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Tantrums worldwide? - Page 4

post #61 of 86
Thanks for the clarification. I haven't had much sleep lately and I need extra help these days!
post #62 of 86
Originally Posted by Dechen
Thanks for the clarification. I haven't had much sleep lately and I need extra help these days!
I heard that.
post #63 of 86
Someone referred to the Continuum Concept here and that the author was an anthropologist and that just is not true. (my apologies if this was already brought up)

Jean Leidloff was a model and in South America and ran into the Yequana while hunting for diamonds. She noticed some things then returned to the Yequana to observe them at another time. I don't mean for this to discount her work. Her writing has influenced my parenting a great deal. Yet I do think it can be taken with some grain of salt too. She also never had a any children of her own.

She also emphasizes that the kids didn't cry. There is a phrase/word in the Yequana language that translates roughly to "the time that the babies talk to each other" which could very well be similar to what we experience in the western world as colic which is often in the evenings.

post #64 of 86
Originally Posted by spatulagirl
Then we moved to Italy where you see children and babies freaking out all the time. When DS throws a fit (and he loves to do it in public, anywhere any time!) they bend over backwards to make him smile. He gets candy, treats, toys, a tour of the kitchen. Food gets sent back for him, he gets tickeled. Anything he wants. He could destroy a restaurant and they would probably find it cute :LOL
:LOL Oh Kate, I'm from Italy and that's so true!! (Just like SE Asia)
post #65 of 86
Originally Posted by Mothra
Talking about how people in Culture X co-sleep and how wonderful it is for them doesn't tell me anything about how it fits into my life.
It does not until I try! But when I do and it does fit into my life, that is exactly what I am going to say "I learned how people in Culture X co-sleep and tried it – it works wonders for us!" I am NOT going to say "Culture X is wonderful because they co-sleep like so" or "Culture X is awful because they don’t do XYZ"

Originally Posted by Mothra
It also does Culture X a disservice because it reduces the people of that culture to a two-dimensional image of what we need them to be in order to serve our own purpose-- in this case, advocate for co-sleeping.
Why? I am Russian/Ukrainian by birth and my first 20 years were spent immersed in that culture. Let me tell you, in many ways it is drastically different from American or many other cultures for that matter.

One thing that I will use as an example – Elimination Communication is practiced widely there. So if somebody said (wrote, typed, what-have-you) "I am using EC technique as I saw Russian mothers do and it works great for us" – I am supposed to feel "reduced" or as if my culture was done "disservice" and/or portrayed two-dimensionally?
post #66 of 86
Wow! What a thread this is!

mmaramba - I didn't mean that the world was necessarily safer overall long ago! I just meant that 1000 years ago kids weren't constantly hearing, "Don't put things in the outlet," and "Don't put that in your mouth" and "Don't touch those cleaning chemicals" and "Don't run out in the street" and "No you can't have that junk food" and "You can't run from Mommy in the store." Obviously people were in much more danger of death by disease, injury, being eaten by predators and many other things. It's just that babies were actually able to play with pretty much anything they found on the ground and go wherever there were people to watch. That would make for a much less stressful life to a toddler, IMO.

I agree with Mothra and others who say that babies are often called high needs even when they aren't. I don't necessarily think my DD is high needs. She just has a lot of meltdowns. However, I think the OP may not recognize that some high needs babies (and some that aren't, even, like mine) will have lots of "tantrums". LOTS! :LOL
post #67 of 86
It's just that babies were actually able to play with pretty much anything they found on the ground and go wherever there were people to watch. That would make for a much less stressful life to a toddler, IMO.
Right, not stressful for the toddler. Agreed.

Until he came down with salmonella from chewing on those feathers he "found on the ground."

Now THAT'S stressful! :

(And nobody tell me that someone would have been there to take the feathers away. To some great extent, people 100-1000 years ago didn't make the connection with disease).

