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My Brother's Keeper: Child and Sibling Caretaking [and Comments and Reply]

Thomas S. Weisner, Ronald Gallimore, Margaret K. Bacon, Herbert Barry, III, Colin Bell, Sylvia Caiuby Novaes, Carolyn Pope Edwards, B. B. Goswami, Leigh Minturn, Sara B. Nerlove, Amy Koel, James E. Ritchie, Paul C. Rosenblatt, T. R. Singh, Brian Sutton-Smith, Beatrice B. Whiting, W. D. Wilder and Thomas Rhys Williams
Current Anthropology
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun., 1977), pp. 169-190
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2741311
Page Count: 22
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My Brother's Keeper: Child and Sibling Caretaking [and Comments and Reply]
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Abstract

Children often act as caretakers responsible for other children. Such child caretaking varies widely in its frequency, as well as in the degree of institutionalization, relationship to parental caretaking, degree of indulgence, and incidence at differing ages. Residence and household patterns, size of the family, and the subsistence economy, daily routines, and work load of the family are important in determining availability of child caretakers in the home. The United States appears to have fewer alternative caretakers available, and less child caretaking, than most societies. Child caretaking is related to a number of developmental areas during childhood; eight are suggestedin this review: (1) mother-child relationships and attachment; (2) conceptions and emergence of childhood stages; (3) formation and organization of play groups; (4) development of social responsibility; (5) sex differences; (6) development of individual diferences; (7) development of cognitive-style differences; and (8) motivation and classroom performance.

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