About This Site
Parenting. A topic that raises the defenses of people everywhere. An act so central to the survival of our species that we feel we must be inherently good at it or we wouldn’t be able to have kids so easily. And when we look at the animal kingdom around us, we see that it actually is quite instinctual. Granted, other mammals typically don’t form the lifelong bond we do with our offspring, but caring for their babies is something that is ingrained into the fabric of species around the world. And while some people like to think of us humans as being above other animals, we cannot forget that we are in fact animals at heart. A bigger brain perhaps, but we are mammals who have in us the instincts needed to care for our young.
Over the past couple hundred years, however, we have started making drastic changes to both our lifestyles and our views on instincts and parenting. In a nutshell – we’ve ignored our instincts in order to hand over control to others outside the family, “experts” so to speak. With the advent of the medical profession and self-proclaimed experts, we saw (and continue to see) people declare that they can do better than evolution and that they hold the key to raising successful children. And time and time again we’ve seen these bits of advice wreak havoc on parents and children. We’ve seen the decline of the midwife, the eradication of the wet nurse, and a focus on a society that values wealth and business and productivity over all else, including families and children. We shouldn’t have to live in a society where one must choose between one’s financial well-being and the well-being of one’s family. Is it any wonder our society seems to be in a downward spiral? We’ve taken all that evolution has given us that enables our children to be raised with the utmost care and respect and thrown it away.
This site is an attempt to educate people about what I have called “Evolutionary Parenting” – parenting that focuses on using the tools evolution has provided for us to raise happy, healthy, moral, empathic, and intelligent children. Being science-minded, however, you will find ample nods to research from the scientific community to support the claims made herein. And of course not all elements will fit for a given family, but by talking about how babies evolved to be cared for, hopefully parents can understand their child’s normal behaviour for what it is – normal – and find ways to make the family work together.
Tracy Cassels is the primary writer for Evolutionary Parenting. She obtained her B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of British Columbia, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Developmental Psychology, also at the University of British Columbia, where she is studying how certain evolutionary factors affect children’s empathic behaviour. Tracy serves as an Adviser to the Children’s Health & Human Rights Partnership and previously worked at the Canadian Council on Learning, a non-profit agency dedicated to researching myriad elements of learning across the lifespan. Most importantly to her, though, she is a mother to daughter Madeleine (Maddy), stepson Desmond, and wife to husband Brian.