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The Big Answer

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The Return of the Extended Family

an article in Utne Reader by Katherine Boo

(our site's article review)

Katherine Boo says that prolonged stay within the family domain has its economic, social and intellectual benefits. The concept of privacy or independence has become so important for Americans that they have overlooked the benefits of being with one's family. She says the extended family as a group should be supported by the state. Kids raised with both mother and grandparents develop far better emotionally and intellectually. Boo is wrong about state support. Extended families being supported by the state is the worst, silliest type of socialism, and only the most naïve bleeding heart liberal would spew such nonsense.

All through our website you will find sociological and psychological evidence that flat gradient of nurturance is better than steep gradient of nurturance—better for kids, parents, family and community, which is why it has been the cultural norm in most countries for centuries. Flat gradient of nurturance means more caregivers and more caregiver choices. Steep gradient of nurturance means less caregivers and less caregiver choices—often mother-only care from stay-at-home mothers. This parenting style creates the most symptoms and unhappiness, while flat gradient of nurturance produces the least symptoms.