Norway seems to understand raising children is no joke. That’s why they help out the parents so much. From the start, it’s free to give birth in Norway. Compare this to the cost in the United States, which is around $18,000. Kindergarten is around $300 per month, healthcare for children is free, and when your children are sick, your job will give you sick leave, too. That way, you can take care of your baby. To top it all off each parent gets 49 weeks of parental leave, with 100 percent of their normal pay.
Your child doesn’t need a nanny, as the parent can easily leave work and bring their kid to the doctor or dentist. They have a strange custom, though, and that’s leaving their baby outside. It’s common practice in Norway, and Scandinavia in general, to leave your baby outside for health benefits, even in below-freezing weather. Parents believe this reduces their risk of catching a cold and helps strengthen their immune system (The Norway Guide).
If your child is sick in Sweden, the government will pay you 80% of your salary to stay home and take care of them. And that’s just the start of the benefits. In 1979, the government passed a law that banned spanking, and instead resort to talking and reasoning with their kids. What a difference that makes! Schools also let parents have flexible school drop-off and pick-up times. If your child is taking a long time to get ready in the morning, the Swedish government doesn’t mind. Raising a child like this gives them the freedom and ability to live a stress-less life, as compared to schools in other countries where you’re punished if you’re late.
Swedish parents will also leave their kids outside to take a nap. They believe the fresh air is good for them. If parents split their time evenly for maternity leave, they get a “gender equality bonus.” In Sweden, they love the outdoors so much that there’s a saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” They believe playing outside is part of raising a child. Fridays are for peak cuddle time and coziness, hence the Swedish saying, Fredagsmy. They have a casual attitude about nudity and gender revealing, and don’t put so much pressure on gender reveal parties as Americans do (Purewow).
The country itself faces social challenges, which affect parenting regarding safety. The environment may be challenging at times to raise a child, but parents are tough. There are large socioeconomic discrepancies when it comes to parenting, and there is a large gap between parents in low-income families and parents in high-income families. The biggest challenge in raising a child is poverty, affecting a child’s nutrition and home life. That’s why children in South Africa are typically independent from a very young age and learn how to grapple with a tough upbringing.
During an interview with Cup of Jo, Bongi Hill, who his parents in South Africa, said, “Mielie-meal pap (a corn porridge) and oat porridge have traditionally been used here for weaning babies. Pap is also a staple food for adults, often eaten with stews. But these days people are moving towards steamed, puréed vegetables as a first solid for babies. My son’s first solid was avocado; I only added porridge in the form of oats after vegetables and fruit. When babies and toddlers start teething, a lot of mothers will give them dried meats.” That’s a very big difference between the food that French children eat and the food that American children eat! (Cup of Jo).
In China, the measure of successful parenting often hinges on the academic achievements of one’s children. A significant proportion, approximately a quarter or even more, of a family’s income is commonly devoted to private tutors and prestigious schools. Academic success takes precedence over nearly everything else in this context. The intensity of parental involvement can be likened to helicopter parenting, yet it operates at an even more heightened level. Besides excelling academically, children are instilled with a deep-rooted value for respecting their elders, a core cultural tenet.
Parents take it upon themselves to meticulously structure their children’s routines, brimming with an array of activities such as golf, dance, English language learning, piano, and vocal lessons, all during their formative years. This regimen can be perceived as emblematic of an “authoritarian” parenting style, as noted by some researchers. Regrettably, this approach can also manifest as a withholding of affection or love in response to a child’s academic shortcomings, casting a shadow over the nurturing process. In essence, the concept of successful child-rearing in China intertwines rigorous academic attainment, respect for elders, and a discipline-driven approach, albeit with potential emotional repercussions. (Parenting Science).
Raising a child in Hong Kong shares similarities with the approach in mainland China, where a significant focus rests on the child’s academic triumphs. The educational atmosphere breeds competition among students, fostering a drive to excel within their peer groups and classes, contributing to a taxing environment for children. Concurrently, a deep-rooted value of filial piety prevails, underscoring the importance of honoring parents and elders. As children mature, this extends to the responsibility of caring for their parents and grandparents.
In Hong Kong, parents find themselves compelled to dedicate extended hours to work in order to provide for their children’s educational needs, often enlisting the aid of tutors. However, limited availability of daycare facilities means that domestic helpers play a crucial role in caring for children, reflecting the paramount significance placed on their assistance by Hong Kong parents. This blend of academic ambition, familial respect, and the logistical challenges surrounding childcare shapes the distinctive landscape of child-rearing in Hong Kong. (A Desiflava).
Scandinavian countries, united by their child-rearing philosophies, champion a shared approach to parenting. A central belief revolves around the idea that children should immerse themselves in the outdoors, regardless of chilly weather. This norm, typical of the broader Scandinavian context, is exemplified by the practice of leaving babies outside in their strollers, even during the colder months.
