a son sees his father engaging in such behavior and comes to feel that it is acceptable.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 29th, 2010
10:55 am

??? — having a nanny for girl also gives her issues that the article says

“Not having her mother around creates in the infant female a “vacuum of need,” says Friedman, which she might try to fill in later life with substance abuse or promiscuity — presumably with those married men in her social circle who were also raised by nannies.”

so not good for her either according to this guy.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1975371,00.html#ixzz0jZsFlg67

The G-man

March 29th, 2010
10:55 am

Okay AJC: Are you all going to run some actual news today? So far, the T-Mobile story is the only somewhat important event of this morning.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 29th, 2010
10:56 am

DB — I started but haven’t gotten very far into a book about Princess Di (The Queen and Di by Ingrid Seward) and in the beginning of the book it talks about how much Di resented that nanny that Charles used because she felt like she was way too important in the boys’ lives. She talked about an incident where I think William chose the nanny to visit his school instead of Di on like a parent day and Di was just crushed!!!!! As any mother would be.

Van Jones

March 29th, 2010
10:57 am

I wonder how a wet nurse would figure into this.

Jeff

March 29th, 2010
10:58 am

DB, you are exactly right, and given that fathers are less and less involved (through divorce, never marry, etc), I’d like to see how many cheaters come from an absent father environment.

I’d also like to see how the statistics have changed (increased)over the lasst 30 years for females who cheat. I’ve personally had DOZENS of married women, um, make their intentions clear.

Curious George

March 29th, 2010
11:05 am

Does this mean that “Adam & Steve” raising a girl together would create another Madonna/Paris Hilton-type adult female?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 29th, 2010
11:05 am

Van — holy cow — I can’ t even imagine the problems with that puppy!!

Cedric E Arle

March 29th, 2010
11:14 am

No. People become cheaters because of character flaw and/or because their significant other is not significant enough.

Elliot Garcia

March 29th, 2010
11:15 am

You can blame both the man and the woman for cheating….

GeekGirl

March 29th, 2010
11:18 am

Historically, children were not raised in our neat little nuclear families, but in large extended families. This is still true in many cultures. Even back in my parents’ generation here in the South, all the aunties and uncles were around, providing extra parenting. So effectively most kids had multiple adult role models. This was economically and socially much better for children than the isolated nuclear family. The extended family is also a protection against neglect and abuse. So if you apply the historic perspective, this “research” does not hold water.

Lurking&Smirking

March 29th, 2010
11:25 am

It can’t be true. Those cheating politicians, sports figures, and clergy saying they were raised middle-class or dirt poor couldn’t have ALL had nannies.

jbgotcha

March 29th, 2010
11:32 am

How can anyone “create” a cheater? It’s a choice.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael A. Giarrusso. Michael A. Giarrusso said: RT @AJCMOMania: Do nannies create boys that cheat later? http://bit.ly/d60wSv [...]

Tolerant

March 29th, 2010
11:33 am

I was assuming the study / article was detailing dads who were fooling around with the nanny due to the easy availablity of a young woman in the house, so I’ve got nothing

lead balloon

March 29th, 2010
11:37 am

Nature creates boys who later cheat.

Men who cheat are simply too weak and give into their very natural desires. They are hard wired to desire to spread their seed far and wide. They must fight back this natural desire in order to properly fit into society.

This is not asking too much. Naturally, if we saw someone with something we wanted and they were smaller than us, we would simply take it. However, we are purposely supressing nature in order to form a society. Conscious over subconscious.

Nothing turns a man off more than a woman he has already slept with.

Only if the nanny...

March 29th, 2010
11:37 am

…looked like Elin…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 29th, 2010
11:38 am

tolerant — that’s a whole different study — I think that depends on how cute you nanny is -

Gee, lead balloon...

March 29th, 2010
11:40 am

…bitter are we? But, in case you did not know, women cheat just as much and as often as men – so what turns a woman off more? Oh yeah, most already turned off the spigot when they said “I won’t” when saying I do…

TechMom

March 29th, 2010
11:44 am

@Tolerant, that was the same thought I had when I saw the title (How many husbands are cheating on their wives with the nanny?)

While I don’t think having a nanny causes men to be cheaters, I think it raises them to value motherhood in a different manner. If you were essentially raised by a woman other than your mother, how would you value your mother? How would you view her as a wife to your father? I think it distorts what one *thinks* a mother should do or be.

