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There is No Universal Truth When It Comes To Parenting

I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival buttonWelcome to the I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival hosted by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children.

This Carnival is dedicated to empowering ALL parents who practice and promote and peaceful, loving, attachment parenting philosophy. We have asked other parents to help us show the critics and the naysayers that attachment parenting is beautiful, uplifting, and unbelievably beneficial and NORMAL!

In addition to the Carnival, Joni from Tales of a Kitchen Witch and Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy are co-hosting a Linky Party. Please stop by either blog to share any of your posts on the topic.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Post topics are wide and varied, and every one is worth a read.
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There Is No Universal Truth When It Comes To Parenting: HybridRastaMama.com Follow Me on Pinterest

There are a few things that are universal about children.

Children are like speed bumps…they force us to slow down.

Children are like uneven pavement…they trip us up and we sometimes stumble.

Children are like Zen proverbs…they really cause us to think.

Children are like Yogis…the stretch us beyond our comfort zones.

Children just are. They live life moment by moment, day by day. They don’t judge and condemn the way adults do. They don’t criticize or lash out in a verbal assault against the three year old next door who is still breastfeeding.

We could learn a thing or two from children. That open acceptance of our differences as human beings. The truth that it is ok to do things differently.

Sadly enough, there is no universal truth when it comes to parenting…unless you count the fact that parenting philosophies, approaches, and styles will always be pitted against each other in the vicious cycle of mommy wars.

Parenting is not one-size-fits-all. Age, gender, cultural norms, religion, class, ethnicity, geographic location, education, sexual orientation, experiences in your own childhood and soooooo much more all contribute to who you become as a parent to your own children. 

My attachment parenting, Rudolph Steiner infused approach to mothering Tiny might look VERY different if I was a mother in Iceland. Or Korea. Or Kenya. Or India. Or Iran.

Guess what – this is ok. It is more than ok.

Why?

Because I would be mothering in the best way I knew how. No matter where I lived. Because that is me. And I am Mom! So enough with the judgements.

In Japan, parents and other adults (like teachers or care providers) turn a blind eye when fighting breaks out between children. Acting as if they don’t see the fighting is “a performance intended to encourage the children to relate to each other and solve their own problems rather than” turning to the adult in charge. Letting children fight? Is this terrible parenting?

In France, children are exposed to a much more diverse array of food than American children. Pate, duck, and cheeses with impossible names are par for the course. French parents subscribe to the philosophy that children do not have to like something but there is no wiggle room when it comes to trying it once. Forcing a child to try a food and a rather exotic one at that? Are French parents doing it all wrong?

In many island communities (like the Polyneisan Islands, Haiti, and Jamaica for example) parents looked after children when they were infants, but gave the child over to a group of other kids (siblings, relative, friends) when they had learned how to walk. Toddlers learned how to quiet infants and older children learned how to keep younger ones happy. This gives more free time to parents who are performing tasks for the community like fishing. Letting children care for other children? Are these islanders “good” parents?

In Lebanon, extended family plays a key role in daily life. Relatives always care for children. A babysitter is never hired. Furthermore, children are included in every activity. There are no “date nights” and “me time.” Therefore, children bear witness to a lot of adult interaction that could be construed as too far outside of the developmental readiness. But can we accuse Lebanese parents of making a poor parenting choice?

In India, a woman typically gives birth at their parents’ home then stays there for several months while her parents take care of the baby so that she can recover. Clearly, the mama in India is not doing as much bonding as is customary in other parts of the world. Does this make her a bad parent?

In Brazil, nannies are considered a necessity, not a luxury. Many parents are working 2 or 3 jobs to pay for the basics. When they get home, parents place a high value on spending time together as a family and therefor, do not waste time and energy on discipline. Children are left alone to simply be children. Would you consider this to be a questionable parenting approach?

In Argentina, children stay up much later at night than children in Europe, Canada, and the United States. In fact, Argentinian parents don’t fret over sleep at all.  Young children are known for staying up until the wee hours of the morning during times of celebration. I have yet to meet a parent, even an unschooler, who would feel comfortable with letting a 3 or 4 year old stay up all night. But does it mean that Argentinian parents are wrong?

In Israel, pacifier use is common until age 3 or 4 but potty training is completed by 2, period. Are these practices acceptable?

 

There is no “per­fect” way to care for children, only trade-offs in which par­ents weigh the needs of the child against the con­straints of daily life. What works for one set of par­ents may not work for another, and what is con­sid­ered nor­mal is only a cul­tural def­i­n­i­tion. Kids all over the world grow into healthy adults.

So let’s agree to disagree and lets promise each other that we will spend more time worrying about OUR children and how WE can parent them in the best way possible and less time on what others are doing.*

*I want to make it perfectly clear that if I suspect a child is being abused, I will absolutely take the necessary steps to ensure that child’s safety. Although I completely disagree with circumcision, spanking, and a host of other parenting practices, I will NEVER tell another parent that he or she is doing it all wrong. I will educate if the opportunity presents itself, but I will not condemn.

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Comments

  1. That was eye-opening. :D I love learning about how things are done in other parts of the world. In some of the Nordic countries I read that moms and dads leave their babies and toddlers bundled up outside in the strollers for the fresh air, even in the winter, while they go inside for coffee. They think that the benefits of the fresh cold air outweighs trying to bring a stroller into a cafe, and I agree! Over here you’d NEVER see a stroller unattended, even through a glass window w mom/dad on the other side; we’re all too paranoid some stranger is going to come along and snatch it.

  2. I love this post! I love hearing about how other countries do things. We are in such a huge bubble in America, and even knowing it, I am as guilty as the next. We could all learn a lesson in humanity by seeing more of it than just America. <3

  3. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says:

    I really appreciate all of these examples of parenting according to different cultural norms. Thank you for explaining in such concrete terms how parenting practices can look different, but still be “enough.”

  4. Thanks for the culture lessons! It’s interesting to see the norms in other countries. My husband is from Germany, and while visiting my in-laws, I loved breastfeeding in public. Although no one here has said anything to me, it just felt freeing knowing that the society in general was more accepting of the human body. :)

  5. This is such a wonderful post. I love the cultural aspect and really like how you discuss the fact our children teach us. It is so true on so many levels!

  6. Our perspective changes our perception. Thank you for sharing!

  7. It’s so interesting to read just how differently other cultures approach parenting. I guess we never stop to think how different Western parenting is to other cultures and that our way isn’t necessarily the best way. Thank you for such a unique and thought-provoking post.

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