Far from the mainstream of society, the pastoral community of Chillihuani in the high Peruvian Andes rears children who are well-adjusted, creative, and curious. They exhibit superior social and cognitive skills and maintain an attitude of respect for all life as they progress smoothly from childhood to adulthood without a troubled adolescence. What makes such child-rearing success even more remarkable is that "childhood" is not recognized as a distinct phase of life. Instead, children assume adult rights and responsibilities at an early age in order to help the community survive in a rugged natural environment and utter material poverty.
This beautifully written ethnography provides the first full account of child-rearing practices in the high Peruvian Andes. Inge Bolin traces children's lives from birth to adulthood and finds truly amazing strategies of child rearing, as well as impressive ways of living that allow teenagers to enjoy the adolescent stage of their lives while contributing significantly to the welfare of their families and the community. Throughout her discussion, Bolin demonstrates that traditional practices of respect, whose roots reach back to pre-Columbian times, are what enable the children of the high Andes to mature into dignified, resilient, and caring adults.