10 Parenting Practices from Japan: How Many Do YOU Do?
1. SELF-CONTROL: Children are taught from a young age to be considerate of others and live in a state of harmony with others. Japanese children tend to be calm, quiet and self-regulated in public.
2. EXTREME ATTACHMENT PARENTING: Babywearing is prevalent, and moms take their babies everywhere they go, usually by sling or carrier but more recently in buggies and strollers. The family bed is customary, with the child in between mom and dad. This practice continues well past preschool.
3. FOOD IS LOVE: Meal preparation is an art, and moms take great care when packing school lunches, waking early to prepare Bento box lunches featuring beautiful, healthy foods - rice balls shaped like animals or plants, vegetables, tofu and seaweed.
4. MORALITY: Emphasizing virtues such as honour, trustworthiness, honesty and humbleness are at the core of parenting culture.
5. EMPHASIS ON INDEPENDENCE: Children, even at a young age, are expected to be self-reliant enough to go to school unaccompanied, (even if it means taking a city bus or train or navigating busy streets). Children perform daily chores in the home at a young age to help them gain confidence and independence.
6. PRIVACY: Japanese women keep personal matters private, sharing with only their closest confidantes and keeping parenting struggles to themselves for the most part.
7. HUMILITY: Mom-brag moments, which are common and acceptable here, would be considered rude and boastful in Japan. Parents don’t talk about their kids, like mentioning which team their child plays for or which school they attend. It would be sufficient for others to see the school logo on the child’s shirt or see their team jersey. Even though it’s mostly unspoken, parenting in Japan is hyper-competitive and preparation for entrance exams to get kids into the right schools is intense.
8. BEAUTY OF NATURE: Flowers and stunning gardens are revered. Picnics are a standard family affair during peak blossom season; baby’s first hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is a photo op akin to baby’s first trip to the pumpkin patch here.
9. KID-APPROPRIATENESS ISN’T AS REGULATED: Movie disclaimers do not exist to shelter children from sexual images or violence. Realistic-looking toy guns are still widely available in toy stores. Sexual imagery in manga comics is commonplace. No big deal to the Japanese, adult content is balanced out by the cute, animated culture that exists everywhere there.
10. DISCIPLINE: Parents have quiet conversations in private, crouched to the height of the child to discuss undesirable behaviour. This approach maintains the dignity of the child and spares the pride of the parent from a public display. Parents model appropriate behaviours and quietly and privately correct their children when they stray from the expectations. Children are taught to behave in different circumstances by imitating how their parents act rather than through correction or criticism.
Paula Presswood is a former teacher turned entrepreneur. She can mostly be found blogging, doing yoga, drinking tea, chasing around after her three teenagers and sampling delicious appetizers with her crazy magician husband. She is Co-founder of Presswood Entertainment and The ThoughtFull Board. Follow Paula on instagram