You're right that there were probably fewer restrictions on children's behavior 100-1000 years ago... I think we would probably do well to emulate that... to a point. All I was saying is that there has probably been a net benefit to our survival to all our do-thises and don't-do-thats. KWIM?
post #68 of 86
Originally Posted by Mothra
First of all, where did I say that you shouldn't learn from other cultures? What I said was that if you are going to look at one particular aspect of a culture outside of your own, you need to understand how it fits into the bigger picture. Talking about how people in Culture X co-sleep and how wonderful it is for them doesn't tell me anything about how it fits into my life. It also does Culture X a disservice because it reduces the people of that culture to a two-dimensional image of what we need them to be in order to serve our own purpose-- in this case, advocate for co-sleeping.

Do I think you should stop reading parenting books based on practices in other cultures? I'm not going to tell you what to do, and I think you know that is ridiculous, but I do not read such books. I think you know the borders of your own culture, that will be different for everyone.

Who said anything about "mainstream" America? I think you are missing my point completely. If you really are interested in what I'm talking about, read more about the myth of the noble savage and cultural appropriation. I've explained about as well as I'm capable.

The notion that babywearing and nursing in public belong to a particular culture is absurd. Breastfeeding is certainly not cultural, it is biological, and babywearing has been done in almost every culture across the globe in some form or another.
Ok, I have read plenty about the myth of the noble savage (minor in Latin American Studies), just don';t quite see how it applies in a concrete way. Is looking, admiring, trying different from appropriating? I don't see how hearing something about a culture, trying it in your own family has to mean that you are reducing a culture to a two diminsional image. We should learn from other cultures but not pick and chose what to incorporate into our own lives?

Maybe babywearing has been done in most cultures but I was stealing it from indiginous Mexican cultures since they were the first ones I saw doing it. It looked like a good idea and the babies seemed to enjoy it. Breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, don't seem like aspects of my "culture" as I understand it so I am stealing these ideas from other cultures and bringing them into my own life. Actually, I think you have given me some concrete ideas about this, like about homebirth, it is just that I have never heard what people say about homebirthing in other cultures so I am still missing this.
post #69 of 86
Im not so sure there were 'fewer restrictions' on children 100 or 1000 yrs ago. Maybe a million yrs ago. Maybe some kids have fewer restrictions, but some kids had more. Slave children, fi. The little Roman slave or Greek slave or African slaves or whatever slave children certainly had restrictions. Or the children playing on the floor of factories 100 yrs ago while their mothers sewed, or the little children who sewed in the factories.

I think each culture, each time had it's own restrictions. Even the wealthy Victorian children had to behave in a certain way, and long before that, children were not even considered children and people did with them as they pleased.

I am also sure the cave children didn't wander too far off and often did get burned from the fires and did fall off cliffs or step in poison ivy...or get stung by bees...

I dont think any child has lived without it's share of cultural frustration.

Tantrums have to do with fatigue and brain growth, and I maintain there is nothing abnormal about them. We can try to limit them, feeding the child, making sure we are not making great demands when she is tired, not putting them in frustrating situations for our own egos etc. But they are going to happen for most children, at some point.

I simply do not see that all expression of pent up 'stuff' is bad.
post #70 of 86
Originally Posted by Ilaria
:LOL Oh Kate, I'm from Italy and that's so true!! (Just like SE Asia)
I am from Italy too, and I totally agree. It was not until I moved to Switzerland that I realized that if a baby cries you do not necessarily have to do something IMMMEEDIATTELLY!!!
post #71 of 86
I have also studied a great deal about the noble savage and cultural appropriation during my doctoral coursework...I agree that these kinds of conversations *can* be dangerous, but I also think that maybe you're making grander points than are necessary in this particular conversation. You seem to be getting really emotional about the "racist" tendencies of a few of the posters on here, and I'm not sure it's really warranted...Maybe I'm interpreting your posts incorrectly, but I think that you're arguing on a level that nobody is trying to take it to...perhaps that's the issue...that you feel that it needs to be taken there...and you may be right, but I just think that your points are not being taken as they are intended because the conversation is just a little south of where you're talking. does that make sense?

