- Parenting looks different in every culture around the world.
- There is no perfect, fool-proof way to raise children, but there are certain parenting strategies that other cultures implement that others can adopt, like teaching children about optimism.
- Here are 7 things people do to raise their kids in other countries that Australians could learn from.
There really is no perfect, fool-proof way to raise children, according to Mei-Ling Hopgood, author of “How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting.”
Parents do the best they can, which is different for everyone based on culture, values, and beliefs, but there’s no “best” way to do X, Y, or Z in parenting, Hopgood told Business Insider.
What matters most is choosing parenting strategies and advice that work for you and your family. You can certainly adopt different ideas from different cultures, said Hopgood, who is a mother herself. She spent lots of time researching parenting strategies across the world for her book. “I took what I wanted and left what didn’t seem to fit me,” she said.
Here are a few unique strategies used to raise children across the world that you might want to adopt as part of your parenting routine.
1. In Denmark, parents reframe negative situations into positive ones
Danish parents oftenreframe negative emotions or events more positivelyin order to teach their children about optimism, according to “The Danish Way of Parenting.” Instead of telling children where they need to improve, they focus onfostering positivity in their childrenby showing them how they can improve upon what they’re already good at.
2. In the Polynesian islands, older children take care of younger children
In Polynesia, the burden of parenting doesn’t just fall to the parents, butto the older siblings as well. Even kids as young as pre-school age help out, NPR reports.
3. In Argentina, bedtime isn’t strict
In Australia, many parents ensure their little ones are tucked in by a certain time. Parents in Argentina, however, tend to have a more laid-back view of bedtime, Hopgood said. “Kids need to be part of evening family [activities], even if they go late, because the meals are later there,” she said. This parenting practicehappens in Spain, too.
4. In France, parents teach children that food is something to be enjoyed
Hopgood said one thing parents in France often do is teach children that mealtime is enjoyable rather than a hurried task, like many meals in Australia. In addition, French parents adopt a more relaxed attitude at mealtime instead of forcing children to eat certain things. “Eat the rich foods, try the things we’re trying, or don’t,” Hopgood said of the French parent’s mindset.
5. In Japan, many parents trust their children to take public transportation alone
In certain countries, Hopgood said parents are more willing to trust their children – both out of custom and necessity.
For example, young children in Japan often take the train for long periods of time and go to school by themselves. Japanese parents still have technology to get in touch with and/or track their children, but there is a level of trust that is often lacking in Australia, Hopgood said. Some parents in Japan even let their children run errands togetherwithout an accompanying parent.
6. In Vietnam, children are often potty trained by 9 months old
Some Asian countries, like Vietnam and China, potty train their children at about9 months old. According to one study, Vietnamese parents use a particular whistling sound as a cue to “remind” their babies to relieve themselves.
This parenting tactic shows that despite the fact that many children in Australiaaren’t potty trained until 3 years old, they’re often capable of learning earlier.
7. In China, grandparents play a crucial role in parenting
In China, grandparents often live with their children and grandchildren, and therefore play a more active role in their upbringing. Where parents in other countries might hire a babysitter to watch their children, parents in China often rely on other family members, such as grandparents.
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