In Denmark, a distinctive facet of parenting is the encouragement of children to engage in unstructured play and unrestrained physical activity. This ethos is encapsulated by the term “hygge,” symbolizing the pursuit of coziness, particularly during the winter season. Family time, warmth, and a playful spirit form essential pillars of this nurturing paradigm. The flexibility of work schedules, culminating in relatively early workday conclusions (around three or four in the afternoon), empowers parents to actively participate in their children’s lives, facilitating school pickups and fostering a deeper familial connection. (Times of India).
Parenting in this Asian country is starkly different than raising a child in China or Taiwan. Several generations typically live under one roof, and both parents raise the children. Siblings often help as well. They place a high value on maintaining family connections with one another. Ciana Hardwick, a mother in Thailand, was interviewed about her practices and how she approaches raising a child with her Thai husband. For example, children often sleep with their mothers until their toddlers, and children have priority over their fathers!
Ciana said, “It’s very common for a family to sleep in the same room, although usually the mom will sleep with the baby and the dad will sleep on a mattress on the floor or even in another room. Thai mothers generally don’t want to be separated from their children, so that takes priority over the husbands.” She had few options for maternity clothing since Thai women don’t usually wear maternity clothes. They only switch to cute dresses with cartoons on them! (Cup of Jo).
Parents in Australia, listen up! Raising a child has never been easier, you can send your baby to sleep school. These centers are government subsidized to help new parents and babies learn a routine sleep schedule. You’ll also have set feeding and playtime routines for your babies. Compared to Americans, Australians have a more laid-back approach to parenting. Because adults have at least four weeks of vacation every year, they have more time to spend with their kids.
Sometimes, they even try “chucking a sickie,” which is when they take off without actually being sick. Finally, because most Australian cities are on the coast, parents will send their kids to swim school at a much earlier age. If you had a swimming race between an American baby and an Australian baby, there’s no question as to who would win (Insider).
Raising a child in Greece provides a unique blend of parenting dynamics, where parents can maintain their freedom and social lives. Late dining customs foster inclusive family meals, often involving children in the experience and even introducing them to alcohol at a young age. The Greek lifestyle encourages children to socialize with family until late hours, granting adolescents independence by thirteen and promoting respect for adults.
Parental devotion remains strong, offering parents significant influence over their children’s lives. The tradition of children staying in their parental homes well into adulthood reinforces family bonds, underscoring that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean leaving home. In Greece, child-rearing strikes a balance between personal freedom, familial closeness, and cultural traditions. (Cultural Atlas).
Japanese parenting is characterized by a rigorous approach often referred to as the “Tiger Mom” style, marked by strict rules, high academic expectations, and an emphasis on learning from mistakes. Infants predominantly spend time with their mothers while fathers focus on work. Children experience a royal treatment early on, yet as they approach fifteen, this dynamic often evolves into a more demanding upbringing, fostering resilience.
Throughout their upbringing, children remain closely dependent on their mothers, resulting in a lasting and unbroken bond. Additionally, co-sleeping is a common practice, aimed at nurturing emotional connections as children mature. This parenting ethos intertwines discipline, academic excellence, and familial closeness, ultimately shaping a distinct path to adulthood in Japan. (Japanese Diapers).
Raising a child in France centers on shared mealtimes, emphasizing healthy eating and familial togetherness. French parents prioritize sitting down with their children, teaching them to appreciate and savor their food, fostering a deeper understanding of nutrition and cultivating a more adventurous palate. This approach contributes to French children being less finicky eaters compared to their American peers. The French government’s robust support system, including childcare subsidies and maternity leave, underscores their commitment to family well-being.
Alix O’Neill’s experience in France highlights a unique perspective on motherhood, where women prioritize their identity as individuals alongside their roles as mothers, potentially enriching the child’s upbringing. This parenting style is marked by a flexible, day-by-day approach, allowing for intuitive decision-making and adaptable responses to the child’s needs. Overall, raising a child in France embodies a blend of culinary education, strong family bonds, and a holistic approach to parenting. (Marie Claire).
In Kenya, raising a child extends beyond the nuclear family, as the entire extended family participates in the upbringing. This communal approach is deeply ingrained, ensuring that experienced family members contribute to the child’s development. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings all play active roles, fostering a sense of never being alone in this African country.
Kenyan parents instill values of respect, a robust work ethic, and cooperation in their children, shaping their character and outlook. As parents age, the reciprocal care dynamic takes root, with children expected to support and care for their elders. This reflects the profound emphasis placed on respecting and honoring older generations in Kenyan society, reinforcing the interconnectedness of family relationships and the enduring cultural traditions that underpin child-rearing. (Cultural Atlas).
Taiwan incorporates an authoritative parenting approach akin to that of China. Children typically have later bedtimes, resembling practices in Hong Kong. Academic achievement is highly regarded as a foundation for future success, leading parents to apply significant pressure on their children’s school performance and engage them in numerous extracurricular activities. This education-centric environment is underpinned by the adoption of Confucian Values, emphasizing respect and duty.
