For most of us, parenting is no picnic, and when it is a picnic, it’s sunny for five minutes before your picnic compatriots start spitting out your food and throwing it at you. And then the rain begins to pour.
Most of us need all the help we can get. And so, we’ve scoured the globe in search of parenting advice, considering the wide spectrum, it seems that an open mind is key.
In Japan, children as young as six years old go to school unaccompanied. Although they’re expected to excel on the academic front, at home extreme attachment parenting is commonly practised. In many cases this is how affection is shown, rather than through overt hugging and kissing. This is according to an article in TIME entitled How to Parent like the Japanese Do. It explains how Japanese children are expected to be independent from a young age. After all, parents are training children to look after themselves. Not known for their tendency to procrastinate, perhaps the Japanese are simply getting ahead on instilling a sense of independence.
In an article on TED Ideas, Amy S. Choi explores How Cultures Around the World Think About Parenting. She suggests that in the United States parents are generally after the latest strategies and theories on parenting advice, a tendency fuelled by a belief that a child’s destiny is in the hands of his or her parents. If we can determine a child’s future, we tend to think we can control it. This desire to control underlying American parenting is likely to have led to what’s now commonly called “helicopter parenting”, an overprotective parenting style in which a mum, dad or both, are intricately involved in their children’s day-to-day activities. In practice, the strategy puts pressure on both child and parent, as well as the parents’ relationship. However, it’s easy to see how the intentions come from a caring place. In a competitive culture parents want their kids to thrive. They want “to raise the happiest, most successful, and the most well-adjusted leaders of the future.” Citing one study, she notes that when mothers were asked where they got their parenting advice, none mentioned their own mothers, instead they listed websites, books and friends, all in the name of finding the very best way to do things. But a quick look around shows there’s simply no single way.
A Quartz article believes the solution to helicopter parenting can be found in French parenting methods, which generally leave a little more room between the parent and the schoolroom. “Moms and dads are sensibly kept at an arm’s length, dropping their little treasures at the door as early as 8:20 a.m and only returning at 4:40 p.m or later to pick them up.” Interestingly, the article suggests that the duty of helicopter parenting in the States “exploits the unpaid labour of (mostly) moms… If your offspring attends a good public elementary school, you will pay dearly for it with your time and money, if not your professional aspirations.” The article poses the possibility of “paying higher taxes to fund better education and childcare instead of taking advantage of moms.”
Returning to the parenting advice shared in the TED Ideas article, we see that countries like Norway and Spain are doing it differently too.
Although parents receive nearly a year of state-sponsored leave that provides ample support for parent-infant attachment to take place, from one-year’s old, most children join state-sponsored daycare as “Norwegians believe that it is better for children to be in daycare as toddlers. At daycare, methods reflect the country’s fetishistic dedication to fresh air.”
In Spain, “the social and interpersonal aspects of child development” are of utmost importance. Unlike many countries where kids commonly go to bed as early as 6.30 p.m, in Spain children join in the evening festivities, as the Spanish believe it would be a loss for the children to miss out on the delights of family time over balmy evening meals.
For those who care to experience the laidback and sociable style of Spanish parenting, consider the possibilities of a family holiday in the Costa Blanca at one of our family-friendly Calpe hotels. Our extensive portfolio of Calpe hotels and resorts cater especially for families looking for a warm and friendly environment to spend quality time together.