Parenting: The Global Approach

23 May

I was talking to a Russian Mum in the park last week, we were talking in English as my Russian isn’t what it used to be. I noticed that her little girl seemed to be wearing no nappy. I gently brought this up with Mum, maybe she forgot to put it on, and she explained that it’s not uncommon to potty train from 6 months in Russia. She went on to point out that at that age the child can’t get up and make last dash for freedom, that the child is quite happy to sit on the potty for longer periods of time (like a Bumbo with an extra dimension) and that ‘no’ and tantrums are not yet part of the vocabulary and by the time they are the child is already used to the potty. Bloody hell, the Russians are onto something, I think if I had my time all over again I might actually have tried that.
This made me wonder what other parenting gems are hidden away overseas and bereft of anything better to do I embarked on a little research.

In Japan when two children are having a blue the parents will often let them battle it out like a couple of gladiators. Turns out they are not sadists and there is no gambling involved, they are letting the two children reach a point where they can settle their disputes between themselves rather than always having their parent manage them. Not sure I’ll try that one, Max has got acquainted to me bailing him out.

Apparently Aka Pygmy fathers who hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo are some of the most committed fathers on the planet taking on a whopping 50% of the responsibility of care. Not only will they take the babies out on hunts with the boys, they also offer the baby their nipples (tried it it doesn’t work). Go Aka Pygmies!

In Mayan villages, children are expected to participate in family work at a very young age. From the time they walk, they contribute to household productivity, not for fun but real genuine child labour help. Apparently the little mites even like it making them feel useful and proud that they are contributing. This is definitely an approach I will be trying with Max, the car needs a good clean and the oven is filthy.

In Australia we have the ‘dummy fairy’ and lots of sleep deprivation but in Denmark there are trees at the local parks where toddlers can hang their dummies from branches as a ceremonial way to say goodbye. It looks fairly attractive I suppose and it sounds good in theory but I wonder how many times a child goes to the dummy tree and returns with a fistful of ‘new’ dummies to try out?
The French feed their bubs stinky cheese and mussels, such a cliché. Korean children throw their teeth onto the roof of their house and make a wish, sneaky Korean parents saving money on tooth fairies. And in Sweden 2 of the 13 months full paid parental leave must be taken by the father, kerching!

And finally I have just finished booking my flights to emigrate to the Polynesian Island after discovering that parents hand over their just walking bubs to local children or siblings to learn some of the skills of parenting like changing nappies and feeding. Presumably the parents gather round for a group hug and a congratulatory high five or two before retiring to their hammocks for a siesta.

Have you stumbled across any international parenting tips you’d care to share? Will any of the tips above make it into your repertoire?

Flogging my blog with Grace at With Some Grace


22 Responses to “Parenting: The Global Approach”

  1. Villanueva May 23, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    In the Philippines, instead of nappy or diaper babies are wearing “lampin” and “bigkis”
    Bigkis is a belt cloth usually wrapped around the waist of the baby to cover the navel/umbilical cord and to avoid spasms while the “lampin” is diaper look like but it’s a cloth and you can wash it after using. 🙂

    • daddownunder May 23, 2013 at 3:17 am #

      Thanks for sharing Chris, I might have to import some lampins and see if I can create a market in Australia : )

      • Villanueva May 23, 2013 at 3:26 am #

        hehee, I don’t if lampin is marketable aside that it’s a plain cloth, no design and usually made of flour sack (cloth) I bet you don’t want to wash it after the pee and poop, just imagine the inconvenience it may bring.

  2. Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions May 23, 2013 at 4:33 am #

    Fascinating Matt! It’s always interesting what other parents do differently to me, let alone those from other countries. I actually have a couple of friends who start potty training from around 6 months and swear by it. I am seriously considering it for the next one!

