Thursday, July 11, 2013

Parenting Without Borders: A Book Review

My second book about parenting around the globe was not as entertaining as the first, but it provided some more good information on various issues that all parents face. More of a research edition with less autobiographical examples and more studies & interviews, the harsh reality of American parenting faux pas were exposed. In some ways, I felt as if the author was not a fan of our culture at all. Though as time went on I came to realize that she was merely showing the differences in societies across the world through a new lens.

Broken into four parts, Parenting Without Borders gives us another look into the worries & wonders of parenthood.

  • Part One: Caring & Feeding for Children
    • Sleep- only in America is co-sleeping a tsk, tsk and baby night wakings frowned upon; research shows that babies/children who are cuddled during sleep time early on turn out to be more independent
    • Stuff- too many choices have a negative impact on us; we often believe that more material things equal happiness; in Japan less equals more and in France excess "stuff" is considered gluttony
    • Food- educating our children is key; meal time should be a pleasure; allowing our children the absolute freedom to choose whatever they want to eat can have consequences
  • Part Two: Raising Children
    • Self Esteem- we need to teach our children that the effort they put in is greater than the result; making mistakes & failing is OK and should be recognized as it means growth; false praise of our kids can actually hurt their self-esteem; empower our children to know that they can do things on their own
    • Self Control- hovering parents cause kids to rebel and lash out because they don't need to have self-control if you are doing everything for them
    • Play- unstructured playtime is an essential part of growing up; there is no race to grow up so allowing for free time to be creative & grow is part of learning; the great outdoors is a magical place to grow
  • Part Three: Teaching Children
    • Pressure- in the Asian culture, there is an intense academic regime that accounts for almost all of a child's day; there children see their dedication to learning as a sign of love to their parents; in Finland they offer a variety of subjects to build creative thinking & entrepreneur spirits; there they adjust education to fit the needs of the student and there is no such thing as a special needs student
  • Part Four: Character of Children
    • Kindness- a lack of manners inhibits kindness in children; babies are born kind and react to situations with that kindness in their heart & soul; parents should foster that innate kindness through teaching children manners
    • Responsibility- in todays world we have less expectations of our kids & their abilities to perform chores/tasks; we also lack the patience to let them try & make mistakes; we are inhibiting them from growing as well-rounded people
All in all, Parenting Without Borders reminds us as parents that there is no right or wrong way to be a parent to your child so long as you love them. Love them for who they are and for who they will become.

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