A while back, I wrote about my favorite birth practices from all over the world, and I think you greatly enjoyed it (even if your ideas about a good birth is may have differed from mine), and decided to do a similar post about what I consider to be globally inspired best parenting practices. Sometimes I think that if we just took all the parenting practices that certain countries really succeed at, and applied them to our children, we would have the perfect kids.
1) They would eat like the French
They would eat their vegetables with a smile, and end each meal with “Merci maman, for this delicious food.” Of course they would, you will have already installed in them a reverence for the frame as well a healthy fear of the Big Eyes. Oh and the French are also very well behaved. As for me, I say “oui!” If you’re not familiar with these terms, check out Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting).
2) They would be educated like the Finnish
Finland has the best schools in the world, so if we want our kids to have high quality education (even though kids there don’t learn to read and write until they’re 7 years old), we could do one of two things: either send your child to a school in Finland or have Finish school come to us. Since any of these options is not doable for most of us, we’ll just have to be happy with what we have. But a girl can dream!
3) They would be potty trained early like the Chinese
Apparently in China, parents start potty training very early, even as early as a few months old. My kids weren’t potty trained until they were around 3 years old, but wouldn’t it be nice to be done with it even earlier? My only problem is that it looks like so much work and I am lazy…Maybe I should have gone the American route and hired a professional to help my kids with potty training.
4) They would take risks and always be outside like the Germans
In Germany, parents are not risk-averse. There are plenty of dangerous playgrounds, and parents are not afraid to have their children play with knives, or any other dangerous objects. Germans also love it when their children play outside. Outside is good for the kids. It would allow me to stay inside and read my book.
5) They would be independent like Japanese kids
Japanese kids walk to school alone. I would love it if my kids went by themselves anywhere, but their school is on the other side of the town and it takes a while to get there. But I honestly can’t wait until they’re big enough to go places without me having to accompany them.
6) They would be feminists like Swedish kids
Sweden is as close to a feminist paradise as one can get: women’s rights are fiercely protected, kids are encouraged to play with dolls and cars, regardless of gender and fathers get generous leave after the birth of a child. It’s a fantasy but definitely something to consider for our sons and daughters.
7) Have a routine like the Dutch
Nurse: “Does she have a routine?” Me: “I don’t even know what that means.” But the Dutch parenting philosophy relies on the 3 R’s: rust, regelmaat and reinigkeid ( calm, routine and cleanliness). I was able to fulfill none of these. I know routines can be great for kids, they just never happened for us.
8) Multilingual like South Africans
South Africa boosts the highest number of official languages, and most South Africans are multilingual (the same can be said about India). As I am proud to add, I think I’m doing quite well here… although now I’m thinking to maybe add one more language or two…
9) Outgoing like Latino kids
Someone told me Latino kids are very outgoing (Latino parents have a more collectivist worldview, in which relationships between people are very important), which is nice because I am most certainly not. So a socially adept kid is my dream because she can entertain the other adults while I can hide and read my book. The only problem: an outgoing kid will take me to socializing events. I’d rather stay at home and read books. But it would also have the additional advantage of helping me get out of my shell.
10) Confident like American kids
Last but not least, American kids are said to be very confident and sure of themselves. After all, there is so much criticism of American parenting I don’t think that any other nation cares so much about their children’s self-esteem and confidence. That’s a good thing, right? Believing in oneself can work wonders!
You can read such stories (and so many more!) in our upcoming book, “Knocked Up Abroad Again” but we need your support to make it happen. You can support the Kickstarter campaign here.