Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Nook: Raising Children: Surprising Insights from Other Cultures.

David F. Lancy, is the author of The Anthropology of Childhood, which The New York Times called “the only baby book you’ll ever need” two years ago. 

Professor and proud dad Lancy is back with Raising Children: Surprising Insights from Other Cultures, which I had a chance to review.

As a foreign language student, I've also become familiar with the culture where the language I've learned is spoken. It's also made me even more curious how cultures around the world compare - and how different cultural backgrounds impact groups here in the United States. There are some things I really like about the way Scandinavian or German parents raise children, and there are things I don't. Same thing with traditional Asian, African, or South American ways of raising kids.

This book provided an interesting glimpse at parents around the world: cultures where children aren't really individuals until they're older, cultures where children of all ages handle adult tools, cultures where parents don't play with their babies or toddlers, cultures where habits are not explicitly taught. In contrast with many cultures, particularly indigenous cultures, we definitely have a tendency in America to over-parent, micro-manage, and over-protect our children - and yet, children all around the world grow up and learn to become functional adults.

The book does have a decidedly academic tone, so it sometimes comes across as dry and studious. However, it is clearly well-researched, and I definitely enjoyed seeing the comparison across cultures to how babies and children are raised, treated, and taught.

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