Why in some parts of the world do parents rarely play with their babies and never with toddlers? Why in some cultures are children not fully recognized as individuals until they are older? How are routine habits of etiquette and hygiene taught - or not - to children in other societies? Drawing on a lifetime's experience as an anthropologist, David F. Lancy takes us on a journey across the globe to show how children are raised differently in different cultures. Intriguing, and sometimes shocking, his discoveries demonstrate that our ideas about children are recent, untested, and often contrast starkly with those in other parts of the world. Lancy argues that we are, by historical standards, guilty of over-parenting, and of micro-managing our children's lives. Challenging many of our accepted truths, his book will encourage parents to think differently about children, and by doing so to feel more relaxed about their own parenting skills.
David F. Lancy is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Utah State University. He is author/editor of several books on childhood and culture, including Cross-Cultural Studies in Cognition and Mathematics (1983), Studying Children and Schools (2001), Playing on the Mother Ground: Cultural Routines for Children's Learning (1996), The Anthropology of Learning in Childhood (2011) and The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings (Cambridge, 2015).
1. Introduction: leave the kids alone; 2. Culture and infancy; 3. Questions about infant attachment; 4. Children playing and learning; 5. Protection vs suppression; 6. Going to school; 7. The consequences of raising 'unique individuals'; 8. Summary and speculation; 9. The back story; Selected sources.