Childhood in Taiwan is marked by unique traditions such as the cherished “zhua zhou” ceremony, where a baby selects their first toy from an array placed before them, symbolizing auspicious choices. The prevalence of bubble tea and these cultural rituals color the Taiwanese childhood experience. Furthermore, the country’s low birth rate prompts the provision of baby bonuses to new parents, reflecting a broader societal commitment to fostering a supportive environment for families. In essence, raising a child in Taiwan blends academic ambition, cultural traditions, and social policies aimed at nurturing the next generation. (Cup of Jo).
In Vietnam, an unconventional parenting method prevails, eschewing the need for diapers. Parents keenly observe their infants for signs of needing the toilet, such as crying, body cues, and facial expressions. Employing positive reinforcement, mothers use whistling to signal successful bathroom use, fostering a connection in the baby’s mind. Over time, this approach leads to early potty training, with babies often achieving independent toileting by around nine months of age. This contrasts sharply with the American norm, where diaper usage typically continues until children reach the age of three.
The Vietnamese approach not only reflects a pragmatic strategy for early toilet training but also underscores a cultural emphasis on close parental observation and engagement with the child’s needs. This practice stands as a distinct example of how diverse parenting methods can shape childhood experiences across different societies. (Science Daily).
In Bulgaria, a robust system of support for new parents is in place, granting mothers a remarkable 410 days of maternity leave. This extended leave is complemented by substantial financial assistance, with mothers receiving 90% of their regular pay both before and after childbirth. After the initial six months, this leave can be transferred to the child’s father. The caregiving landscape is further enriched by the active involvement of grandparents, who play a significant role in raising the child. Shared responsibilities are a hallmark of Bulgarian parenting, as duties are distributed among all family members.
Bulgarian parents prioritize their children’s well-being, ensuring they eat before engaging in play, often offering dishes like bread and lutenitsa. Cultural traditions also shape the parenting journey, as it is considered a rite of passage for a father to invite his child to dip a finger into his glass of rakia, a strong liquor. However, it’s important to note that discipline methods can vary, and while some Bulgarian parents might resort to spanking to impart lessons, this approach may not be universal and may evolve over time. Overall, the Bulgarian parenting experience is characterized by familial support, cultural rituals, and a commitment to children’s upbringing. (The Culture Trip).
In the compact nation of Liechtenstein, the approach to raising children diverges from the conventional schooling path. Children can delay formal education until the age of seven, granting them ample time for outdoor play and exploration. Despite this, Liechtenstein maintains an impressive 100% literacy rate among its children, demonstrating the effectiveness of this unique educational approach. Moreover, the country offers an abundance of convenient hiking trails suitable for families with prams, providing opportunities for outdoor adventures.
The charming trails often feature enchanting carvings that captivate children’s imaginations, contributing to their sense of wonder and exploration. This distinctive upbringing encourages a balance between formal education and outdoor engagement, fostering both a love for learning and a connection with nature. In Liechtenstein, child-rearing intertwines unconventional educational practices with the beauty of the outdoors, shaping a truly distinct childhood experience. (Lonely Planet).
In Italy, you learn how to work with hammers and saws at a very young age. It doesn’t matter if you barely know how to tie your shoes, if you’re at a Reggio school, you’re going to know how to use a hammer. Schools near the Reggio Emilia region of Italy encourage their kids to pursue creativity through woodworking. Children will develop their problem-solving skills by building small pieces of wood art. Italians are also fully invested in family and cultural life. Italians are naturally generous and love feeding their friends and family, which is why they have such a large network of connections around them at all times.
Late at night, you’ll see families of all ages strolling around town and walking through the city. Stephanie Yoder, who moved to Italy from the USA, said, “Being able to send Marcella to daycare half the day has been one of the greatest blessings of this move. She loves it, she’s learning Italian, her social skills are improving, and Mike and I have a chance to get work done without constantly handing her off to each other.” Daycare is a lot more affordable in Italy, which makes raising a child much easier. The cost of Italian universities is very low, especially when compared to their American counterparts. To top it all off, Italy offers wonderful healthcare (Content O Italiano).
Moroccan families are tight-knit and often spend a lot of time together. Extended family members are involved, and a lot of the time, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings will get involved in raising the kids. Respect plays a big part in the Moroccan lifestyle, and respecting elders is important. Children also emphasize family matters over individualism, and prioritizing the needs of the family is more important than prioritizing their own needs.
If their family raises their children in Islam, then many Islamic, religious practices are put into place, like praying and fasting, especially during the month of Ramadan. Children are often celebrated in Morocco, and there’s something very unifying in tradition. Even though parents in Morocco can be tough on their children in some aspects, it works out (Smart Homeschooler).
You don’t have to worry about after-school sports or classes in Spain. It doesn’t go hand in hand with raising children in Spain. Because playfulness and exploration are important pieces of Spanish parenting, parents encourage children in Spain to run around outside. Children will often run around outside, in town, unsupervised.
Compare this to the hyper-vigilant and structured parenting styles of American families, who drive their children to and from school and always keep an eye on their whereabouts. And not only that, but Spain has fantastic weather year-round, so your child can spend time outside for most of the year. Parents include their children in everything they do, and family get-togethers happen more often than not. Children also receive free healthcare and dental care, which is another perk (Micasamo).