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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:44 pm 
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linanil wrote:
Isn't that the whole purpose of headstart? Although I think headstart is specifically for low income kids.


yep, there are income requirements for Head Start. It kinda sucks, in my opinion, because I think a lot of people are in a situation similar to me where they make too much for Head Start but the preschools in our area are prohibitively expensive. I never really wanted to send our kid to preschool but lately felt she could use some more social interaction, and we've had no luck with free playgroups etc because in my area, they are very cliquey and not particularly convenient in terms of time and location. (It doesn't help that her primary caregiver is super anti-social and not about to make friends with other parents he encounters randomly, but that's another story entirely.)


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:48 pm 
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FWIW, regarding HeadStart, there are other criteria aside from income that can make a family eligible (special needs, family crises, language issues, etc.) One of the dangers, imo, with pre-K for all is that the expectations of what a child "should be able to do" are easily increased. That is, 4 year olds are soon expected to be completing tasks formerly expected of 5 year olds, and so on. This has happened to a certain degree with the funding for 3 year olds here. There is not much appreciation in general though, I fear, for play-based early childhood education. One of my nanny girls' mom was getting some heat for Baby K not knowing her opposites, and not writing all of her letters properly. Now, I *know* that she can write all the letters properly, but Jesus Christ, she's 4 years old! Reception year (4's), at least here in Oxfordshire is very pen and paper, teacher-led stuff. It makes me very sad sometimes, and is one of the reasons that we are sure that we shall move before Freya is school-aged. My 4 year old is not going to proper school, in a uniform, for 6 1/2 hours a day.
/end rant

CC described our health visitor situation pretty well. We *loved* our midwives that came to visit us from the hospital, but they are only scheduled for the first 10 days. We were in the hospital for a week, so we only ended up with one midwife visit after that. They really had a good sense of what help you needed and listened well. The health visitors wanted you to fit this sort of one-size-fits-all mold and were very keen to tell you where you were going wrong and what you "needed" to do. Pfft.

The "similarity" comment I began last night was that I find many commonalities between a community of Mexican (mostly) immigrant families at a preschool I worked with in OKC and the Norwegians that I know: breastfeeding is a non-issue, it's just what you do; kids have *lots* of freedom to roam; extended family is very important.


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:04 pm 
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ScandinaVegan wrote:
I explained that SIL is worried someone will steal her. This cracked everyone up. All the other moms, giggling and saying "steal a baby! who would want to steal a baby?" Then someone said, "well, maybe in a big country like the US, but that would never happen here in Denmark."


we had our hospital tour last night and one of the things she kept going over was the security of the OB/labor ward and how no one could just come in and steal a baby.

i had honestly never even thought of the possibility. it just seems like such a bizarre thing to me that someone would want to steal a baby but yes sadly it does happen here :-(

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:46 am 
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Here in Sweden, the norm is to put your kid in daycare when she/he is 15-18 months, and go back to work. The number of kids who start at 1 year old is increasing though. Being socialized is considered important enough that even if one or both parents are at home, children have the right to be in daycare 15 hours/week. From three years old, those 15 hours are free too. (Otherwise you pay a symbolic sum for public daycare - we pay about 800 SEK for full time daycare.) School starts at 6 years old, and I think it's considered a disadvantage to not have been in daycare before then.

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:49 am 
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The BBC ran an article about babies sleeping outside! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21537988?SThisFB

It was interesting to read the research on the benefits, but the best was this: There is a Swedish saying that encapsulates this thought - "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:56 am 
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That was the article Smoothie originally posted. I liked it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:00 am 
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Daycare in the US is pretty popular from a young age simply out of necessity. I think a lot of families need both incomes from both parents. Also some people just choose to go back to work because they like their job. Maternity leave to my knowledge doesn’t actually exist in the US. It’s considered a “disability” so im not sure if it differs state to state but in MA you get 6 weeks short term disability at a fraction of your normal pay and typically (at least at my company) you have to pay for your benefits as well. After that there is a law that states you must be able to take up to 3 months leave (total not on top of the 6 weeks) and not lose your job or get demoted. Im not sure how the pay part of that works since I wont be getting any maternity leave since I am just frankly quitting. So for a lot of families it’s really hard to even take any maternity leave. There might be some companies who have a company maternity leave policy but it’s not a natl law (that I am aware of!). my husband was given a week paid paternity leave for when the baby comes and he works for a super small company so I think that’s pretty damn awesome.
Daycare here is also insanely expensive. At least it is in MA. Also, I have no personal experience with this im just going on what others have said, you usually need to put your kid in daycare full time because there is such a demand for child care that they would rather take someone full time rather than say someone who only needs it a few hours a week. it’s also something you need to secure way before the baby is born. Like for example if I decided I did actually want to go back to work I don’t think I would be able to right now because we haven’t looked at day care anywhere.
Again it may differ by area but that seems to be what a lot of people I work with or live in this area say.

