Parenting is a biological as well as a cultural project. Based in universal predispositions parenting strategies have emerged that are suited to best prepare the offspring for competence in a particular environment. Following the ecocultural model of development (Keller and Kärtner, 2013), environments in terms of milieus of sociodemographic variables can be identified which are associated with different socialisation strategies. In particular the embodiment of two universal human needs, which represent cultural values at the same time – autonomy and relatedness – characterise different images of infancy and childhood. In this presentation, three different environments with the respective cultural milieus will be portrayed: Western middle class families, subsistence based farmers and non-Western middle class families. It is apparent from birth on that different cultural milieus emphasise different socialisation goals, framed in different beliefs and practices. Developmental consequences of these different developmental trajectories will be briefly outlined. Practical implications for health and educational services in multicultural societies are discussed.
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