I delivered my baby girl 3 years ago in Germany. The initial months of settling down and adjusting to motherhood was a big deal for me like every other new mom out there. I had a great confusion how am I going to raise my child in a different country? It’s totally different from my life back home in India. In my process of parenthood I came through many fascinating things about German parenting. I would like share my view on those with you all.
Academics comes late. Children start their Kindergarten in 3 years and they stay there until they are 6 or 7. German parents don’t push their kids in their academics they think Kindergarten is a place meant to play and social learning. Teachers here don’t encourage academics until children go to primary school. No learning or writing ABC’s until primary school. I would worry sometimes whether it’s too late for my child to start her academics but still it’s so refreshing and new. I totally started embracing this unstructured play way kind as you are going to be 4, 5 or 6 only once.
Practical moms. Leaving kids outside alone without any supervision is very common thing in many German families. German parents are concerned about safety, of course but they usually focus on where the kids play, not the abductions, as stranger abductions are very rare in Germany. I remember an incident when I was shocked to see a kid drinking water in glass cup and asked “what if the glass cup breaks?” and a German parent who was standing beside me said “not to worry , I have an excellent medicine for cut”. Parents will never fight for their kids instead they let them fight for themselves, for e.g., if one kid takes the other kid’s toys away, we consider they are not good at sharing but Germans say the kid has to stand up for him/her more, the kid needs to take her toy back or fight.
As green as possible. Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, es gibt nur falsche Kleidung! As the proverb says there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. I realized it when my daughter fell sick frequently during winter as I was keeping her indoors most of the time. No matter how the weather is, parents still bundle their kids up and take them to park everyday.
Kids on their own. German kids become independent way earlier than other country kids. It’s a culture where responsibility is taught by allowing their kids to walk and play on their own, they trust their child is capable of doing things responsibly. German prize independence in children, which can feel a little strange to someone brought up in an Indian home like me.
Bikes without pedals. When I first came here, I was clueless why the kids riding this kind of bike instead of pedaled ones as I never saw such bike back home. Later I understood it’s a good way to learn balancing in cycling . This push bike takes pedaling out of the picture so your child can concentrate on balancing. And when they are ready for a pedal bike, they will pick it up much faster as they are already comfortable balancing.
Life balance. I admire this quality in Germans. Germans work a lot and they seem to be workaholic but on the other hand Germans value their time at home each day, and many women work part-time so they can spend more time with their kids. People just naturally manage to live well, with work and spending time both playing an important role for them.
As a person from a different country it is very fascinating to see the difference in the culture especially in parenting. It’s a great place with world-class culture and I am trying to incorporate the good qualities of German parenting along with my own culture. At-last it’s such a wonderful place to be a mother or a child.