There is Now Proof that Our Children and Grandchildren Will Survive Parenting “Mistakes”

There is Now Proof that Our Children and Grandchildren Will Survive Parenting “Mistakes”This Grandma likes to assuage all new parents’ fears and concerns. New parents worry about everything. I like to say, “There is no right way or wrong way. We all make mistakes. The children will survive their parents’ parenting mistakes.”

This Grandma likes to assuage all new grandparents’ fears and concerns about the new parents’ mistakes. New grandparents worry about everything. I like to say, “There is no right way or wrong way. We all make mistakes. The grandchildren will survive their parents’ parenting mistakes.”

This came home to this Grandma big time when the parents of two of our grandchildren believed in “the family bed,” everyone sleeping together. This Grandma was concerned about the babies being crushed, suffocated, as well as the parents not getting any sleep. After all, the grandchildren had two working parents who needed their sleep too to be good parents. I did extensive research. I found, as I should have known, that children who sleep with their parents are just as fine as those who do not.

Now, it seems, that there is vindication for all of the parenting traditions, rituals, activities, etc. that we might consider mistakes in our cultural environment. A study of anthropology also shows that the children will be all right.

In the New York Times, January 31, 2015, in an article entitled“The Only Baby Book You’ll Ever Need,” the author, Michael Erardjan, discusses a book he says you will not find in the baby section of your local bookstore, “The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings,” by David F. Lancy, is an academic title — but it’s possibly the only book that new parents will ever need. The book, which first appeared in 2008 and is about to be published in a second edition, is a far cry from “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Professor Lancy, who teaches at Utah State University, has pored over the anthropology literature to collect insights from a range of culture types, along with primate studies, history and his own fieldwork in seven countries. He’s not explicitly writing for parents. Yet through factoids and analysis, he demonstrates something that American parents desperately need to hear: Children are raised in all sorts of ways, and they all turn out just fine.”

This Grandma loves one of the examples. After reading about my own grandparent research and concerns, you will understand why. Mr. Erardjan writes: “And I was glad for an ethnographic antidote to the ubiquity of developmental psychologists, whose advice often lacks a vital cultural perspective. Case in point: When my wife and I were sleeplessly losing our wits, we read through advice books on infant sleep, none of which mentioned that sleeping for eight uninterrupted hours in a bed in separate rooms is a distinct cultural anomaly. For most cultures, sleep is social. Around the world, people sleep in groups; with animals; in briefer chunks of time; without coverings. Once we learned that ours is not the norm, we relaxed. The fact that our year-old son wasn’t sleeping the way we wanted him to didn’t mean he lacked something; it meant that he wasn’t developmentally ready to be acculturated to our cultural model of sleep, not all at once.”

Our cultural model! This Grandma likes that. This Grandma cannot wait to buy copies of this new find of a book for new parents and new grandparents. Buy at Amazon.

Here is what Amazon says about the book:

“The raising of children, their role in society, and the degree to which family and community is structured around them, varies quite significantly around the world. The Anthropology of Childhood provides the first comprehensive review of the literature on children from a distinctly anthropological perspective. Bringing together key evidence from cultural anthropology, history, and primate studies, it argues that our common understandings about children are narrowly culture-bound. Whereas dominant society views children as precious, innocent and preternaturally cute ‘cherubs’, Lancy introduces the reader to societies where children are viewed as unwanted, inconvenient ‘changelings’, or as desired but pragmatically commoditized ‘chattels’. Looking in particular at family structure and reproduction, profiles of children’s caretakers, their treatment at different ages, their play, work, schooling, and transition to adulthood, this volume provides a rich, interesting, and original portrait of children in past and contemporary cultures. A must-read for anyone interested in childhood.”

And a must read for those of us grandmas who are worried that our grandchildren will be okay. They will be. . . .no matter what their parents do.








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