Advert

Guide to tribal parenting

Children in Papua New Guinea. Right: Jared Diamond’s book uses geography to show how Europeans and Asians developed some immunity to diseases which spread among them.

Children in Papua New Guinea. Right: Jared Diamond’s book uses geography to show how Europeans and Asians developed some immunity to diseases which spread among them.

New parents should carry their babies upright rather than push them in prams to help improve their development, according to research by an award-winning scientist.

Jared Diamond, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies, said parents could learn from traditional child-rearing techniques used in societies including the rainforests of Africa to improve their children’s lives.

He said: “It would be impossible, illegal or immoral to carry out rigorous controlled experiments on Western children, in order to test outcomes of different child-rearing methods. But a huge variety of different methods has in effect already been tested by natural experiments: different societies have been raising their children differently for a long time, and we can see the results.

“I’ve worked with traditional New Guinea peoples for 50 years. Many other Westerners have worked with other traditional societies, including the Pygmies of African rainforests, the !Kung of southern African deserts, and the Piraha Indians of Brazil. We are struck by how emotionally secure, self-confident, curious and autonomous the members of those small-scale societies are, not only as adults but already as children. That’s surely the result of how they are raised as children. I think that we can foster those admirable qualities in our own children, by emulating some hunter-gatherer child-rearing practices.”

We moderns can learn from what worked well for such a long time

In his new book, The World Until Yesterday, Diamond says comforting a crying baby within seconds, letting them sleep next to their parents, having lots of physical contact and carrying them upright and facing outwards can all aid their development.

He said: “Carrying your baby upright and facing forward may result in a more self-assured child. Much anecdotal evidence indicates that such techniques can also benefit our own children. We humans lived as hunter-gatherers for hundreds of thousands of years. We moderns can learn from what worked well for such a long time. It is only relatively recently that some of these traditional child-rearing practices became unfashionable.”

Advert

Comments are submitted under the express understanding and condition that the editor may, and is authorised to, disclose any/all of the above personal information to any person or entity requesting the information for the purposes of legal action on grounds that such person or entity is aggrieved by any comment so submitted.

At this time your comment will not be displayed immediately upon posting. Please allow some time for your comment to be moderated before it is displayed.

For more details please see our Comments Policy

Comments not loading? We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with javascript turned on.
Comments powered by Disqus
Advert
Advert