Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

The parental role is not defined as much by biological parenthood as by a married couple living together with one or more children. Adoption is the Orang Suku Laut's common way of solving the problem of childlessness. The adopted child knows who his or her biological parents are, but the bonds between the child and his or her social parents are much stronger. Even if the latter have birth children later, they treat these and their adopted child with the same affection.

Father and mother are equally responsible for bringing up their male and female children, supported by other caretakers, like grandparents, siblings, and members of the jointly traveling or settling kin group. These socializing agents do not differ very much in education and disciplining, in physical care and affection, and in time spent with children (see also "Socialization of Boys and Girls").

In Orang Suku Laut society, there is much scope to develop freely because education is nonauthoritarian. In quarrels among children or between children and adults, those involved are not stopped, even if they indulge in minor physical attacks. Also, little children are not prevented from climbing dangerously high landing stages or playing with extremely sharp knives. If they are defiant and weep, they are simply left standing, while their behavior is countered with scathing remarks, which reinforces their fits of anger. Beating children is not regarded as an adequate means of influencing their behavior.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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