Are You A Caveman Parent For Your Child?


6 Min Read

Caveman parenting includes frequent and lengthy breastfeeding, affectionate touch, no corporal punishment, responsiveness to the child’s needs, lots of play, positive social climate and social embeddedness. Studies suggest that children who get this type of parenting have an increased emotional intelligence, improved immune system and are also empathetic.

Caveman parenting, also known as primal or evolved parenting, involves the re-evolutionary discovery of the “primal parenting” practices, that used to be universal. These practices pay more attention to the care-giving environment, that supports child development, adult health, well being and morality.

The characteristics of “caveman parenting ” for young children includes, frequent and lengthy breastfeeding, affectionate touch (and no corporal punishment), responsiveness to the child’s needs, lots of play, positive social climate and social embeddedness. Each of these characteristics has known effects on physiological, psychological and/or social well-being.1

New studies from the University of Notre Dame, argue that our early hunter-gatherer ancestors raised happier and more compassionate kids. Modern parenting methods, have deprived kids of basic needs that are necessary for their well-being and morality. Thus, it is important for the parents to understand, the correct and most efficient means of reacting to their child’s strong emotions.2

How Does It Aid Child’s Health And Development In Early Years?

A child’s brain is intricate and needs adequate parenting to develop properly. Early care is related to relational capacities later in life. Studies have demonstrated that children who receive responsive parenting, not only are more likely to develop secure attachment, but they develop the socio-moral capacities as well.

Responsive parenting fosters greater moral capacities, such as empathy and conscience. In short, this form of parenting has significant effects on how well brain and body systems develop; from endocrinology and immunity to self-regulation capacities, including stress reactivity and mental health.3

Some of the benefits of the methods involved in caveman parenting include:

1. Attachment Security

  • Frequent and lengthy breastfeeding, as followed in caveman parenting practices is very beneficial for the child.
  • Breastfeeding releases oxytocin in the mother and provides oxytocin through breast milk to the infant, thus promoting bonding.
  • Beyond its many physiological benefits, this secure attachment can counter stress as well.4
  • Attachment security is thus, related to positive outcomes that can be carried into adulthood, such as social skills and self-regulation.

2. Healthy Development Of Physiological Regulatory Systems

Positive social support in childhood, promotes healthy development of physiological regulatory systems (e.g. immunity) with it’s long-term effects over the lifetime. Social support generally benefits mental and physical health.5

3. Nurtures Joyful Living

Children who are bathed in love develop a sense of trust, that fosters a society which feels connected, lives compassionately, and supports sustainable success.

4. Increased Emotional Intelligence

In order for a child to experience healthy development in all fields including morality, they must have adequate care and support from their birth. Reacting negatively to a child’s needs can hurt their brain development, which can lead to poor emotional control. Emotionally responsive parenting allows the child’s brain to form advantageous connection that increases their emotional intelligence.6

What Is The Impact Of Not Providing Caveman Parenting?

Though times have changed, but the basic biological needs of a child have not receded; despite the fact that recent cultural evolution has altered modern-day parenting practices (e.g. using infant formula, babies sleeping alone and left to cry). Childhood experience reach into mental health and socio-moral functioning in adulthood.

Early life stress can have profound effects on long-term health outcomes. According to studies, reports of low amounts of affectionate parental touch in childhood are correlated with contemporaneous levels of depression.7

Some of the negative outcomes of not providing caveman parenting are as follows:

  • Modern-day parenting advises a parent not to attend the baby every time they cry, for the fear of spoiling them. However, if a child is left crying too often, the stress response in his or her brain will become oversensitive. High level of stress hormones fill the brain, leaving the child in pain.
  • Parents must tend to their children, for just holding a child will help them to sync with the parent’s autonomic nervous system. Constant hyper arousal can manifest in physical symptoms such as asthma, heart disease, digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, fatigue and many other problems.
  • Children who do not receive supportive parenting early, are less likely to behave pro-socially. They are more likely to be self-centered and troublesome. If a parent is not emotionally responsive or even cruel, the neural network in a child’s brain will be constructed in such a way that aggression and fear become the prominent coping mechanisms. Without proper support, a child cannot learn how to cope with stress, manage anger, and engage in compassion.8

Can Negative Effects Be Reversed Later?

When moral traits such as love and self-esteem are established early on, and immoral behaviors such as aggression are avoided, the child is better able to develop into a moral adult who possesses these qualities. The following steps are effective to unwind the bad parenting process:

  • Do not ignore your children, do not criticize them; discuss things with your children and explore with them the path that leads to truth.
  • Do not vent out your anger on your children.
  • Be moderate, do not overreact, but act as a loving guide to your children and be a good example for them.
  • Be honest with your children.
  • Respect them; trust them.
  • In spite of what you might think, your children really are human, and humans are never perfect.
  • Raging at your children, beating them, insulting them and cowering them will not make them perfect.
  • The most effective rule you can apply to reverse the bad parenting process, is to love your children unconditionally and to accept them, as evolved parenting nurtures a joyful living.

References   [ + ]

1.EDN;Narvaez,Wang, Gleason, Cheng, Lefever, & Deng, 2013
2.The Science of Parenting New York, NY: DK Publishing Inc.
3.Sroufe LA et al. 2005-The development of the person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood. New York: Guilford Press
4.Allen & Fonagy, 2002; Fonagy, Steele, Moran, Steele, & Higgitt,1991.
5.Taylor, Repetti, & Seeman, 1997
6.Takeuchiet al. 2009-Attachment and depression: A neglected area of family and developmental psychology?Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 109-117
7.Takeuchi, Miyaoka, Tomoda, Suzuki, Liu, Kitamura, 2009
8.Sunderland, M. 2006-The Science of Parenting. New York, NY: DK Publishing Inc
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.