Tag Archives: parents

Cultural parenting – of course! But which cultures?

Parenting styles can vary from family to family. But there are also differences between countries, or should I say cultures. We appreciate different values, which are likely to impact our upbringing of the children. Sometimes they are easily spotted, sometimes they are not. Concept of time for instance is a good example. Coming from a culture where being on time is considered important and a courtesy, I found it annoying at times as a foreign student working in groups with others that were happily an hour late for study meetings. No surprise that we soon found out that Germans and Swedes worked well together!

As always, awareness of the values and set of rules can lead to a better understanding, and less annoyance; tolerance. In the case of time, I simply learnt to agree on another time with the students I knew would be – in my world – an hour late.

Being a parent or not; moving into a new culture you will be exposed to the impact of cultural differences. As a parent a playground is a perfect location for observation and “study”. It´s fascinating that you often can tell from the parents’ responses to their children’s behavior from which country they are. I have encountered societies where one believes that adults should not interfere when children are “playing”. In the beginning I just assumed they did not care; now I hope they care but still want the kids to solve problems on their own. I have also experienced children being constantly corrected and taught. Swedes are normally somewhere in between these two parenting styles; of course, I would like to add with a touch of irony– after all we are the land of “lagom” (just enough) and “mellan” (in the middle).

There are also differences when it comes to physical punishment (illegal in Sweden) and scolding in public. Some people want other parents to know they are dealing with the matter, and some don´t.

Another, always hot, topic is whether it is considered acceptable for a parent to deal with someone else’s child.

I do believe that the culture you are currently living in influences your parenting. It is a way of fitting in, of accepting the hosting society but also grabbing the good stuff!

It is interesting once you start thinking in terms of cultural parenting. What are the cornerstones of your culture/-s when it comes to raising children? Which are the strengths? Have you added anything from your host culture?

Perhaps you are even a slightly different parent in another location! And by that I am not referring to the newly relocated, stressed and culture shocked parent …

My Playhome – useful app for teaching a language to a child

To teach children a language, native or second, I find the app My Playhome useful. It’s a dolls house app complete with a family home and a set of characters that you by drag and drop move around the house, letting them do different things. It is simple yet detailed, which makes it suitable for young kids as well as older ones. Sit next to your child and play together; asking the child to talk about what is happening, describing both the actions and the settings. You can also give instructions to the child from easy ones as “put the book on the table” to “go into the kitchen, open the top right cupboard door and take out a cupcake, have the boy eat half of it and put the other half in the trash can”.

Practice verbs by opening the refrigerator door, pour water in a glass, feed the baby and set the table.

Work on prepositions by putting objects or people in different places.

Vocabulary training is obvious, and don’t forget the adjectives! Turn the lights on and off, bring a red apple from the garden into the living room, and find the most colorful necklace in the master bedroom or put on some soft music.

Don’t forget the silly stuff – like putting dad in the fish tank or letting mom jump on the couch!

The app in itself does not contain words, only pictures.

My Playhome is available in a free Lite version and a regular version. It’s also available for Androids.

The regular version comes with characters of different ethnicity – which I think is a plus – more rooms and a garden.

Have fun!

Inspirational talk on children/parents and digital media

Two days ago I participated in a seminar on social media. Again the discussion on kids and the internet arose. It probably does with every new phenomenon. I read somewhere that it was the all same when radio started to broadcast. The discussions and fear of ruining the young were just the same. Of course we see it differently today – how could radio be harmful? The internet is an exposure on a whole different level. Not only personal safety is on the agenda but also the impact on health issues. We as parents are faced with new challenges compared to generations before us – we are the first generation to have absolutely no clue about what the future for our kids will hold.

To give you some food for thought and hopefully insights you can visit the open free lecture arranged by “Föräldrar emellan” in Kungsbacka. Micke Gunnarsson will talk about our changing world and digital media, and the impact hereof on children and their parents! The lecture is in Swedish. No need to sign up.

Thurs March 21st, 18.30-21 se link to Föräldrar emellan for details. Also in Swedish.