Un­nat­u­ral play

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“What could be more nat­u­ral than a mother down on the re­c­room floor, play­ing with her 3year-old amid puz­zles, fin­ger­pup­pets, and Thomas the Tank En­gine trains? [. . . ]

“Ac­tu­ally, par­ent-child play of this sort has been vir­tu­ally un­heard of through­out hu­man his­tory, ac­cord­ing to the an­thro­pol­o­gist David Lancy. And three-fourths of the world’s cur­rent pop­u­la­tion would still find that mother’s be­hav­ior kind of dotty.

“Amer­i­can-style par­ent-child play is a dis­tinct fea­ture of wealthy de­vel­oped coun­tries — a re­cent byprod­uct of the pres­sure to get kids ready for the in­for­ma­tion-age econ­omy, Lancy ar­gues in a re­cent ar ticle in Amer­i­can An­thro­pol­o­gist, the field’s flag­ship jour­nal in the United States.

“ ‘Adults think it is silly to play with chil­dren’ in most cul­tures, says Lancy, who teaches at Utah State Univer­sity. Play is a cul­tural uni­ver­sal, he con­cedes, ‘but adults aren’t part of the pic­ture.’ Yet mid­dle-class and up­per-mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans — abet­ted, he says, by psy­chol­o­gists — are in­creas­ingly pro­claim­ing the par­ents-on-all-fours style the One True Way to raise a smart, well-ad­justed child.”

— Christo­pher Shea, writ­ing on “Leave those kids alone,” July 15 in the Bos­ton Globe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.