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Thread: Why cavemen were better parents than we are today page

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    shemdogg's Avatar
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    Seriously. People who think it's a good idea to leave a baby alone in a dark room to cry itself to sleep are mentally ill.

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    avocado's Avatar
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    Cavemen didn't let their babies cry? We know this how? Haven't we had threads about infanticide?

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    Crying babies might attract predators. It was in the parents' and tribe's best interest to keep their babies quiet and content, and that means lots of contact and attention.

    Are you saying infanticide is a bad thing?

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    My future kids are going to be raised primally, and not just in the food sense. No doubt about it. Intimate touch, in my opinion, is very important to the development of healthy children both physically and mentally. If it means he/she is going to be better off, I would have no problem sleeping with my baby in my arms.

    Although, I don't plan to practice infanticide. Haha
    Last edited by Funkadelic Flash; 09-26-2010 at 03:36 PM. Reason: grmmur and spelin iz gud

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    I think infanticide was definitely practiced. We also know of some Native American tribes that would strap a babe to a cradle board and hoist it up high in a tree to CIO (yes, I know that's neolithic). Apparently the idea was to "teach" the baby that crying is futile, so the babe would be less likely to cry in a danger situation, such as while the momma was hiding from the enemy.

    But beyond that, Grumpy Caveman I wanna kiss you!!! There is never a reason (in our mostly-safe modern environment) to let a baby cry-it-out.

    Anyone curious about parenting from an evolutionary perspective should check out the book The Continuum Concept. Certainly not the end-all, be-all of parenting manuals, but it points one in a helpful direction.
    Last edited by Saoirse; 09-27-2010 at 09:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy Caveman View Post
    Seriously. People who think it's a good idea to leave a baby alone in a dark room to cry itself to sleep are mentally ill.

    !!!! +1

    This is a great article! It seems parents no longer trust their instincts when caring for their babies. Modern parenting is all about useless gadgets & gizmos designed to make things easier, but really they just separate us from our babies even more. All babies really needs is a loving pair of arms, warm breast milk, a safe & warm place to sleep near others, and parents who trust their ability to know what is best for their child.

    We are unique in our "modern" western style of parenting as we seclude our children in "cages" to sleep, let them cry to teach them how to sleep, discontinue nursing within their first year of life, carry them around in plastic buckets and let them soil themselves until well into toddlerhood.... A few of us more "radical" attached parents do things differently, and are reinforced by articles such as this and by learning about the many cultures globally who keep their children close (not via helicopter parenting but rather via attachment and responding to needs) by breastfeeding into toddlerhood, cosleeping, practicing elimination communication (ie no need for diapers), and wearing their children as they go about their day.

    My suspicion is that cavebabies didn't cry all that much, so there would have never been a need to CIO. Babies who are worn, and nursed on demand are often quiet and very content. I would be willing to bet that Colic wasn't ever an issue either considering the Paleolithic diet/environment hence no digestive upset to trigger crying nor would there have been any over stimulation via electronic devices & artificial light. Add to this a supportive community. We can certainly learn a thing or two about parenting from the cave people.
    Robin
    ~primal mama to 3~

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    We cosleep, breastfeed (8 months going on 9), baby-wear, and spend a chunk of every day it's not frigid in the yard with the baby getting "airing out" time. I have a "baby safe" room but I also let him spend as much time as he wants handling all sorts of objects, even ones that aren't strictly "baby safe" - wood, rocks, plants, leaves, dirt, cat fur. I'm right there to keep him from killing himself (though heaven knows that he tries.)

    The only thing I have a difficult time with is cloth diapering, so that's only an "every now and then" thing. But-but-but... you have to bring the same hard-headedness to this parenting style that you do to your primal lifestyle. I am CONSTANTLY bombarded with "you're ruining that baby" crap from friends and family, not to mention complete strangers. When we moved our mattress to the floor so my son could crawl safely in his sleep, I got the "you're spoiling him" talk. The fact that he still wakes up in the night to breastfeed gets me rolled eyes and "toddlers that sleep with their parents are tested later and proven to not be as smart" studies thrown in my face.

    It's tough. I'm a likable person. I like being mellow. I like it when other people like me. I don't like the drama of defending my positions from friends, family, and my frickin' pediatrician.

    But my baby? He's 90th percentile for height and weight. He crawls, stands, and is almost walking. He already says his first word reliably ("Mama" and 'Kitty' aka "kishkey"). He's affable, genial, and nothing but smiles for everyone he meets. He does not suffer from separation anxiety. He is gentle with animals. He's been amazing and awesome from day 1. He cries only for four things - 1) when he's tired and sleepy but doesn't want to go to bed, 2) when he's hungry and I'm not around because Daddy's on baby duty, 3) when he falls and hurts himself, or 4) when my husband or I speak sharply to him (aka "NO! DON'T TOUCH THAT!")

    I might be lucky. He might just be fantastic because I won the kiddo lottery... but I don't think so. I think it's because I try very hard (VERY VERY HARD) to live a life like we might have had ages ago. I try to keep him as close to natural as possible. I try to do what my gut tells me is right. And I try to ignore all those "you're ruining him" voices babbling in my ear. It's not always easy, but I try. Because he's worth it.
    Last edited by kam904s; 09-27-2010 at 10:37 PM.

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    Funkadelic Flash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kam904s View Post
    We cosleep, breastfeed (8 months going on 9), baby-wear, and spend a chunk of every day it's not frigid in the yard with the baby getting "airing out" time....I try to do what my gut tells me is right. And I try to ignore all those "you're ruining him" voices babbling in my ear. It's not always easy, but I try. Because he's worth it.
    I just have to let you know that you're my hero. Keep up the great work and I have no doubt that your baby will thrive and flourish.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy Caveman View Post
    Crying babies might attract predators. It was in the parents' and tribe's best interest to keep their babies quiet and content, and that means lots of contact and attention.
    There's an interesting line on why babies cry when they do - and why they don't when they don't. And that's hypothesized to be owing to the danger from predators.

    Bruce Chatwin explains the theory in the Songlines. So if the mother puts the baby down to do some work ... and then ceases paying much attention to him he may get grabbed by a predator. Consequently, if a baby believes himself to be forgotten he'll make a hell of a racket to obviate that danger.

    However, babies that are ignored for an extended period will go "eerily quiet". And it's hypothesized that this is because in that situation the baby really may have been forgotten. In that case help may be farther off, and the baby's best chance is to stay silent to avoid attracting predators.

    it's an interesting theory. Of course, like a lot of these natural-selection type explanations none of these "strategies" is supposed to be an actual strategy. in this view of things it's just that those that happened to have those responses, for some random genetic reason, would be more likely to survive and so pass on the responses.

    It's kind of persuasive. But it's also, of course, a matter of a pre-existing theory - that all explanations must be something of this sort - being adapted to fit any situation.

    The story someone posted awhile back where an archaeologist had suggested that the invention of the sling had influenced our biology was actually quite interesting inasmuch as it wasn't a straightforward natural-selection type argument. I was initially sceptical till I read the archaeologist's own explanation - courtesy of Avocado - and then intrigued. It's not provable, but it's a heck of an interesting thought.

    O.T., but I can take or leave biological theory to some extent anyway. Often I think it must be true. But I think even with animal behaviour one sees mind there. It's simply absent from the explanations of biologists. Barry Lopez says something like this in Arctic Dreams, and he's probably spent more time watching animals than most biologists.

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