Drewery and Claiborne (2014) present the importance of understanding how childhood and what is meant when using the term childhood can be defined differently across and within cultures and it is therefore important to understand these stages of childhood within the context of the social norms and expectations of the child’s surrounding culture.
According to the authors, the social markers indicating the move from infancy to child can vary greatly across different cultures and within the same cultures. An example of this can be seen in the euro-western culture in which the word infancy derives from the Latin word infans meaning speechless, compared to Samoa where the social indicator is that a child develops the ability to judge and reason at around the age of 2 moving them out of infancy. (Drewery & Claiborne, 2014)
Harkness and Super (1983), presented a studied of the Kigsigis people where the social indicator of moving into childhood is heralded by the expectation that a child can perform various types of roles. In the Kigsigis culture, children start performing chores at around the age of two. However, Sameroff and Haith (1996), discuss how in many cultures, responsibilities of children can began around the ages of 6 or 7, where children are expected to perform agricultural tasks such as weeding or caring for younger siblings. (as cited in Drewery & Claiborne, 2014)
Although many cultures have similarities, it is important to understand the sometimes subtle differences in expectations for children at different ages in different cultures. Barbara Rogoff (2003, p.22) states that ‘human development is guided by local goals’. (as cited in Drewery & Claiborne, 2014) therefore the definition of...
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...res him and that he nurtures in return.
I truly believe that today’s society is largely apathetic, isolated and depressed. The major impacts of this, I see as the continuation of child abuse, suicides and escalated violence. I believe this arises from our loss of solidarity and a diminishing sense of community and as I wish him to have a better world than I did I want to give him this sense of community.
I know he will travel and to enjoy that experience I believe he needs to understand how people have different ways of being and to explore those differences with relish. I don’t think this can be achieved unless you have a respect for the differences that are held by each of us and how with those differences we create a community.
Drewery, W., & Claiborne, L. B. (2014). Human development: Family, place, culture (2nd ed.). North Ryde, NSW: McGraw-Hill
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