Child Rearing in Food Foraging Tribes

4 April 2015
This paper shows how three tribes teach independence to their children.

This paper examines the child raising techniques of three cultures: the Mbuti, the Yanoamo, and the !Kung. According to the author, each of these food-foraging societies showed different elements of independence training to instill survival skills.
“The Mbuti culture instructs independence by a way of religious means. The Mbuti have many rituals in where they give thanks to the forest. One of them is called the bamelima, where young girls go into the forest for a long period of time. This practice is to ensure cooperation between the girls for survival’s sake and for later adult cooperative activity. The Mbuti see the male children as being well developed with their cooperation skills, but do not think the same of the girls. This is why this festival is for only the girls. (Turnbull, 135,136) The boys have rituals also, such as the nkumbi. This ritual practices strength training (instead of cooperation training) with strenuous labor and physical abuse. After it is through, the boys are then considered men in the village and may take part in any adult male activity. (Turnbull, 221-226) Although training methods differ, the Mbuti culture uses survival skills in rituals to teach independence in both girls and boys.”
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