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:47 am 
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Yeah, what LisaPunk said. I'm not working, though I have a professional background, and if I were, especially in the state of California, the marginal tax rate on the additional income if I worked would be so much higher than what we pay on my husband's salary, plus the need for professional clothes, more eating out, childcare, etc. would make my effective take home pay have a really minor affect on our lifestyle. Basically, if I went back to work while my husband were still able-bodied and working his (relatively well-paying, but also extremely long hours and high stress) job, it would not be for money because financially it just doesn't make a huge ton of sense.

That said, I'd love to have someone part time to just help out while I made appointments, had some time to myself, etc. and that is really difficult to set up. I'd love to have V in preschool a couple afternoons a week, but I haven't found any simple way to do that. She'd love the social interaction (but would not love being in away from me 40+ hours/week), I'd love the break, but, as LisaPunk says, esp. at this age there's not a lot of ways to get that kind of care in a group/affordable environment. Once a kid turns 2 I think it's a little easier because they don't need their own crib, the required staff ratios are lower, etc.

I understand why childcare costs as much as it does - my mom was a highly qualified preschool teacher for many years and there are so many requirements, responsibilities, and the staff:kid ratios dictate a high cost for care. But it does make it difficult to get any kind of respite care if you mostly stay home with a kid. I recently hired our sitter to come regularly for an afternoon every other week, but the good sitters seem to all be overbooked and I'm not interested in mediocre sitters! The military childcare centers are supposed to have drop-in care, but realistically this gets booked up really far out and if the civilian furlough requirements go through this week that will probably get even tougher.


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:51 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
The BBC ran an article about babies sleeping outside! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21537988?SThisFB

It was interesting to read the research on the benefits, but the best was this: There is a Swedish saying that encapsulates this thought - "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."


Heh. The Norwegians claim that saying belongs to them, it even rhymes (der er ikke dårlig vaer, bare dårlig klaer). They surely believe it too.

I'm curious about the influence of grandparents in various locales. It seems to be class-related here. The poorer you are, the more likely your kid is to have an active relationship with her grandparents.


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:12 am 
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annak sounds like our situation is very similar.
for me personally i really dont like my job so it made absolutely no sense for us to pay a lot of money to put our kid in daycare for me to go and do soemthing i hate and be miserable to basically make enough money just to pay for the day care.

it wont be easy by any means to lose my paycheck but i feel really fortunate to be able to have the chance to stay at home at least for a little while. my husband is definitely the money maker in our house. my father is retiring in January 2014 so i may have some free childcare a couple days a week on the horizon so at least financially if i have to go back to work at some point we may have sort of an option. i cant speak for my dad of course but my guess is he would be more than happy to do it!

another cultural difference type thing i ran into the other night that i found interesting and is a tangent to the pediatrician post i just made.....the reason the subject of pediatrician's being there for birth came up was one of the dad's in my childbirth class is from Ecuador and he seemed a bit baffled and a tad concerned that the pediatrician would not be present for birth. having lived in the US my entire life it never even occured to me a pediatrician would be involved in your hospital stay whatsoever and i had no idea one came to check out the baby at some point. this dad however seemed concerned about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Yeah, the non-availability and huge expense of day care is why my husband is not working now, even though he is a professional and could theoretically make big $. The pay off is just not worth it. We didn't look at daycares until Malka was like 3 months old, which was super stupid I guess, but I didn't think ahead. Nothing near acceptable had openings for that year. I'm going to start touring preschools and getting her on lists for openings this coming September (when she'll be 2). But if my husband goes back to work she'll need to be in preschool AND will need a nanny/babysitter to pick her up and care for her until one of us gets home from work. It's a heck of a lot easier when one parent doesn't get home till 10pm two or three nights a week for the other to just be at home.


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:40 pm 
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i know a few people who were able to swing day care with one kid and it was still worth it for them to have 2 people working but once the second kid came along it was just like insanity to pay for both in day care so one parent quit their job.
it's also tough because while it depends on the company i dont see a lot of support for kid related things at companies. i know in this company it totally depends on what dept you work in and your own manager's attitude (dont get me started on the unfair of this) one person is able to take off the time she needs to do dr's appts or work from home if the kid is sick or whatever. she can basically do whatever she wants. in the accounting dept (where i work) there is no support whatsoever. there was a big huge blowout once between my supervisor and one of the other girls once because my supervisor made a comment that she was taking an "awful lot of time off" (ie coming in late after dr appts) and the girl (rightfully) flipped out. it's the 2nd biggest reason im not coming back (after the general hatred of my job). i dont want to deal with that shiitake.

also Ariann i am DYING at your new subnick. i literally guffawed out loud when i saw it. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:49 pm 
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I know, me too :)

And when we have more than one, it will suddenly become way more reasonable to hire a nanny rather than send kids to daycare.


