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Local Anthropologist Discusses Recent Study On Child Rearing

(credit: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A recent study published in the Journal “Pediatrics” finds babies who are permitted to cry a bit while they are trying to go to sleep will not suffer any long-term damage. But one local expert says in some cultures this practice would be considered taboo or unnecessary, because child rearing is more of a community responsibility.

“In the American Southwest, in native American cultures, you have a lot of different customs when it comes to child rearing,” says Widener University Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brett Alvare. “We’re interested in helping our children learn to speak. In the Southwest, there’s kind of a taboo and they have to learn to come to language on their own. So I think that also carries over to this idea of children crying.”

Alvare says other cultures have multiple generations living together.

“Our nuclear family structure is a-typical, it’s much more typical to have extended family involved directly in child rearing,” he says. “We place the burden almost solely on the child’s parents. Around the world, you still have parenting as more of a family activity.”

Alvare is referring to the Balinese culture. In the Asian culture, multiple generations live together under the same roof, so parenting responsibilities are shared and not the responsibility of just two people.

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