Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Mothers and older siblings take care of babies (playing with them, encouraging development by propping them in a sitting position, frequently bathing infants to "fortify" them, and, of course, feeding them). When the child can talk, its father begins to correct its behavior and to discipline larger transgressions through shaming or corporal punishment. As they grow, children spend less and less time with their parents. They help in the fields and household, but otherwise spend most of their time with other children. Gender roles are already important in early child-rearing—parents indicate which games are important to their male and female children. In the rural area, these games often replicate the gendered division of labor. Among urban Bamiléké elites (the salaried middle and upper class), parents might help children with school work. Since these elite parents are often at work, they hire tutors and nannies for their children. Household help might watch out that children do not hurt themselves, while doing other duties; they are not expected to be engaged in children's games or schoolwork, reflecting the separation between the worlds of children and adults.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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