What does parenting look like in other parts of the world? We know that not everyone does it “our” way, but how are the results different? Pamela Druckerman, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, had a baby while living in France and couldn’t help but notice that French parents and kids were different – generally speaking, the kids slept through the night, were more adventuresome eaters, and didn’t seem to need as much parental attention as Druckerman was accustomed to kids getting in America. She started taking notes and trying to get at what it was about the way the French approached parenting that was different, discovering other ways to be fully committed to your children without becoming obsessive and maybe even to change behaviors (our own and our kids) by changing the way we define childhood. Bringing up Bébé is interesting food for thought, whether you agree with her conclusions or not.
On a similar note, How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm is a fascinating global tour of parenting practices that highlights the fact that there are many ways to diaper a baby (or carry, feed, teach, potty train) … The author observed parents around the globe and interviewed anthropologists, educators, and child-care experts, before testing her discoveries on her spirited toddler, Sofia, with some enlightening results. Another like this is the unnarrated DVD Babies which makes similar comparisons of four children from Namibia, Mongolia, San Francisco and Japan as they navigate their first year of life. Fascinating that parenting practices we consider normal look so strange to other cultures (and vice versa)!