Parenting for Primates

Parenting for Primates

Harriet Smith, a psychologist also known as the “Monkey Lady,” recently published her first book, Parenting for Primates. (She has raised more than 50 cotton-top tamarins.) Smith wrote the book to help parents realize that they don’t automatically know how to raise children and that their instincts sometimes need to be developed. When some of her adopted tamarins lacked basic parenting skills when they themselves became parents, it hit home that this parenting thing isn’t automatic – for monkeys or humans. In this natural history of primate parenting, Smith compares parenting by nonhuman and human primates. Smith describes the thousand and one ways that primate mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, and even babysitters care for their offspring, from infancy through young adulthood. She reveals diverse strategies for parenting by primates, but she also identifies parenting behaviors crucial to the survival and development of primate youngsters that have stood the test of time.