I think that we can learn from other cultures, as do you...and I agree that acontextual "practices" are useless to an anthropologist or sociologist and any articles or papers presented without a contextual component would be laughed out of any peer review. But that's not what this is, really...I just feel like it's not helping the other posters to keep hearing about acontextuality rather than discussing the actual practices that they're concerned with, kwim?

AAGH I'm reading my post over again and I'm realizing that I'm not explaining my point well at all. I have written some of the exact sentiments that you've posted in this thread for papers/presentations/publications. I am in total agreement with you anthropologically...I just feel like it's getting lost in this thread because it's not really useful in *this* context...kwim?

oy. I'm butchering my point. I'm gonna stop here and hope that maybe someone understands what i'm trying to say! i'll come back later when I can form an articulate thought.
post #72 of 86
Let's see what they have vs what we have that might contribute to the topic being discussed:

1. Community environment (being a part of community, many "hands" to assist the Mother) - vs Nuclear Family (being the one who has to be treated differetly, only one pair of Mothers hands)

2. Many kids to socialize with vs one or two kids OR scheduled day care enviroment

3. Lots of space and things to explore (mostly outside - nature can be explored endlessly) vs somewhat of an isolation in an apartment or house with limits of what and when can be touched

4. Fresh air almost all the time vs limited exposure to fresh air (even 6-7 hours a day IS a limited exposure) plus smog, exhaust, other pollutants

5. Waking up when rested and going to bed when tired - vs scheduled routine

6. Eating foods free of any chemicals - vs chemically laces previously frozen and microwaved foods

7. Lots of natural physical activity - vs made-up activities like Gymnastics, etc.,

8. Adults that have simple purpose - vs adults that have too many responsibilities and lots of stress
If this doesn't invoke the image of the noble savage, I don't know what does. I've been having these message board conversations about attachment parenting for a long time. These conversations, that begin with questions about "other cultures", invariably turn to this racist ideal. In addition to the racism inherent in the discussion, it puts unfair and unrealistic pressure on women to emmulate practices that are not always supported or even practical in the culture we live in.

As I stated earlier, there is a stark difference between people making observations about cultures they are immmersed in and making generalizations about "other cultures". Several posters have ignored the fact that I said that and continued to comment about personal experiences in response to things that I said about the noble savage myth.
post #73 of 86
do you disagree that some "other cultures" can be at least partially characterized by having some of these qualities? I thing that finding this combination of characteristics is overgeneralized and definitely does fit the "noble savage" image. But I don't agree that merely listing these types of characteristics as oppositional to what the poster believes America to practice is inherently racist.

Does the poster have to list the reasons that the nuclear family is not preferred in many other cultures? Does she have to explain that there are postive and negative contextual factors that led to larger families, communal living, etc? I agree that it might help to make a richer argument, but I don't think that failing to do so nevessarily means that she's falling into the grander trap that you're worried about.

I see the undertones of what you're talking about...I do see it. I've been trained to see it, probably as you have. I just think that you might be a bit hypervigilant about *some* things that aren't *totally* there.
post #74 of 86
hm...you know what...I think I see what you see...I just re-read the list and thought of at least a few "buts" to every single "noble savage" characteristic. And I think I feel the same ickiness that you do about the comparisons.

I guess in my mind I'm also seeing that those characteristics (which may or may not actually occur in "other cultures" and which may or may not be forced upon them because of other negative characteristics in those "other cultures", be the only options, be the most compatible with the other millions of characteristics NOT listed, etc...) are positive...so I'm immediately taking it out of the "noble savage" conversation in my head and just seeing the "best practice" argument, without the cultural component. Which is wrong on my part, as it is very much couched in the cultural argument...i think it is because those things are natural to my South American experience so I don't see it as "other" and therefore don't attribute it to the noble savage myth.

