Beyond the nuclear family: An evolutionary perspective on parenting

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There has been a recent shift in the evolutionary behavioural sciences towards the view that parenting in our species is cooperative, and that mothers require help from others to raise children successfully. This shift is not yet reflected in psychological models of parenting, which still emphasise the centrality of the nuclear family. This emphasis is problematic both because it neglects the importance of alloparents, and because it assumes the fathering role is consistent across societies. While paternal investment is often substantial in our species, it is also shows considerable ecological variability. This article highlights recent, cross-cultural research on the cooperative nature of human 'parenting', and illustrates the flexible nature of both parenting and alloparenting across human societies.




Sear, R. (2016, February 1). Beyond the nuclear family: An evolutionary perspective on parenting. Current Opinion in Psychology. Elsevier.

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