We strive to learn from what our ancestors did right, through the lens of modern science.
In technical terms: Every mammal provides a developmental niche for its offspring that is designed to interact optimally with the maturational schedule of the offspring (Gottlieb, 1991; MacKinnon, 2011). Scientists have described the following as the key elements in the human evolved developmental niche (Hewlett & Lamb, 2005):
- High levels of responsivity to infant signals
- Extensive breastfeeding
- Nearly constant touch
- Multiple adult caregivers (i.e., alloparenting)
- Family cohesion
- Playful interactions
- Natural childbirth
We believe these practices are vital to the healthy development of our society, and yet they have been lost during centuries of rapid economic development.
Ethnopediatrics is a branch of research devoted to understanding the child-rearing practices of families around the world and throughout time. This relatively new field is informed by traditional disciplines like child development research, anthropology, psychology, and pediatrics.
Ethnopediatrics is broadening our horizons when it comes to parenting practices. We are keen to bring this understanding to our society’s collective conscience for the benefits of both parents and children.
In other words, we aim at promoting parenting practices, discovered in cultures across time and borders, that are supported by current scientific knowledge, and at empowering parents to apply them in Hong Kong.
- Gottlieb, G. (1991). Experiential canalization of behavioral development: Theory. Developmental Psychology, 27 , 4–13.
- MacKinnon, K. C. (2011). Social beginnings: The tapestry of infant and adult interactions. In C. J. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K. C. MacKinnon, S. K. Bearder & R. Stumpf (Eds.), Primates in perspective (2nd ed., pp. 440–455). New York, NY: Oxford University Press
- B. Hewlett & M. Lamb (Eds.), Hunter-gatherer childhoods: Evolutionary, developmental and cultural perspectives (pp. 19–64). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.