Parenting is a hotly debated, often scrutinized, and painfully subjective practice. Nearly every country believes their parenting styles are the “right” way, but I honestly don’t believe that was truly exists. It would be hard to imagine subscribing fully to being a Tiger Mom, a Bringing up Bébé, or authoritarian.
Since I am going to some day have to chip in for my children’s therapy anyway, I might as well bring to you the top five ideas we should at least consider borrowing from our European neighbors. After all, all of us have the same goal in mind, right? We all want to raise happy, well adjusted, and amazing humans!
- Let’s borrow from the Dutch and have Dad be involved more. This is something that we have adopted in our home! My husband is the recognized parent for our daughter’s cheerleading and our son’s preschool. He is my equal, and he doesn’t need me to follow behind him making sure it is done right. In short, having a true partner in crime to raise children makes the task light years easier!
2. The Italian believe life and family is to be celebrated. We have all seen the stereotype played out of the Italian mother fussing over her dearest child being too cold or not fed enough. There is a certain love language being played out here. That language is time. The entire family, not just the nuclear family, is close and a central focus of life. With so much disconnectedness, this parenting style seems to be of critical importance.
3. My ex-husband was from Sweden, and as a result, we spent a fare amount of time visiting there. While our relationship may have not panned out, the one thing that did stick around is fredagsmys! The Swedes are known for close relationships between parents and children. I will let the Urban Dictionary describe fredagsmys for you.
“Fredagsmys is pretty much the most holy tradition of Sweden. The word origins from two words; “fredag” and “mys”, which roughly translates to Friday and cozy. Every Friday, all Swedes drive by the supermarket to buy ingredients for taco, soda and chips. Then, they all sit down in their sofas with their families or friends and watch telly. Usually, the parents fall asleep after a few glasses of wine or beer while the kids stuff themselves with chips until they have a stomach ache.”
I’m pretty sure the word fredagsmys was created just for me!
4. The Germans strive to raise self reliant children. It’s clear that independence is taught and not intrinsic. Let’s just say that I believe that the time for learning how to take care of yourself shouldn’t be in the laundry room your freshman year of college! So, if you don’t like what I have made for dinner, perhaps you should make your own abendbrot!
5. Pinterest perfect parties just aren’t a thing in Ireland! I am equally as guilty of having over the top birthday parties for my children. After our daughter’s diagnosis, we knew we wouldn’t have nearly enough birthdays to celebrate with her. We made them HUGE to make up for that! The truth is two fold, nothing is ever going to make up for it and she would have been content with far less.
So, let’s tear a page out of the Irish playbook and not set the bar so darn high for our children. Let’s let them learn to be happy with less and to create their own magic!