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:52 pm 
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One difference I have noticed between child rearing here and in Italy, is the concept that a child needs his privacy (in the US).

When I was a kid in Italy, I had my own room. It was microscopic, but it was my own room. Since houses were really small, many other kids I knew did not have their own room and would sleep on sofabeds, mattresses on the floor, whatever worked. Parents had their own room where kids were not allowed. Co-sleeping was not something I ever heard of. Speaking for myself, I never had ANY desire to crawl into my parents' bed.

Here, besides co-sleeping, I also hear about parents in really small NYC apartments who will give the only bedroom to their kid and they are the ones sleeping on the sofabed. Because the child needs her privacy, her space, while supposedly the parent(s) do not.

Basically, in Italy, the adult's needs always come before the child's. Not to say that children are abused or anything, they are just not seen as having the same rights. Well, this was many years ago so things might have changed there too.


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:15 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
i know a few people who were able to swing day care with one kid and it was still worth it for them to have 2 people working but once the second kid came along it was just like insanity to pay for both in day care so one parent quit their job.
it's also tough because while it depends on the company i dont see a lot of support for kid related things at companies. i know in this company it totally depends on what dept you work in and your own manager's attitude (dont get me started on the unfair of this) one person is able to take off the time she needs to do dr's appts or work from home if the kid is sick or whatever. she can basically do whatever she wants. in the accounting dept (where i work) there is no support whatsoever. there was a big huge blowout once between my supervisor and one of the other girls once because my supervisor made a comment that she was taking an "awful lot of time off" (ie coming in late after dr appts) and the girl (rightfully) flipped out. it's the 2nd biggest reason im not coming back (after the general hatred of my job). i dont want to deal with that shiitake.

also Ariann i am DYING at your new subnick. i literally guffawed out loud when i saw it. ;-)


Yeah, we have laws about the whole work+parenting situation. If your kid is ill, has a doctor's appointment or whatever, you take the day off, the employer doesn't have to pay your wages for that day, and you get some money (I think it's 80% of your income) from the state instead. You can also save some of your maternity/paternity leave and use those days later (also paid by the state). Parents have the right to work part time (75%) until the kid is 8 years old, and the employer is theoretically not allowed to make a fuss about it.

The ideology that you shouldn't have to choose between work and family is very strong in Swedish society. The downside to this is that the expectation that everyone should have kids is very strong too.

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:52 pm 
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Sweden - another place I wish I lived.

(In all seriousness, I love the US, I am happy to be an American, and I am unlikely to ever live long term anywhere else again - been there, done that, not eager to do it with kids in tow - but I wish we could import some of these cultural norms.)


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:52 pm 
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this thread has been such an interesting read! thank you all!


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:34 am 
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annak wrote:
Ariann wrote:
Torque - that is really interesting about Japanese parents/schools and makes me want to live there.


Really? I don't mean that in a bisque-y way, but I'm curious about this, since it's so different from American culture (where disciplining somebody else's kid is like throwing yourself on a landmine). I think I would have a very hard time with it. We're considering trying to get a Japanese tour, there's somebody we ran into there who has a rotation date that could probably be made to work so my husband could replace him, and the main hesitation would be the long hours (6days/wk) for B, but this actually gave me pause. I'd been thinking it would be pretty great to get Vi into japanese preschool for a while, but dang, I guess it's the American in me but I really cringe at the idea of the school disciplining my kid because what if I disagreed with them or their methods? Plus I have never heard Japanese kids described as particularly well-behaved, so it's interesting to me. (Yet somehow they all turn out insanely polite and very....kept in check as adults)

Sorry I didn't get on this the first time around.