My point is that i see your point now. i think i was removing the cultural component in my own head when i read things like "fresh air" and just thinking "well, that's good...what's your beef?" and not really keeping it within the context of cultural comparison.

soo...sorry 'bout that. go on about your business. LOL
post #75 of 86
Mothra and michelemiller,
Can you go a little more in depth?
I'm not asking you to try and squeeze years of study into a post, but I want to be sure I'm following you...
I think I might be, but I'm not sure.
I'm thinking of a documentary I saw on Pakistani women. At first it looked quite ideal and quintessentially AP...till you saw that the mother was sold to the husband and his family for some goats when she was 14, and the "extended family" were her "bosses" and she wasn't much more than a slave, etc.
Is that the kind of thing you're talking about, or am I totally missing your point?
post #76 of 86
Okay, first Mothra, thank you for getting me to even think about this issue. I dare say I would have merrily continued along without it occurring to me that we may be treading near dangerous ground. Very thought-provoking stuff.

And thank you michelemiller for providing your well-written posts as well. As interesting as I find Mothra's arguements, I feel that perhaps the point has been made and that I think perhaps the level is being raised to one beyond the purposes of this thread.

Okay, back to the discussion at hand. The one question that keeps repeating in my head over and over (and stated many times by UUMom) is:

Why are we acting like tantrums are "BAD"? Or need to be reduced?
Or need to be "dealt with"???

AFAIC, they are a normal, natural and healthy part of human development. Children are feeling emotions like frustration, anger, sadness, etc. for the first time and they are expressing those emotions in the only way they are developmentally capable. Instead of worrying about the noise level, the amount of thrashing that goes on, the length of the episode, or the frequency, why not just express some joy that our children have moved into another wonderful and challenging stage of their growth as people?

I remember when my DS was only about 4 months old and he was just learning to grab objects and he would get himself all worked up when playing with any toy. He'd get more and more vocal until he'd just burst into a fit. My DH was like "What is wrong with him? He can't even play without getting upset? Aren't toys supposed to make babies happy?". But I was not upset. I was amazed! This tiny baby is already demonstrating frustration? That's a huge milestone. It was my first glimpse into his personality. He's going to be an emotional and sensitive little fellow, I'm guessing. Wonderful!

I do think that reducing stress in a child's life is always a good plan. Keep them fed, rested, and in a "yes" environment as much as possible. And, as with all of us, reactions to emotions tend to be harsher when we are under stress of any sort (don't we all experience this ourselves on those parenting days when you've had no sleep and everything just sets you off?).

So from all this discussion, I think the most important and relevent answers are the ones that point out the ADULTS' reactions to the tantrums. And their attitudes about whether they need "fixing" at all. I don't believe they need anything more or less than empathy and love. In places where parents "get" that, I think kids are better able to just be kids.
post #77 of 86
I think the question on this thread is "are tantrums completely natural part of toddlerhood or do they happen more often in North America." I would think that it would be helpful for people who have lived in other cultures to share their experiences with this topic. I agree it is not particularly helpful for others to share what they have heard/read/think might happen in another culture that they are not particularly familiar with. They are probably essencializing and promoting stereotypes. I just don't think that it is impossible to have this conversation without being racist about it.
When a PP listed attributes of another culture that were very vague, I didnt' even think she was listing attributes of another ethnic/geographical group, I thought she was listing aspects of a hippie/commune kinda culture in North America so it didn't strike me as racist. I know people who live within that subculture.
My question is, how can thinking parents not pick and choose the best practices of other groups? It was endlessly fascinating to me to be raised in a mix of midwestern North American culture and California Mexican American culture, then move to Mexico and really explore the difference that I see in the family relationships there compared to here. I just can't ignore that and say, well my neighbors all do it this way, so. . . This problem is challenging for me since I was not being flippant when I asked what is the boundary of a culture? What culture an I apart of, and what culture am I outside of? For a mixed cultural person living in a mixed cultural world, this is a real question to me.

