Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today I Read about Prehistoric Parenting Lessons.

There is this little blurb in the Womens Day February 2011 issue about some things we could learn from the people of the Stone Age, based on studies done by the University of Notre Dame. 

I thought it was kind of interesting because I had just had a convo with my mom about how sad it is that her parents' generation so openly rejected the wisdom and practices of their moms and dads.  Many people stopped canning, cooking food from scratch, making clothes, and using home remedies around this time.  I've already talked a bit about how frustrated I am over this loss, because I feel those are all valuable skills.  Mom and I started talking about this subject because I was telling her I recently discovered that giving my girls healthy fats before bed means they sleep better.  I give them fish oil, but avocado works well too.  It used to be that kids were given caster oil or other such oils before bed for their health.  It was a regular practice which was stopped several decades ago.  Lo and behold, there is some goodness to the idea!

Back to the article.  Well, not quite a full article, just 4 points. 

1.  Keep your kids close. 
The idea is to hold your babies as much as possible.  Ancient peoples didn't have playpens, swings, and strollers so their babies were cuddled, held and handled more.  Darcia Narvaez, PhD said, "Children who are touched tend to be calmer and more sociable."  It may just be personality but I see this in Britt, whom I carted about in a Moby Wrap the first 3 months of her life (because she screamed if I didn't). 

2.  Encourage play with kids of all ages. 
To me this one is a no-brainer.  My parents have never bought into the whole learning, playing, and be grouped with kids who are only your age.  And I'm so glad they didn't.  I've had so many friends that were a whole range of older and younger than me and I cherish those relationships.  I also believe that this made social interactions (when I was a child)  easier and more genuine - especially with adults.  Dr. Narvaez said, "Young children mimic the behaviors of older ones, which helps them develop and mature."  The idea that kids need to learn social behavior from kids their own age is a relatively new thought and one that I don't really agree with.

(stock photo)

3.  Ask for help when you need it.   
I have found this to be a tough one.  Probably just part of being the oldest and taking care of everyone else my whole life, plus I have a bit of a type A/perfectionist personality (it's all or nuthin').  Living on my parents' property has really helped me take a step back and realize that not only is it good for my sanity to have help, but it's great for my little ones to see that mommy isn't the be-all and end-all. And they have really bonded with their extended family too.  Bonus!

4.  Address frustrations early on.  Supposedly the cave people were so in tune with their kids, they could attend to their needs and problems before they really got started.  Dr. Narvaez said, "If you sense your child is about to cry or is getting upset, act quickly to soothe him."  On this one all I can say is practice makes perfect.  Spending time, watching and observing your child really helps.  I also believe that our kids were God's kids first and if you ask, He'll let you know what they need and how to help them best. 

Grumpy Bumpy
(If looks could kill.)

That's it!  Interesting, huh?  The generations of yore are not all full of silly myths and superstitions.  They did have some gems that can help us out too.  I need to go pick my grandparents brains, I think.  How about you?  Any little pearls passed down in your family, that you'd like to share?


Thalita Dol said...

thumbs up!
the mothering goes the same way here.

hugs from Brazil!

alissa4illustration said...

I love tip number 1. My sister-in-law felt that holding her baby too much was spoiling him. I had to bite my tongue in a big way! Of course I breastfed and really kept my babies close.

I also like tip number 2. I have to add something on that one. Mica and Isaak both LOVE their grandparents and have one set of great grandparents. Great Grandma Kent has Alzheimer's disease, and was recently sent to a home. We went to go see her this weekend, and it did not go well. Mica was pretty hesitant and didn't want to get out of the car. It was like he was a afraid. I didn't know what to think at the time. I honestly think he was afraid because hardly anyone in there can talk. My Grandma isn't herself. I tried talking with Mica, and he wouldn't tell me how he felt.

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

GREAT post! Did the moby wrap hurt your back? I couldn't carry Adam in the baby bjorn because it made my back hurt. I've been wanting to try a moby wrap, though.

Charlotte (Life's a Charm!) said...

As for tip#1, since I breastfed my babies, I think, they got the all the holding they need. But I don't carry them around if I can help it. I am all by myself taking care of them, and I mean, ALL BY MYSELF with NO help at all! But that also means, I am around them at ALL TIMES! I am quite happy that Baby Mark never got used to being carried around, although, but he welcomes my cuddles.

As for tips#2 and #3, so TRUE! And this makes me want to live in the Philippines, where my family is there. My babies will have all the friends they could care for, and all the help I need!

As for Tip #4, I AGREE. It helps to be sensitive to children's needs and anticipate frustrations before it happens. Being a stay home mom helps me with this. But I think, these days for most parents, it's hard to anticipate because most parents don't even know their kids to begin with.

This is a great post. I think I have read a few articles about this.