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First published in 1928, the book launched Mead as a pioneering researcher and as the most famous anthropologist in the world.

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After birth, however, Mead describes how children are mostly ignored, for girl children sometimes explicitly ritually ignored, after birth up to puberty.She describes the various methods of disciplining children.Most involve some sort of corporal punishment such as hitting with hands, palm fronds, or shells.It is instructive to know that standards differ in the most unexpected ways.Boas went on to point out that, at the time of publication, many Americans had begun to discuss the problems faced by young people (particularly women) as they pass through adolescence as "unavoidable periods of adjustment".

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