The word parenting, as a verb, has only been around since 1958. Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik examines when caregiving became the art of hovering, and the pitfalls and anxiety of trying to shape children instead of raise them. Gopnik's latest book is "The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us about the Relationship Between Parents and Children" (http://goo.gl/3E0Ti2).
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Transcript - Once we started thinking about the role that parents and children play in human evolution one of the things that became very apparent is that that role was very different from the prevailing role in our current culture about parents. So in our current culture there's something called parenting and that very words, that verb only first appeared in 1958. And if you look at the Google Ngram it's sores up in the 1970s. And that word comes with a picture and that picture is that what caregivers do is shape or mole the child to come out a particular way. So your job as a caregiver is to do a bunch of things, acquire a bunch of expertise that will lead to a particular kind of child, which will lead to a particular kind of adult. And then somehow if you just get the right expertise you can create a better child who will create a better adult. Now exactly what that better means is a little unclear. I think parents whisper under their breath better like better than the kid next-door. But anyway, there's some picture, which I think of as the carpenter picture of caregiving, which is that you're going to shape this child into a particular kind of adult. And that picture, which goes with that word parenting, really is very recent. It really only developed at the end of the 20th century. So that picture is the picture that's become prominent in our discussions about caregiving, but it's very, very different from the picture that comes from thinking about caregiving in an evolutionary context and it's also very differently from the picture that comes from the studies that we've done in my life and others about how children actually learn. Read Full Transcript Here: http://goo.gl/Cn2XtR.
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