Hunter-gatherers and farming villagers don’t write parenting handbooks, much less read them. But parents in WEIRD societies — Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic — can still learn a few childrearing lessons from their counterparts in small-scale societies.
It’s not that Western parents and kids are somehow deficient. But we live in a culture that holds historically unprecedented expectations about how to raise children. Examples: Each child is a unique individual who must be allowed to make decisions independently; children are precious and innocent, so their needs are more important than those of adults; and kids need to be protected from themselves by constant adult supervision.
When compared to family life in foraging and farming cultures, and in WEIRD societies only a few decades ago, there is nothing “normal” about parenting convictions such as... Read More
One of the strangest things about growing a human being inside your body is the alien sensation of his movements. It’s wild to realize that these internal jabs and pushes are the work of someone else’s nervous system, skeleton and muscles. Someone... Read More
Over the past week, my little girls have seen Santa in real life at least three times (though only one encounter was close enough to whisper “yo-yo” in his ear). You’d think that this Santa saturation might make them doubt that each one was the real... Read More
The holiday onslaught is upon us. For some families with children, the crush of holiday gifts — while wonderful and thoughtful in many ways — can become nearly unmanageable, cluttering both rooms and minds.This year, I’m striving for simplicity as I... Read More
When you lock eyes with a baby, it’s hard to look away. For one thing, babies are fun to look at. They’re so tiny and cute and interesting. For another, babies love to stare back. I remember my babies staring at me so hard, with their eyebrows... Read More
Around the six-month mark, babies start to get really fun. They’re not walking or talking, but they are probably babbling, grabbing and gumming, and teaching us about their likes and dislikes. I remember this as the time when my girls’ personalities... Read More
At the beginning of 2017, parents and pediatricians got new peanut guidelines that, for most kids, are very pro-peanut. My colleague and fellow mom Meghan Rosen wrote about the recommendations, issued from the National Institute of Allergy and... Read More