Google+ Authentic Parenting: African Customs (rerun)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

African Customs (rerun)

It's all wonderful to glorify traditional societies and the way in which children are parented therein. Sure, they do maintain a much closer relationship to their child, and parent closer to nature. Their children hardly cry and become responsible and confident very early on (they walk home alone as early as three years of age).
But, we shouldn't get overboard on this, because where they do often have a more natural approach, some traditional societies hand down serious misconceptions about parenting and birth, or follow obscure, inhumain traditions, cling to irrational beliefs etc.


A little Ivorian example
Babies here in Ivory Coast tend to be really in advance developmentary, at least when motor skills are concerned. They often walk as soon as six or seven months of age.
I can see you raise an eyebrow, I did not believe that when I was told, but after living here for over a year, I have seen it over and over again.
So, intrigued, I started asking around. Turns use traditional medicine to have their babies walk, so they shouldn't fall behind (see, even here that notion exists). On further investigation, it is some sort of tree bark they use, which gives the little one itching and cramping of the buttox, so badly, they do not want to sit down any more. Eventually, out of sheer misery, they push themselves up so much until they stand.

There is no One True Parenting Culture, so we needen't glorify traditional cultures, it's sufficient to learn from them. And then pick and choose, to find the path that is right for us.


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4 comments:

  1. As a developmental specialist who evaluates infants and toddlers I see this all the time from different perspectives. Some many cultures have different "norms" and when I go into their homes and actually tell them their child is fine and developing within the range of "normal" they get very defensive because their child is not walking or talking like their neighbor's child. I remind them tat all people even children have their own way of doing things. We are all individuals!

    I am loving the Africian posts by the way!!

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  2. I totally agree with you :)

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  3. WOW! I totally loved this. I love how your posts always show a very balanced side of things. Kudos!

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  4. this is inspiring! another reminder to trust ourselves and our children. thank you

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