The 8 Most Powerful Parenting Lessons From Tribes Around The World

April 5, 2017


They believe that the role of family is the “planting of good seeds”.

Jimmy Nelson is a British photo journalist. For more than 28 years he documented 35 of the last indigenous tribes around the world.  What he learned was life changing.

His travels have taken him to the farthest and most unimaginable corners of the world, bringing us knowledge from cultures that most of us are unaware of; knowledge of families that wisely and intimately coexist with nature.


In a recent interview with Michelle Henning from Mamahub, he shared some of their unique ways on parenting.  To me the following teachings hold a deep & powerful wisdom. I hope that when the day comes I am wise & strong enough to put them into practice.

The 8 Most Powerful Parenting Lessons I’ve Ever Heard

Enjoy & let me know in the comments what ‘lesson’ touched you the most.

Parenting Lesson #1: The Healthiest Baby Food Is Breast Milk


Babies are breast feed until they’re 4 or 5 years old. They intuitively know that the healthiest and best food to build their immune system comes from their mama’s breasts. There is no feeding time or schedule; they eat whenever they are hungry.

Parenting Lesson #2: Babies Shouldn’t Know Loneliness


From dusk to dawn, babies are attached to another human being. Any tribe you go to, this is a common denominator. If the parents are working, their brothers, sisters or other family members; will carry them. At the night, they sleep with their parents or siblings. 

Parenting Lesson #3: Babies Don’t Cry If Their Contact Needs Are Met


Babies require constant human contact. Among many tribes, babies are either being held or on the boobies. It is an intuitive wisdom amongst all tribes that babies need the warmth in order to thrive. If the parents are working other family members carry them around.

Parenting Lesson #4: Babies Are Nursed On Demand


This lesson explains why amongst tribal communities, you rarely hear a baby cry. Babies sleep – normally naked – amongst their loved ones. If babies are hungry at night, they are breastfed.

Parenting Lesson #5: Pushchairs? What?


Yep, there are no pushchairs! Babies are in slings or cradle boards to make sure there is constant human contact, warmth and security. Carrying babies on the body instead of a pushchair makes not only the parents more independent but also the baby as it gets to see the world from the perspective of a ‘grown-up’.

Parenting Lesson #6: Co-sleeping Is A Natural Thing


Families, even sometimes strangers, sleep together. Especially if it is cold. They put their hands and feet in each other’s groins and armpits to keep warm. This is a habit that helps keep the body at an optimal and healthy temperature and it is also a great safety measure as well. It eases breastfeeding, provides better sleep for parents and babies and the intense bonding results in more independent children.

Parenting Lesson #7: Parenting Is Shared With The Community


This is a big one, because it is totally neglected in today’s Western world leading to many frustrated and exhausted parents. In indigenous tribes parenting duties are shared – not only between mother and father, but also the entire community. There is a collective responsibility amongst the tribe to raise, care and nurture for a child.

Parenting Lesson #8: No-Punishment Parenting


Many indigenous tribes do not believe in punishment. Instead they believe that the child will learn on its own. They believe that the role of family is the “planting of good seeds”. They believe that acknowledging positive behavior is more powerful than punishing “bad” behavior.

They too believe that a child will learn faster by them not interfering in the natural process of life. (though they will act in the face of real danger). Traditions such as fasting, vision quests or endurance during ceremonies encourage children to become independent and self-disciplined.

Lessons Learned


It might seem hard to apply all these lessons into our fast-paced lifes, but according to Jimmy it depends on how enthusiastic and committed you are as a parent. (.. Jimmy too co-slept with his kids)


“ We walk around naked and when we’re getting dressed in the morning, nobody bats an eyelid: that all comes from growing up as a unit. I think that gives us a strength that many other families don’t have, so when the shit hits the fan – and it does – the children have a deep sense of self-security and confidence.” -Jimmy referring to his family.


You can find the complete interview at MAMAHUB ♥

Warm hugs, Eda

P.s. Please don’t hold yourself back… I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. (..what is your fav picture & lesson?)

P.P.s. If you want to read more in-depth articles like this follow MyTinySecrets on FACEBOOK


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