Originally Posted by lalemma
IMO, there's a bit of cherrypicking when it comes to what AP lore counts as a "traditional culture". Lots of ancient, traditional cultures do things with their babies many parents reading this thread would find kind of startling, just in terms of carrying them and/or restraining them. See: cradleboards. And did you see Babies
? Mongolian culture is very ancient and very into breastfeeding. But the mama also ties her kid to the yurt.
Different environment, different challenges. Everyone's doing the best they can.
This and this. I know this thread is about a week old, but I have a baby napping on my back, & a few dishes I wanna put off and so I am gonna rant for a moment on something I hear a lot in AP circles, which is this "but it's traditional!" or "but it's natural!" reasoning.
Traditional ways often come in a great messy non-AP package. I grew up with a mother from a(n industrializing) culture who practiced a lot of "traditional" things like babywearing, "extended" breastfeeding, and cosleeping... oh yeah, and hitting us with sticks, making us kneel on rice, and hold heavy books in the air, or putting us under cold running water for hours. I don't know if that last was traditional, but the first three definitely were - tho the extent these may have been newer practices imported by colonial powers, I cannot say. Regardless.
Just 'cuz something is "natural" or "tribal" or "traditional" doesn't make it better somehow. It also doesn't make it worse, but we're not here to discuss the possibly utility of corporal punishment for developing adults with a highly developed sense of community, submission to elders, and family dependency. The binary of natural and unnatural seems to stem from an application of Christianity's separation of man from the animals. Without God creating us above and separate from the animals and in his image, there's really no reason to think that we are not part of nature itself. In which case, anything that we do is as natural as the animals, as natural as ants building anthills, bears eating fish, and parasites hitching rides. Make fire? Natural. Build cars and fire? Also natural. Do we think we human beings are so special that we are not part of nature? We are. We are nature.
"Natural" isn't the same thing as "good" - but neither is innovation.
Classifying things as natural, tribal, whatever, vs. the innovative sociopathic modern industrial parenting does have the faint but distinct odor of the idea of the "noble savage" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage).
How different are our one or two parents and some kids (who might outnumber the adults) family units, and all you strangers better mind your own business relations different from growing up in a village of seventy where everyone knows everyone, and is always all up in everyone's business and making sure the kids don't get eat up by mountain tigers or blown up by landmines. Where children aren't necessarily children, but little parents to those younger than them?
Yes, it is difficult to make loving, informed, and reasoned choices about what "innovative" or "traditional" practices we incorporate in our parenting. We should not erroneously believe that because something is new it's good, or because something is old, it's good. Instead, we try to foster cooperation and communication in balancing the needs of our family members. It's why parenting is the hardest job, right?
Harnessing a kid doesn't have a uniform meaning. It could be a loving and thoughtful parenting decision, or it could be a neglectful one. Same as sleeping a kid in a parent's bed, or in a crib, or slinging a baby, or riding a stroller.
Convenience isn't an evil word that is only a synonym for laziness. In fact, convenience is a sister of utility, necessity, and efficiency. We don't think of it as ideal parenting to only meet our children's most basic of needs. (It may be our best and sufficient, but aren't we often trying to do more than our best? Why should we not allow our children to participate in that? Striving to do as much as our little best, and then a little bit more sometimes.) We try to go above and beyond in hearing their wants as well (though we may not always agree the wants are supreme). Convenience can mean the good balance of family needs and wants. It is not absolutely necessary to our survival that I do the dishes each night. But it is convenient and pleasant to have them washed throughout the day, so that we can pick up a clean dish and eat off of it immediately without needing to clean it first. Convenience separates dire survival from many of the pleasant things of life.
Yes, the convenience and needs of the whole family are important; important to model good boundaries and self-care for our youth, important to demonstrate problem-solving.... important to cooperation. Flexibility, too, in approaching practices not as uniformly evil or good, but in context to the whole situation, seems to me a virtue good to model to our children.