A Conversation with Michaeleen Doucleff

A Conversation with Michaeleen Doucleff

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Thank you to our guest: Michaeleen Doucleff, Ph.D Correspondent NPR Science Desk, Author

Thank you to our host: Susanne Stadler, Architect and Executive Director of AHWGO

Topic: Grandparents And More: The Wisdom Of Intergenerational Communities


“I learned really quickly that all questions and knowledge are deferred to the elders. The elders hold the information and speak for the group. One of the moms from the Arctic thought, when reading my book, that it was most important that we stopped valuing  the elders’ information and knowledge. I started to do this with my own mom, value her knowledge in child rearing.” (talking about the status of elders in the community).

“Privacy is luxury but also somewhat of a curse. Being together with somebody has a value in itself.” (talking about ‘Togetherness’)

“Nobody likes to be forced to do something – whether you are one or ninety  – but there are lots of tools to encourage people to do something.” (talking about ‘Encouragement’)

“People have the right to make their own decision. If we feel like we are not allowed to, this can lead to mental health problems.” (talking about ‘Autonomy’)

“Our culture tends to maximally interfere with others in our community – we underestimate what they can do.” (talking about ‘Minimal Interference’).  

“We come from ‘maximal’, we know what is right and want to fix it. They come from a different place – maybe the kid or the older person knows what is right and I am going to watch to make sure that they are ok.” 
-Excerpts from our conversation with Michaeleen Doucleff

Listen to the recording!

Books on Childhood/Childrearing/Parenting:
Michaeleen Doucleff, Ph.D : Hunt, Gather, Parent: What ancient cultures can teach us about the lost art of raising happy, helpful little humans
David F. Lancy, The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings

More about the communities Michaeleen studied:
Daudi Peterson, Hadzabe: By The Light Of A Millions Fires
Jean L. Briggs, Never In Anger: Portrait Of An Eskimo Family

More about the evolution of the nuclear family in the Western World:
Joseph Heinrich, The WEIRDest People In The World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Prosperous

RSVP for the next conversation on April 29:
​Why Are Nursing Homes So Scary?

Listen to the recording below

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