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Raising Children
Surprising Insights from Other Cultures


  • Date Published: June 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108400305

£ 19.99

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Uses an archive of anthropological information on childhood as a lens to critically examine contemporary childhood
    • Argues that many ideas we have about children are very modern, untested, and often run contrary to what we have learned about childhood in other cultures and earlier time periods
    • Reflects on why parents experience so much uncertainty and doubt, and demonstrates what parents can do to lessen anxiety and, at the same time, improve their children's chances
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'If you've ever wondered why you are sitting on the toy-strewn floor, playing a third game of Candyland, so bored you are ready to hang yourself with a Slinky, Dr Lancy has the answer. It's the culture, not you.' Lenore Skenazy, founder of the book, website, and movement, Free-Range Kids

    'David F. Lancy's fascinating and comprehensive work on the anthropology of childhood puts modern Western parenting into much needed historical and cultural context, calling into question all that we assume to be best practice or most 'natural'. In an age of unprecedentedly high parental anxiety, Lancy's work offers compelling, welcome evidence that there truly are many ways to raise a thriving child.' Christine Gross-Loh, author of Parenting Without Borders and co-author of The Path

    'Dr Lancy exhibits an all-too-rare talent in the academy: the ability to synthesize an impressive array of scientific data in an easy-to-read, even delightful, manner. What makes Raising Children: Surprising Insights from Other Cultures particularly rewarding is its broad scope, weaving stories from scores of cultures across time and space, coupled with its intriguing focus. Readers who explore the universe of child-rearing techniques will gain insights not only into the human animal, but their own children as well.' Michael S. Sweeney, author of Brain: The Complete Mind

    'David F. Lancy has written a compelling compendium of cultural differences in child care philosophy and child rearing practices. He clearly demonstrates that the Western (middle class) views and practices, which are offered in textbooks as the normal and healthy way, are at best an outlier in the world wide spectrum. David F. Lancy says it is a book about parents, but it is also a book for parents, especially for Western middle class parents which would help them relax and rely more on their intuitions. It is moreover a must for health care professionals and educators who deal with multicultural realities. It can help to prevent damage based in lacking knowledge and awareness of the contextual nature of any developmental processes.' Heidi Keller, author of Cultures of Infancy

    'I'm giving this to all the first-time parents I know.' Michael Erard, author of Babel No More

    'Lancy's research is so thorough and his writing infused with such gentle humour that even his admonishments and one-liners to parents are a pleasure.' Shaoni Bhattacharya, New Scientist

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108400305
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 217 x 138 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Author

    David F. Lancy, Utah State University
    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).

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