EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 3, Issue 2, 2011
Evolutionarily informed parenting: A ripe area for scholarship in evolutionary studies
With the expansion of the Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Consortium across a broad array of academic areas, evolutionary principles are now being applied to all sort of human issues – including religion (Wilson, 2002), human health (Platek, Geher, Heywood, Stapell, Porter, & Walters, 2011), clinical psychology (Wakefield, 1992), and more. The current paper discusses how evolutionary principles can shed light on issues of parenting. As an academic initiative in higher education that has potential to shape the direction of scholarship across multiple disciplines, EvoS has enormous potential to integrate scholarship on parenting from an evolutionary perspective. An evolutionary approach can help us understand the balance between fostering independence in children while concurrently teaching about the adherence to rules and social norms. Similarly, an evolutionary approach can help inform parents regarding the ultimate origins of selfish behavior with an eye toward helping shape a child’s behavioral tendencies to be biased for the good of the group. In making the case for the high utility of evolutionary principles in helping elucidate parenting, this article addresses (a) the nature of ancestral human social structures, (b) cheater-detection as a significant human adaptation, (c) the evolution of human emotional reactions and expressions of moral outrage, (d) an evolutionary approach to understanding the importance of reputation in social groups, and (e) the evolution of reparative altruism. The article ends with a discussion of future work in the area of evolutionarily informed parenting and how EvoS can help move this area along a positive and socially fruitful trajectory.
How to cite this article:
Geher, G. (2011). Evolutionarily informed parenting: A ripe area for scholarship in evolutionary studies. EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 3(2), 26-36.