July 24, 2007

Some Anthropologist: No One In The History Of Civilization's Played With His Kids Before, Why Start Now?

According to a paper by Utah State University anthropologist David Lancy, tribespeople on the South Pacific island of Ifaluk "believe there's no point in talking to babies because they're "essentially brainless" until they turn two, so there's no reason for meddling psychologists in the US to badger poor parents into upper-class-style one-on-one play with their kids.

Or as Lancy's abstract puts it, "Psychologists see mother–child play as natural; anthropologists see it as cultural. I conclude by questioning the wholesale exportation of a culture-specific child-rearing strategy that may be quite incongruent with native belief and practice." Yes, leave those natives alone, psychologists.

In other news, a Tarot card reader from the Third Street Promenade denounced fortune cookie manufacturers making unsubstantiated predictions of interesting travel. Seriously, people, if you can tell me what the hell this Boston Globe parenting article says and why anyone should care about it, I'll be much obliged. Otherwise, I'll have to insist that you beat the next Utah anthropologist you meet about the head and shoulders.

Leave those kids alone [boston via tmn]
Oops, did I say "his kids"?: Lancy, David F., "Accounting for Variability in Mother–Child Play", American Anthropologist, June 2007 [anthrosource.net, abstract only]

5 Comments

Also under scrutiny -- arbitrary sanctions against polyandry and the need to face the front of an elevator.

Sheesh.

Since we no longer procreate in quantities that are defined as litters in some species, we don't have built in nannies that will automatically play with our kids.

So the question becomes: if parents don't play with their kids, who will?

I wonder what they'd say about me showing my 2 1/2 year old how Facebook works... :)

[better than showing how the skeevier sections of craigslist work -ed.]

Robin: other kids?

Let me get this straight. I shouldn't feel bad if I don't enjoy playing with my kids. If I'm not having fun, that's all that matters, right?

Isn't that the same selfish attitude that the study is suggesting too much parental play time fosters in the first place?

When has a child ever grown up thinking that his or her parents spent TOO MUCH time with them? I understand the notion that kids need unstructured play time with themselves or their peers. But I'll be damned if I ever start to feel that those days when I only get a few minutes to spend with my kids are preferable for either them or me.

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