15 Apr

Parenting styles across the world

I’m always wary of generalizations. I certainly am completely usually uninterested in how other people parent and do my best to not get involved in parenting discussions, because there is a lot of fucking crazy out there. But a lot of people are shocked by how early our twins go to bed, and this article at The Atlantic caught my interest about the difference in Dutch parenting and American. We lean a bit more toward Dutch:

“‘Many parents stressed the importance of a regular schedule, including a set time for both meals and bed. As one mother of an 18-month-old explained: ‘To bed on time, because they really need rest to grow, and regularity is very important when they are so little. If she gets too little rest, she is very fussy.’ A mother of a 6-month-old commented, ‘We are very strict about going to bed – at 6:30, upstairs.”

Apparently, it works. The authors noted that the children of Dutch parents were consistently more calm, existing more frequently in a state of ‘quiet alert,’ while American babies were more often ‘actively alert.'”

(Via How Parents Around the World Describe Their Children, in Charts – Olga Khazan – The Atlantic.)

I have no idea if what we do is better, but having the strict schedule and an early bedtime that’s been on the clock since birth seems to allow us as parents an evening together that’s quiet and low key.

The main way to tell if this works is to observe what happens when our kids go off schedule (which sometimes happen). And our kids start loosing their affable groove.

I also found some of this stuff in French parenting interesting (and something I’m trying to be mindful about, training myself to model and teach the kids to not be interruptive and not to respond):

Like, don’t let the kids interrupt, and conversely, you shouldn’t interrupt them. It’s a small change, that you can make that, for me, at least, over time radically changed my quality of life. I think kids in France, and certainly in my household, don’t necessarily stop interrupting when you tell them, but they gradually become more aware of other people and that means that you can have the expectation of finishing a conversation. And not being able to finish a conversation or a thought or a cup of coffee is a frequent problem that people in America take for granted is not going to go away.

I tend not to talk about this stuff too much. While the twins have been fun, I find the worst part of parenting to be other opinionated parents and the cult of parenthood who can’t conceive that there are many different ways to an endpoint.