Kids Drink Alcohol & Stay up Late? Here’s the Different Styles of Parenting Around the World

There are MANY different styles of parenting. But depending on which country you live in, it could be an entirely new approach altogether.

Did you know that in some parts of the world it’s okay for five-year-olds to catch the train by themselves? And for seven-year-olds to drink booze?

It might seem weird to us Aussies, but as reported by The Next Family, for some countries this type of parenting is the norm! Here’s a look at all the different things that go on around the world when it comes to raising kids.

No constant snacking

Aussie kids can’t seem to go two seconds without something in their mouths. But in many cultures snacks for children don’t exist! In places like Korea, kids are taught to be patient and wait for set mealtimes instead. And even then, they usually eat what adults eat – none of these special children’s meals nonsense. In France, it’s the same, with the only exception being a scheduled post-school afternoon snack called the ‘gouter.’

Less time at school

In many European schools, children attend way fewer hours a day than they do in Australian schools. In places like Finland, children don’t even commence school until they’re seven years old. The result? A kick arse education system that’s scoring way higher than other countries like England, America and Australia.

Kids can drink alcohol

Now, this is one area that’s not so great. In Croatia, apparently, seven percent of first graders are given alcohol more than once a week. And 30 percent of eighth-grade boys and 12 percent of eighth-grade girls are boozing up to six times a week. Outrageous! Maybe not for Belgium though, who back in 2001 decided to combat their obesity problem by giving children light beer instead of soda. Whaaat?! It’s also quite common for children in countries like France and Spain to sip alcoholic drinks around the dinner table.

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The village is always with you

None of this going it alone when raising kids is concerned! At least not in places like Greece, Brazil, India and Italy. Extended family members and friends often all live in the same house and play an active role in looking after your children. It’s the community village system and it’s a good one.

Leaving kids outside cafes is cool

In Denmark, no one seems too concerned about their child being abducted. If they were, they wouldn’t regularly leave them parked outside restaurants in prams while they’re inside dining up a storm! Apparently, this is very common practice. And all that cold fresh air is considered good for the children, which makes it even more okay.

No such thing as spoiling

The Balinese don’t let their babies touch the ground until they’re 105 days old. They instead carry them everywhere for the first three and a half months, believing they’re too holy to be put down. The Japanese also hold their babies constantly, respond to them instantly and co-sleep with them. Their belief is that you can’t spoil an infant, and all the doting makes them more confident and capable kids.

Taking lollies from strangers is encouraged

In Chile, it’s completely normal for strangers to give kids treats and lollies on the street. It’s considered a sign of affection. And if you refuse as their parent, you’re likely to be told that your child needs the sweets by a bunch of onlookers who won’t quit.

Natural fruit lolly snack recipe

Sharing breastmilk is normal

We all know that breastmilk is amazing stuff. Which is probably why in most of Africa, breastfeeding a baby that’s not yours is common practice. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the baby of a relative, friend or a complete stranger. Breastmilk is breastmilk and it’s important not to waste a precious drop.

Kids get to stay up late

No 6.30pm bedtimes in Spain! Over there children get to stay up until 10pm or even later. It’s considered important that they spend time with the family. It is, however, a common practice for everyone to have siestas in the day. So this probably helps make kids not so feral from being awake too long.

tired school skipping breakfast cereal

No nappies for infants

Gross or genius? In China, nappies aren’t the done thing. Instead, they pop children in a pair of split pants (pants with literally a split in the middle leaving the privates exposed). Then they teach them to wee and poo on command, whenever and wherever they are. A simple squat and the business is done. Yikes!

Kids are allowed to roam by themselves

In Japan kids as young as four or five go to school by themselves. They’re also sent on errands solo and catch trains and buses regularly without adult supervision. Talk about being independent!


Children look after other kids

In the Polynesian Islands, as soon as children can walk parents pretty much clock off. They’re now the responsibility of other children. As a result, toddlers become more independent and capable very fast so they can keep up with the big kids.

No such thing as date night

Traditional Japanese couples rarely dine together. The man works late and eats with his associates, while the mum eats early with the kids. They basically lead separate lives. Sad! Plus restaurants are expensive so on average a middle-class couple only dines out about once a year – on someone’s birthday!!

Parents get money to parent

Get this…in Germany, parents get around 200 euros a month per child. Just for being their parents! It’s called kindergeld and is to help pay for food, nappies, toys, and other costs. They get it until the child turns 18, unless they don’t have a job. If your child is unemployed you get the government cash until they’re 21, or 25 if they’re studying. Talk about a score!

Know any other weird or wonderful different styles of parenting from around the world? Tell us on Facebook! And if you’re interested in the different types of mothers out there like tiger and helicopter mums, you might also like this article about unicorn mums!

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Susan is a Sydney based writer and mum of three highly energetic boys who keep her firmly on her toes (and slightly bonkers). When she’s not writing or trying to keep it all together she’s probably reading, watching Netflix or having a sneaky massage.

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