I am so excited to once again work with Zara Lewis. She wrote a blog for me a few months ago. It was so well received that when she offered to write another post, I jumped at the chance. I hope you like it. Please read, comment and share.
For the longest time, I based my parenting beliefs mostly on what I experienced in my own home and that of my husband’s habits as well. It felt natural to continue the traditions of what our own society perceives as normal and accepted, without resorting to unusual ways of other cultures across the globe.
Still, I became curious as I came across many intriguing stories, and I decided to make the most of other societies’ parenting methods, adapted to our own living circumstances. Let’s embark on a journey through cultural diversity in raising kids.
The freedom of Finland
The western norm of helicopter parenting assumes that we need to spend every waking moment of our time frantically doing everything for our kids. This includes making meals, preparing snacks, reminding them of homework assignments, setting aside their clean clothes and so on. Yet, in most of the Scandinavian cultures, parents create a positive atmosphere in which kids develop a strong sense of independence and responsibility.
From a very early age, Finnish kids go to school on their own, make their own meals and do homework without their parents’ pushing or reminding them. Sounds great right! So, what can we do to help our children do the same?
From an early age, finish children are given hours of independent free play every day. They actually have fewer school hours and more hours to play.
The best way to have independent children to give our kids opportunities to exercise their freedom. This can be done by letting them walk to school alone, letting them chose what to wear or letting them experience natural consequences when they don’t complete their homework.
Independence is a something priceless that we can use to teach our kids. Not only will they value their time but it will help them cope with the challenges of growing up and be more prepared for the future.
The respect in Asia
The cultures of China and South Korea differ greatly from what you can find in many other corners of the world. Perhaps the most crucial aspect that makes their parenting different from others is teaching respect towards the elders in the family, including parents and grandparents.
Families in Asia often live all together in the same house and take equal part in raising the kids. This dynamic gives the youngsters more than two grownups to look up to and treat with respect.
Most of us don’t live in the same house as our parents. How can we instil this respect for their family and the elderly?
The best way to teach our children to respect the elderly is by spending time as a family with the elderly. We can sit with them and listen to their stories. When we meet elderly people at the store, we can treat them with respect and kindness. Our children learn best by example. If they see us treating our families and elderly people with respect then they are more likely to do the same.
The nature-loving Australia
Living in Australia, I’ve grown to love its many customs and traditions. Most traditions are nature-oriented, and for a good reason. Australia is a land of pristine nature and wildlife. People here have learned to pass on their innate appreciation for all things that are natural, organic and pure to their kids in various forms of behaviour.
They teach their kids gratitude and respect towards all living things by owning and taking care of pets. Parents in Australia teach their children the importance of spending time outside by surrounding by nature. Parents here don’t fear letting their kids play on the ground, and they teach children about their environment through uninstructed play. By creating a strong bond to nature and living things, children treat the earth with greater respect and care.
Some of these things are easy to duplicate in North America. Instead of spending time indoors, we should be spending more time outdoors enjoying nature and the world around us. We can teach our children that they impact the living things around them by teaching them about the life cycle and recycling.
The acceptance of Africa
Among so many African traditions regarding raising kids, I’ve come across one that has particular relevance for our modern age. In one African tribe, every child has their own song that is sung to them from conception, for them that is as soon as the mother envisions the baby in her mind and all the way to their death. The entire village learns the song and sings it on every relevant occasion.
Not only do they sing this song often, but they use it in a unique way. When a child makes a mistake or commits a crime as an adult, the whole tribe sings their song. The tribe gathers together and sings this song to remind them of the unique qualities the child possesses, the good they have done thus far and uses love and acceptance instead of punishment. The community uses this song to honour the child’s identity and teach them kindness and love.
This practice encourages me to use meaningful words to teach identity and responsibility to my kids. Giving our children a sense of self and acceptance may help them live a better life.
Parenthood is a journey with many challenges. As we strive to raise our children based on our own society’s norms, we have yet to learn from other cultures that have a different yet valuable insight into a child’s identity.
Maybe if we manage to blend all of this wonderful wisdom into a collective pool of knowledge, we can give our kids with the most valuable guidance this world has to offer. This will help our kids become the best people they can be.
What have you learned about parenting from different cultures?? Please comment below.
Originally posted 2017-06-05 04:01:55.