Parenting around the world

“We do not have a handbook to go by and we may make mistakes, but we do our best to do what we think is best for you.”

Possibly slightly paraphrased; my father’s reason for why my parents would not allow me out one evening, during my teenage years. I do not have kids myself, but I do come in contact with parents on a daily basis, many of which are from different countries. I love this part of my job! ❤  It is true that every family has its own parenting ways, some are down to individuals and others according to nationality and customs. But, one thing all parents have in common, no matter where they come from, is their desire to do what is best for their child.

It is interesting how different cultures affect parenting.  What might be the norm for one culture, can be completely unheard of elsewhere. Read on to find out some fun facts about parenting around the world.

Potty training in China

Believe it or not, in China they start toilet training babies in the first few weeks of their lives. They use a low whistle or similar sound and hold the baby over the potty or sink or wherever when they judge infant is ready to go. This conditions babies to go only when they hear this sound.

image: amazon.com

image: amazon.com

Baby in a pram

Kenyan mothers do not use prams to take their babies on walks. Instead they carry their babies on their backs. Not only because it’s convenient in a country full of dirt roads, but also because it is comforting for the baby to be close to the mother.

40 days

In Greece, it is believed to be unsafe for the baby and mother to leave the house for 40 days after the baby is born. This is in order to avoid infections as well as to allow time for the mother to recover from the birth. It’s a practice that is not carried out as strictly any longer, especially from younger mothers. Children will often wear a little blue bead with a black dot inside of it to protect them from the evil eye, adults will also be seen wearing them.

image: evileyestore.com

Parental leave from work

In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave, when a child is born or adopted. Of those, 90 are reserved for the father. The aim of Sweden’s gender equality policies is to ensure that women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life. I wish other countries would follow this, too. When I visited Sweden, I was amazed to see fathers with prams, spending quality time with their children and establishing an even stronger bond. A fourteen year study has shown a direct link between father and baby and the long term mental well-being of the child.

Grandparents

Today the role of the grandparent differs massively depending on where you are. For instance, Native American grandparents play a huge role in raising their grandchildren and educating them in cultural ways. It is more of a cultural norm for Italian and Asian grandparents to live with the family. In Shanghai, China, 90% of children are looked after by one grandparent. In the west, many grandparents help out financially and with childcare.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Bibliography:

Planet Parent, Mark Woods

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, Mei-Ling Hopgood.

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