Ps. I am enjoying this conversation, feels like I m back in grad school, but mothra, why did you think that it was "odd" to compare mexican and american toddlers? I was a little hurt by the comments.
post #78 of 86
Flor, I have the same issues of being bicultural...my US-self and my South American self are complex and intertwining, but it often makes me less aware of how I am being subtly racist in my assumptions. I tend to think that everybody has the same shorthand as I do or that I am inherently non-racist simply because I have been raised in two different cultures.

I have to go eat now (i have about a 5 minute window, being 14 weeks pregnant and still in the throes of morning sickness) but i'll come back to chat more about this later.
post #79 of 86
Thread Starter 
I'd love to read more about the noble savage argument and why this discussion can be perceived as racist. If we were to think out an ideal community in order to create a commune, e.g., we migth start with points similar to these and see where they lead us. While we try to figure out how to maximize what we deemed were positive qualities, we could better see how they'd fit into life as a whole and then remove some from the list if they were no longer feasible or the bad outweighed the good.

Earlier in this thread (I think it was here) I made the point of trying to do this on a smaller scale in B.C. when we move there. For example, I like the idea of having a particular place -- say a rock in the midst of a large park -- that whoever (of a collective of parents and their children) feels like it on a given day goes to meet at say, noon. The children can mix and explore nature while the parents do the same and share in taking care of them. The collective of parents and children would be in frequent contact with each other. They would lean on each other, trade things, help each other out, spend a lot of time in each other's homes, have many shared functions and events, talk about self improvement together, and see some members of the group on a daily, or near-daily, basis. Some of them would also be involved in homeschooling together. This is not an extended family, but it would help to bring about some of the benefits that an extended family brings without much of the negative aspects (like having my cranky mom live with me. EEEK.). With a vision statement and shared ideals -- discussed at monthly meetings or whatever -- each parent involved would be entitled to do more to GD the other children and the children wouldn't be exposed to negative parent-child interactions like threats and condescension (sp?). Ideal, yes, but an ideal vision is the place to start so that we have a target to aim at (I'm really loving Aristotle today -- the archery metaphor is from him).

So would it have been better to just have the same discussion without the word culture or references to other people? Talk instead about other ways? What are those of us who are unhappy with the Canadian/American-type ways of life to turn to? Must we restrict ourselves to literature that is completely fictional? I guess I'm not fully seeing what is problematic about discussing what might work in other places to keep tantrums to a minimum. I don't have any ridiculous notions that these other cultures are perfect or that the people in them are all the same. I don't even really have a specific culture in mind. They certainly aren't what I'd call savages either. Nor would I consider them noble. They, whoever this applies to -- I really haven't a clue -- seem to get something right though. If their toddlers are generally pleased and content and seldom tantrum, I'd like to know about that so that I can think about what might be causing it and what might be going wrong here where frequent tantrums each day is not unheard of.

I don't have a problem with getting out pent up emotions. But I do think there might be something wrong if emotions keep getting pent up. If Simon gets very frustrated over a toy every time he plays with it, we remove it and try again in a month or so. I see no benefit of recreating situations that cause stress to the child. He will learn how to deal with frustrations without having to endure it needlessly. Learning how to cope with frustrations is normal, but freaking out on the floor several times every day for weeks or months still makes me think that something might be off in the way that child is living, and it is causing her or him to be under too much stress and to feel too powerless.
post #80 of 86
Originally Posted by Flor
When a PP listed attributes of another culture that were very vague, I didnt' even think she was listing attributes of another ethnic/geographical group, I thought she was listing aspects of a hippie/commune kinda culture in North America so it didn't strike me as racist. I know people who live within that subculture.
Thank you. Thank you for being able to put *my* thoughts into words (just in case - no sarcasm here! tone of voice is kinda hard to type :LOL )

You are right, I think the whole idea of this topic was not to bash or praise any culture. It's about toddler and tantrums and what maybe our neighbours are doing that might be better then what we practice...

Dal, I loved your well thought-out post. Can I live in the community you are describing? Please? :
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