Daily Archives: September 28, 2010

I’m trying to be that neanderthal parent.

Carlotta posted THIS LINK about the three studies done by Professor Darcia Narvaez of Notre Dame Uni into how young children develop a sense of morality and compassion for others.  The Studies show that children who are breastfed on demand, cuddled and played with, who have plenty of adult attention and spend time with children of different ages, develop better morally and happily.

Three new studies led by Narvaez show a relationship between child rearing practices common in foraging hunter-gatherer societies (how we humans have spent about 99 percent of our history) and better mental health, greater empathy and conscience development, and higher intelligence in children.

Fascinating in a kind of ‘well duh’ kind of way. It is something that I have been discussing with a friend for some months now. She is training with the NCT and has three very young children. It’s tough going. She has a lot of very good family support from her MIL and others, but even so, she still spends an inordinate amount of time alone with the kids. When she is at my house, I am sure that is a more natural environment for children to flourish there’s a lot of children of all ages, two adult mothers and another adult young lady around. We share the tasks and food and all the rest of it while our men are out hunting (or being Youth workers and Nurse Therapists as the case may be).  it s much nearer the mutuak extended family and community suppert seen in hunter gatherer societies. My friend is a confident woman and excellent mother, but even she has had wobbly days when stuck in the house all day with three sick kids. (ages 3, 2 and 4 months so you get the picture). I am convinced that isn’t a natural way to have to parent.

It’s something that has been playing on my mind for years. I remember watching Ray Mears among the bush people of Africa and seeing the way they lived. It struck me how gentle and generous they came across as a people, not just one or two in the tribe, but the whole lot of them. Children were everywhere and obviously loved and respected. These people obviously had something that is far too often missing in our “modern” life.

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