In a new book called Mothers and Others, sociobiologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy explains that babies, not war, are what have allowed us to evolve into social beings.
In an interview with Salon.com, the author argues that unlike apes, which are very protective of their little ones and rarely let others care for their offspring, early humans have allowed a community of people to help raise their children, which, the author says, is how we’ve developed empathy and cooperation. The author continues:
Mothers need a lot of social support, and having more than one caretaker is very, very useful. When parents are getting divorced and the father and the mother are fighting over custody, that’s so selfish. There’s no way a child can really have too many allomothers. Even if the mother is mad at the father, she should want him involved. Children develop best in secure social environments, and security includes turning to lots of different people and knowing they are there for you. And since daycare is here to stay, we need to think a lot harder about how to make it better by incorporating attachment theory, making it small-scale and having consistent and responsive caretakers. But these aren’t brilliant points. These are just obvious.
What do you think about a large # of caregivers? Do you think the more, the merrier?
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A new book stresses the importance of multiple caretakers in our social evolution.