Parents and children in different cultures – Part I

By on January 11, 2017

Today I chose to write about something apart, something different. I’ve recently started reading How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere… by Mei- Ling Hopgood, an excellent book translated in many languages, with a good sense of humor and a lot of inspirational adventures!

The book consists of a tour of global practices that will inspire parents all over the world to expand their horizons (and even the geographical ones) and learn that there’s more than only one way to feed or diaper a baby.

Mei-Ling Hopgood is a mom from suburban Michigan who is living now in Buenos Aires. The book starts with the moment when she was absolutely shocked that Argentine parents allow their children to stay up until all hours of the night. Driven by a journalist’s curiosity and a new mother’s desperation for answers, Hopgood embarked on a journey to learn how other cultures approach the challenges all parents face: bedtimes, potty training, feeding, teaching, and more.

by Colin Maynard

Through this book, Mei-Ling shows us a world of new ideas, sharing her and other parents’ experiences in different cultural contexts. The Chinese potty training, the way Kenyans wear their babies in colorful cloth slings, how French are experts at turning their babies into healthy eaters are just some of the main situations she considered a good opportunity to learn.

In the end is all about how to be a good parent. Reading this book I discovered the fact that it can be, for sure, an inspirational source for parents and wannabe parents, and not only. Each and every one of us will find a message that will inspire and guide him or her, bringing a lot of value in his or her life.  

by Danielle Macinnes

And now some fun facts about parenthood in other cultures:

  • In Norway, childhood is strongly institutionalized: most children enter state-sponsored daycare at 1 year old, after they go to school and get involved in different activities.
  • Both in Japan and Norway, parents are focused on cultivating independence. This is why children do things alone early, like walking to school, going to the movies etc.
  • In many Asian nations, parents, from a very early age, focus on academics and college acceptance.
  • For Dutch parents, regularly scheduled rest, food and a pleasant environment are the top priorities.
  • In Spain, families value social and interpersonal aspects of child development, this is why, children participate in family life in the evenings, going to bed late in the night.
  • The same studies show that, in the U.S., parents want their children to be Korean and Dutch and Japanese and Norwegian and Spanish, all at once. 🙂

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