Several readers wonder if the term “parenting style” in my recent posts includes the complete absence of a parent. Yes it does–sorry I didn’t make this clearer, and I actually should have said something like “childhood home and family environment.” And that, of course, is where we started, with Rich’s column.
So far as evolution can be appealed to, by the way (and how far that is, is of course debatable), I have seen somewhere that in the kinds of hunter-gatherer societies that the modern brain mostly evolved in across those “long slow millennia,” a child’s chance of having both parents still alive at his tenth birthday was about one in three. (“Nasty, brutish, and short,” remember.) It would therefore be highly peculiar for the personality-development process NOT to have some built-in allowances & compensations for only one parent being present.