If we look at the type of families that have a nanny like the English do in this survey, then why wouldn’t we come to the conclusion that well-to-do families (they are presumably well off if they can afford a nanny, right?) are more likely to produce children that do not value monogamous marriages? And what is the percentage of these families have a husband and wife who are committed to each other and monogamous? I would venture to guess it’s more likely that these children are simply doing what their parents did.

Lee

March 29th, 2010
11:52 am

Too funny…now another to way to cheat; I had a nanny therefore, I cheat. I guess having a nanny eradicate the word “no”, out of your vocuabulary…..and morals and values out of your conscious and your subconscious.

I needed a good laugh, Thanks!

Tiffany

March 29th, 2010
12:19 pm

This is a funny article. I am a female and a nanny. None of the little boys I have nannied for are cheaters. They are smart and responsible adults. Its funny it seems that a man wrote the article and wants to blame someone for his cheating ventures.

Roaming Gnome

March 29th, 2010
12:21 pm

TWG, I guess he wont admit then about the whole priest thing then huh?? :)

Steve

March 29th, 2010
12:22 pm

I think a spouse who is thinking of cheating, can always come up with a way to justify it in their mind (at least temporarily).

Roaming Gnome

March 29th, 2010
12:29 pm

Cedric, your below comment is way off base.. its because the cheater is a jack ass.. There is no reason for the cheated to feel guilty…. She / He should have never been treated this way…..

Cedric E Arle

March 29th, 2010
11:14 am

No. People become cheaters because of character flaw and/or because their significant other is not significant enough.

Ben Derova da Sofa

March 29th, 2010
12:31 pm

Nannies don’t cause the babies to be cheaters, but they might cause the daddies to be cheaters (with the nannies).

Jeff

March 29th, 2010
12:36 pm

So if the man who wrote the article is trying to blame women for cheating men, who do we blame for women cheating? I think I know the answer some of you will so pleasantly provide me with.

The Latent Philanderer

March 29th, 2010
12:44 pm

How is anyone supposed to know if a boy’s nanny would set off some latent philandering? If Momania is asking what we think of the scientific process by which deductions were made about bumping uglies outside the sacrament of marriage then we would have to understand the protocol that comprises a valid scientific study. Then we’d have to find two experts who would agree about any sexual theory. We could look into our own lives and observe if our own cheating spouse ever had a nanny. We could ask our friends about their own experiences with their cheating spouse, or we could research whether Tiger had a nanny, or Sandra Bullock’s spouse had a nanny, or Hugh Heffner, or Bill Clinton.

There is no validity to questions like this. It’s just fun to titillate each other with stories about playing hide the salami.

Sad side note, and alarming statistic. I read a report that there is an epidemic of aids in women aged 40–60. I think it’s the fastest growing aids demographic. A latent philanderer would necessarily target older women. Perhaps the answer would lie there.

JJ

March 29th, 2010
12:49 pm

My ex husband must have been raised by a slew of nannies……

Michelle Obama

March 29th, 2010
12:53 pm

If I catch my old man cheating, I’ll cut him and cut him good.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

March 29th, 2010
12:53 pm

I think most of your are not realizing how groundbreaking this study is. this is far reaching stuff here about how external, seemingly benign conditions we face in our youth completely give us passes for personal responsibility? I mean really, am I the only person who wondered why I liked to hump things as a kid and my family had a DOG, whereas all the cat owners I knew had kids who liked to pee in the sandbox? this all makes sense….no one is responsible for their actions…..ever.

@ Michelle Obama

March 29th, 2010
1:00 pm

girl you should know by now he has screwed every free American out here

Van Jones

March 29th, 2010
1:08 pm

@ Michelle Obama

D’OH!! Tell it like it is.

Charlie

March 29th, 2010
1:17 pm

I tried to post a new song I wrote but it is not showing up

JATL

March 29th, 2010
1:19 pm

I heard this yesterday and giggled at the absurdity! If EVERY man who ever had a nanny cheated, then there would be even more out there cheating than there are now! It’s nonsense. What about little boys who go to daycare and are taken care of by 2 women every day in a class? How about those who stay with their grandmothers or aunts during the day? There are many different reasons men (and women) cheat, but I don’t think this is one of them!

I do have a nanny and two young boys. I certainly don’t think I’m raising cheaters, and if one of them ever does step out on a relationship, I don’t think it will be because of their nanny! Everyone needs to take a giant dose of personal responsibility for their own actions!

JJ

March 29th, 2010
1:34 pm

JATL – may I inquire as to WHY you have a nanny?

@JJ

March 29th, 2010
1:35 pm

Because she can and why does it matter?

Mistress #18

March 29th, 2010
1:38 pm

Tiger’s mom must had a lot of Nannies!