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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Parenting can be understood as the transmission of cultural norms and values that are adapted to particular environmental conditions. Thus, parenting merges biological predispositions with cultural emphases. Two prototypical parenting strategies are discussed. Parenting in Western middle-class families is regarded as prototypical of dual parenting. Exclusive attention is directed to the child from birth on in a dyadic behavioral mode. Socialization efforts stress the child’s individual uniqueness and emphasize a mental world of intentions, cognitions, and emotions. Parenting in subsistence-based farm families is regarded as prototypically communal parenting. The child is embedded into the shared attention of multiple caregivers. The prevalent behavioral mode is proximal, and socialization efforts stress the communal nature of the self and role-based responsibilities, with early tutoring of these behavioral modes. Implications for the definition of adulthood as related to parenting, as well as continuity and discontinuity in developmental trajectories, are discussed.

Keywords: evolutionary theory, culture, alloparenting, father, grandparents, subsistence, proximal parenting, distal parenting, autonomy, relatedness

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