- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Times Books; 1 edition (May 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805068376
- ISBN-13: 978-0805068375
- Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 15.6 x 2.9 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,572,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Men and women differ in the way they respond to stress. After a hard day's work, men want to be alone; women spend more time with the children. And it is this tending instinct that keeps a society together and makes individuals healthier.
Men and women differ in other ways that influence social interaction, says Taylor. Men's groups are more hierarchical, women's more informational. Married men live longer than single men, and women fare better during times of major crisis, such as the dissolution of the Communist bloc.
Another key theme: Nurturing is essential to well-being. A nurturant parent can override genes that would predispose a child toward aggression, depression or other disorders.
Much of what Taylor writes will not seem radically new, but cumulatively, chapter to chapter, she builds a case for recognizing the importance of nurturing and the style of interaction known as traditionally female.
Because Taylor is a psychologist, rather than sociologist, it's not surprising that she omits suggestions and implications. Many well-educated citizens, for instance, resent payments to welfare mothers, yet Taylor's findings emphasize that paying women to nurture their children can save millions of dollars by keeping those children out of the criminal justice system.
A sociologist could point out that in fact tending seems to be punished by society. "Nurturant" occupations, such as teaching and social work, typically pay less than more aggressive occupations, such as policing. In medicine, surgeons make the most while pediatricians and psychiatrists earn the least, on average.
Taylor also ignores outliers -- the non-nurturing female and the nurturing male. -- who occupy ambivalent roles in many societies. And while she says that friends will become the most important social relationship, as we move farther from families, I find that friendship bonds often are formed based on family status. A married but childless woman says, "People my age are having babies!" and I say, "Women my age are getting visits from the grandchildren!"
As an academic, Taylor herself anticipates comments on what's working and what's missing, and she has made an exceptionally strong contribution here. I am recommending this book to readers who want to learn more about stress as well as those who are fascinated by the eternal "how men differ from women" puzzle.
In marketing, the discipline in which I work it is quite evident that the world of consumer commerce revolves around the tending and befriending instincts of woman. Taylor grasps the fundamental principles of marketing better than all the commonly used textbooks. The reason is they all start out from the Darwinian perspective that humans are at core selfish. If the human brain was a computer that was programmed by evolution then the dog-eat-dog perspective might be tenable. However mammals tend their young - they have to, so the urge to nurture is a necessary part of human nature. Taylor makes it abundantly clear that it is a feminine trait - not masculine.
This book is excellent at explaining the connection between befriending and stress. It makes an excellent companion book to Hrdy's book "Mother Nature," an anthropologist, also from UCLA, that explains more details about lactation and mothering.
For woman readers this book should be inspiring and validating. For men... well it is sobering and in spots embarassing.
Thank you Shelley!
In the book, "The Tending Instinct," the author shows how men and women differ in their responses in times of need. According to the author, women are born with a "nurturing" quality and tend to seek support from others during times of stress. During these times, women will also reach out to help others. This natural "tending instinct" that women have, is vital in a society and also beneficial to children who are exposed to this instinctive behavior at an early age.
MyParenTime.com highly recommends the book, "The Tending Instinct" -- this book is wonderful! It is clearly written and very interesting. Readers will find it greatly informative!