Parenting Was Never Meant to Be This Isolating

What this criticism fails to grasp is that throughout basically all of human history, parents have never, ever raised children in isolated nuclear units the way they have been doing for much of 2020, with little to no hands-on family or community support. Individual families being completely responsible for children “is absolutely unheard of except in total emergencies,” said Stephanie Coontz, an emeritus professor of history and family at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and the author of “The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.”

As far back as we can go in prehistory, parents engaged in what biological anthropologists refer to as “cooperative breeding,” said Robin G. Nelson, Ph.D., an associate professor of anthropology at Santa Clara University (and an old friend of mine). That’s the idea that family and community members would help with holding, grooming and sometimes even feeding your baby. Sarah

Read More