    • daddownunder May 23, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      It makes total sense doesn’t it? It’s got to be worth a go, save a fortune in nappies too

      • Wendy May 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

        Hey Matt, look into MCN’s if you want to save a fortune in nappies 😉

      • daddownunder May 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

        I thought about it this time Wendy but settled for convenience maybe next time I will be brave

  3. onemumsadventure May 23, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I think it just shows how ineptly diverse we are as parents when counted with the culture we are born into.Nick was brought up differently due to his dad being from Geneva,and they did do things in a vastly different way then how I was raised.
    Thanks for sharing this!

    • daddownunder May 23, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      What sort of things go on in Geneva Jessi? The potty training trick sounds like it would work

  4. yinyangmother May 23, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Chinese kids wear ‘split pants’ and it is quite acceptable for them to wee/pee in the street. I am not entirely sure what happens when they do No 2’s. When we adopted our son we (unfortunately) ended up in the emergency department of a children’s hospital in a large Chinese city. Someone forgot to tell them about hygience (in the waiting areas at least). Split pants applied even in hospital corridors. It wasn’t exactly comforting in the circumstances (our baby son was OK).

    • daddownunder May 23, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      I’m glad he was okay. That’s crazy that the split pant thing happens in the hospitals, thanks for sharing.

  5. Kevin May 24, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    I’m thinking there’s a potential market in toddler wrestling…

    • daddownunder May 24, 2013 at 6:38 am #

      Can I come in? 50/50 straight down the middle

  6. Kevin May 24, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    yeah – we might need to get a Waterhouse involved. Maybe one to train the toddlers and another to handle the betting. (Look at me getting all topical)

  7. Have a laugh on me May 24, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Thankfully No.3’s dummy went when No.2’s did – (during the fun of Xmas). Other than that Matt – I have nothing smart to say – because it’s FUG ALL FRIDAY (see my blog today) and so I don’t give a fug! Em xx

  8. Lara at This Charming Mum May 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I do think there are lots of over protective, uptight and unproductive things going on here in the west (loose use of the term) – but I’m too exhausted most of the time to make any major changes! We could certainly learn a few things from elsewhere. I’m loving the sound of that Mayan work ethic!

    • daddownunder May 25, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks Lara and you’re absolutely right change is a bit scary when things are sort of working. I don’t know where the Mayans live but I’d love to pop over for a little play date with Max ; )

  9. Poppy May 24, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Another Scandinavian parenting trick is to put the babies from very young age in the pram and let them sleep outside, on the balcony, in the garden, outside a caffe, no matter the weather. If it is very cold (which happens quite often in these countries), babies are wrapped up very nice and warm. They are always accompanied by a baby alarm, so parents know if they are awake. Even in daycare they sleep outside in huge, massive, wooden prams. For me it seemed a bit harsh of a treatment at first, but now I am very used to it, I find it healthy and almost got addicted to it with my second child. My English brother-in-law also asked my advice about it when expecting their first baby with his Danish wife. Apparently he also found it shocikg at first and thought it might be dangerous for the baby. He doesn’t have any problems with it anymore.
    It is very different from Hungary, where I grew up, and where for example parents don’t dare to take their newborn babies outside of their homes at all in the first few weeks.

    • daddownunder May 25, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      I don’t know why I like the sound of that Poppy but I do. You’re right it does strike me as being something that would be healthy, I like my air fresh too I’d rather wrap up than turn the heating on. Maybe just maybe I ca talk Mrs Under into trialling that if next time ever happens.

  10. mamagrace71 May 27, 2013 at 5:03 am #

    Oh, I love the idea of hanging your dummy up! We made a special ritual of going out to the garbage bin and saying good by and throwing them out.
    In Indonesia, kids run amok during dinner time while their nannies hold a plate of food and try to spoon feed them.
    I swore I’d never do that before children. Reality is, I do it at least twice a week. Depending on how much I’m up to dealing with the dinner table battles.

    • daddownunder May 27, 2013 at 5:17 am #

      Its funny I think we all take a little bit of our own experiences of childhood and work that into our own parenting. It doesn’t sound too dissimilar to meal times in our house to be fair. Thanks for sharing Grace

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