Well-Being//

We Have Badly Messed up Modern Parenting… Here’s Why

Bringing up a baby was never more difficult (or easy!).

Photo by Dakota Corbin/ Unsplash
Photo by Dakota Corbin/ Unsplash

Swaddlers. Cots. Strollers. Walkers. Bouncers. Jumpers. Mobile apps. Online classes. Worksheets, tests, and exams. These are all the ways that we are messing up modern parenting. Let me tell you why.

How did we humans survive as a race for so long and become the dominant species on this planet? If we really think about our procreation cycle, we have no business to exist in the world at all.

Every other species in the world follows one of two strategies to procreate. Either they produce numerous offspring all at once to give them a higher probability of survival (for example, fish, frogs, cats), or their offspring is largely able to fend for itself right from birth (elephants, horses). 

Human beings are unique — they do neither! We produce one baby at a time, it takes nine months to do so, we are largely monogamous in reproduction, and our babies are born super helpless and vulnerable to all kinds of dangers. Not exactly the recipe for success!

So how did we survive so long? It’s because the vulnerability of our babies actually played a huge role in making us a smarter and stronger race!

If we think about our cave-dwelling ancestors, their babies were born in a dark forest without the ability to move, see, hear, talk, and so on. This put an immense burden on parents to become competent in protecting their offspring and providing for them. Parents became emotionally intelligent, physically more able, and also cognitively smarter in order to do so. Families also started settling down and living in communities instead of leading nomadic lives, which further developed the need for learning languages, teamwork, and other social skills.

However, there was an unintended consequence of this process as well. As babies were born helpless, the baby’s brain knew it had to develop very quickly to give it a fighting chance to survive in the world as well — they couldn’t be solely dependent on their parents to take care of them. Thus babies developed an incredible ability to learn and grow in their formative years — something which adults just don’t have. This is why for example, babies are able to learn a new language effortlessly, whereas it’s nearly impossible for an adult to learn a foreign language.

Modern parenting is changing these basic tenets of evolution of the human race. We are more and more approaching parenting from the perspective of parents’ convenience, rather than the benefit of the baby. Strollers, swaddlers, cots, mobile apps, etc, are all devices that make the lives of the parent easy, but are serious impediments to the growth and development of the baby. 

It’s time that we put our focus back on our babies, rather than ourselves.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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