Our idealized images of successful parents are filled with contradictions. We expect them (and therefore ourselves) to be young--b ut not too young. They must be mature as well. We want them to be financially secure--but not working long hours to achieve that security. We expect them to be loving and devoted, but not smothering and all-absorbed with their child. Such a vision is impossible to achieve.

Lawrence Kutner parents/parents' roles abilities

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In some ways being a parent is like being an anthropologist who is studying a primitive and isolated tribe by living with them.... To understand the beauty of child development, we must shed some of our socialization as adults and learn how to communicate with children on their own terms, just as an anthropologist must learn how to communicate with that primitive tribe.

Lawrence Kutner child development parents' understanding of parents communication

Our species successfully raised children for tens of thousands of years before the first person wrote down the word "psychology." The fundamental skills needed to be a parent are within us. All we're really doing is fine-tuning a process that's already remarkably successful.

Lawrence Kutner parent education historical perspectives parenthood abilities

Teasing is universal. Anthropologists have found the same fundamental patterns of teasing among New Zealand aborigine children and inner-city kids on the playgrounds of Philadelphia.

Lawrence Kutner childrearing across cultures children play