In comparisons between the way children are treated in our society and the way they are treated in other non-patriarchal societies, what we have to draw on are studies of many varied tribal societies through anthropology, and studies of various past 'societies' which have been discovered through field research, exploration and archaeology. Those comparisons allow us to see that the way we treat children in our society and in particular the way we treat male children, is specific to our culture, and by no means universal.

There is a broad tradition in non-patriarchal tribal societies of treating children with a great deal more respect, and a great deal more recognition of their nature, and a great deal less emotional deprivation than is conventional in our society.

If we want to know what kind of species we are we need to look at what is left of the hunter gatherers, because we are the same as them biologically, but they haven't had the advantage of 'civilisation'. So they probably live quite close to the way we lived before western civilisation came along, which may, perhaps, be closer to how nature originally intended us to live.

We want a reference point for things that have gone wrong in our society, thus it would be useful to look and attempt to understand such people, from their perspective, because what has been observed is that they don't seem to suffer from the kind of neurotic ills that we have. Although they're aggressive, they're not destructive societies, and on the whole they appear to enjoy a level of happiness in their society which is way above anything within our experience.

We can put that down, not to the fact they live a simple life in the rain forest or 'bush' - because actually although it's simple, it's certainly not particularly easy, and it's often life-threatening - but largely to the way they bring up their children, which is with a great deal more respect for their nature than we do.

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