What international parenting style do you most identify with?
The German mothers who let their kids walk home alone from school? The French mothers who don’t pick their babies up when they cry or the Chinese parents who don’t allow their children playdates.
From “French Children don’t throw food” to the Chinese Tiger Mum, we are bombarded with clichés about worldwide parenting styles.
Like everything, I am sure there are exceptions to the rule, but the cultural stereotypes persevere and make us Aussie mums wonder where do Australian parents stack up in the international mix?
An article in Time Magazine, “How to parent like a German” is currently making us all envious of mothers in the Fatherland – apart from their gorgeous landscapes and ready access to delicious strudels, it turns out they have a parenting style to be envious of.
Contrary to popular assumptions that Germans are strict and authoritarian the writer says that instead, German parents are remarkably laid back.
According to Sara Zaske mothers in Germany, “place a high value on independence and responsibility.”
She says, “those parents at the park weren’t ignoring their children; they were trusting them. Berlin doesn’t need a ‘free range parenting’ movement because free range is the norm.”
Children in Germany frequently walk to school alone and academic study isn’t encouraged until they have mastered the art of playing.
In kindergarten reading isn’t taught at all.
She says, “Our grade school provides a half-day of instruction interrupted by two (two!) outdoor recesses. But don’t think this relaxed approach means a poor education: According to a 2012 assessment by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, German 15-year-olds perform well above the international average when it comes to reading, math and science while their more pressured American counterparts lag behind.”
It’s a common thread of such articles – a comparison between the behaviour and education of children country to country.
France’s children have a reputation for being well mannered, well behaved and for eating what they are given.