Helpers at the nest
Human juveniles become increasingly involved with domestic work of their household and caretaking interactions with infants and children. The work that juveniles perform juveniles contributes to the welfare of their family and larger social group. Adults usually supervise the work of juveniles to correct mistakes and prevent injury to the juvenile or the infants and children in their care. The slow rate of growth of juveniles and their small body size, relative to adolescents and adults, means that juveniles are not so expensive to feed. The work that juveniles perform also helps them to develop social understanding of the needs of others and the positive and negative consequences of their behavior toward others. These are essential social and emotional skills needed for success in later life.
The photographs above on the right and center show baby-sitting, a type of important and common work that juveniles perform. Boys may also provide some baby-sitting service, but around the world the task is much more common for juvenile girls. The photographs to the left shows a juvenile of Kaqchikel Maya ethnicity baby-sitting —there are more than 25 Maya ethnic groups in Guatemala. The center photograph is of a Ladina juvenile baby-sitting. About 9,000,000 Maya live in Guatemala, which is about half the total population. The other half are mostly of Ladino ethnicity. Maya are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Central American region. The living Maya speak one of more than 30 Maya languages (as different as Spanish, French, or Italian), practice traditional ideology in religion, kinship, and social organization, and the women tend to wear traditional clothing. Note the style of the over-blouse, called the huipil, worn by the Maya juvenile. Other Maya ethnic groups wear different styles of huipil. Ladinos are the biological descendants of Maya and Spanish, with mostly Spanish cultural behavior. Ladinos speak Spanish, wear Western-style clothing, practice European religions, and reject any Maya biocultural heritage. On the right are boy and girl juveniles helping with clothes washing. The scene took place at a public washing station on the streets of Kolkata (India). [Barry Bogin]