Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Although the overall ideology is patrilineal, mothers are considered to be the exclusive transmitters of blood and crucial in the formation and development of children of both sexes. The father's semen, which acts only as a catalyst, bringing on conception, determines a baby's sex and hence also partly its inherent disposition or temperament. Sex and hence gender, it is said, tends to repeat itself along the paternal line. Thus semen, whose specific qualities are transmitted vertically from father to child (and especially to the son), is an important element in determining many basic characteristics of a community, and within this of a patrilineage.

Both mothers and fathers, and adults in general, spend a great deal of time with their infants of both sexes and also show their affection. But only mothers and other women and older siblings of both genders care for them physically—washing and dressing them, etc. In the mother's temporary absence, an aunt or even an old grandmother may put an infant to breast. Fathers, elder brothers, grandfathers, and uncles also participate in feeding toddlers and little children and putting them to sleep; they also play with them. However, as boys grow older, their fathers become less playful with them, while they continue to indulge their daughters.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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