First, if you're going to be on-base it's unlikely that the child's school experience would be like that, as I'm pretty sure it's oriented for children of servicepeople and, more importantly, foreigners, and foreigners are usually exempt from this sort of thing. I had a student who did a yearlong exchange (in HS) and who was exempt from all the punishments and etc. that her group suffered. I know for my nieces in Japan (in a heavily Brazilian area) the education is not the same as the kind that my friends' kids up north (in an all-japanese area) underwent.

i'm talking public school, and i can't speak to daycare as i don't know much about it. i'm talking about starting in kindergarten. and i don't think that discipline is necessarily heavy-handed and bad (although it can be, when i lived there in my state every year there were publicized incidents of preposterous corporal punishment..... and when i taught an English Summer Session at a college in the US i had a group of Japanese HS kids who traveled with their HS teacher, and when they were total tools in my class, afterwards the teacher brought the group to me and announced he would be beating them as punishment if i would like to be present! We had a quick lecture on child abuse laws in the US and the kids were much better in my class after that since i had literally saved their asparagi.....). Kids spend so much time in school, even on weekends for older kids. The teacher or adviser ends up knowing the kids better than the parents. The teacher teaches them how to work together (preparing lunch, cleaning the classroom), about self-discipline, hard work and responsibility. Personally as an American I think parents are expected to teach their kids these traits, but in Japan the school is the origin of these virtues. Also, the teachers are expected to keep on top of all this stuff... for example, they're expected to go to the kids' homes to talk to the parents about developments and progress, for example.
I think it creates a really strong group connection, which is necessary to how Japanese culture works. For those who don't fit in, it's torturous, as being part of the group is so important (although this is true in the US too).

ETA: maybe i made this more confusion by my own thinking about discipline- i'm thinking about discipline in terms of self-discipline and teaching values, not necessarily discipline=punishment, in case that wasn't clear. And @annak, while it seems so horrible to think about disciplining someone else's kid, i think when they hit first grade, for example, it's understood that the teacher will have some general views about what's acceptable or not, and what the kid needs to be corrected about, and it's not as big of a deal as it might seem for a younger kid.

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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:31 pm 
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A few thoughts from a New Zealand perspective:

My daughter is only 8 weeks old, so I pretty much have no experience with parenting, but can speak to pregnancy/birth.

*Midwifery-based care is the standard here, you would only see an obstetrician if you were high-risk/had serious complications. I've never heard of anyone using an obstetrician. I didn't see a doctor of any kind for the duration of my pregnancy [or for more than a year before that].
*Similarly, paediatricians are only really used for really sick children/in hospitals. Babies just go to your regular general practitioner. The first time my daughter was looked at by a doctor was at six weeks old when she had her first check up and immunisations with my doctor.
*I don't know if this counts as a cultural thing, but all maternity-related care is free, including all midwife care, all ultrasounds [unless they are optional/not-medically useful, like the 3D image ones], all testing [blood tests, glucose screening etc], any prescriptions during pregnancy, and everything relating to the birth including hospital admission, any drugs required, surgery when necessary, any treatment needed for the baby, and a post-natal stay of up to three nights [for vaginal birth, longer for c sections]
*Health care for children is free up to age 6 [GP visits, prescriptions etc] and dental checks are free up to 18 or until you leave school
*After birth, your midwife comes for weekly [or more frequent if necessary] checks on you/the baby for six weeks [in your home, no charge]
*From six weeks to five years, we have visits with Plunket which I guess is similar to the 'health visitor' in the UK. A registered nurse specialising in baby/child care will come to your home every few weeks from six weeks to around three months, then you go to a local clinic to see them every month or so after that, and they do general wellness and development checks, weight and measurements, as well as having specialist advice on sleep, settling, breastfeeding and other baby-issues.
*We are eligible for 14 weeks paid parental leave [can be split between both parents or taken by either one] which is government funded and capped at ~$480 [before tax] per week, though some employers will make up the difference to what you normally earn. We are also eligible for up to 12 months unpaid leave, and 10 days unpaid special leave during pregnancy for appointments etc.

... that's all I can think of at the moment..


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 Post subject: Re: Cultural differences in parenting/non-us citizens
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:15 am 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
It really varies. In my area, there are a LOT of hoverers. I was once talking to some parents l at a playgroup (incidental encounter) and one woman said her personal rule was "1 foot away for every year of age." And everyone was agreeing with her and I was just thinking... You're going to stay within 3 feet of your 3 year old? Really? Can you run that fast?

She and her cohort really did seem to be hovering that much too. A pretty extreme case, but they're out there...


Oh gosh this sounds like "helicoptering" parents. Their children shouldn't be burdened with mundane tasks and the minutiae of life. There was a write up in my local paper about the rise of helicopter parenting and how it affected kids. Citing a recent case of a school camp for grade 5/6's (so kids aged 10-12) where teachers reported that kids had trouble dressing themselves and didn't know to put toothpaste on their toothbrushes before using them.

At that age I was cooking meals for the family and doing washing & ironing. Granted not all parents are a fan of child labour as my mother was. :)

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