According to this article, Unicef reports that Dutch children are the happiest in the world. It describes a society of balanced parenting, where family is the focus, work weeks average 29 hours, school is stress-free, and teenagers don’t rebel. Two quotes from the article:
“Parents have a healthy attitude towards their kids, seeing them as individuals rather than as extensions of themselves. They understand that achievement doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness, but that happiness can cultivate achievement.”
“The Dutch definitely do not care if little Sophie or Sem is a piano prodigy, a chess champion or an Instagram model famous by the age of two. There are no Baby Einstein DVDs being played, no black-and-white flash cards being used, and definitely no baby enrichment classes or baby gyms, at least not outside the major cities. The Dutch aren’t concerned about their babies being the smartest. They seem to just want them to be the easiest.”
The article is based on this new book, The Happiest Kids in the World, written by two women — one from America, one from England — who are married to Dutch men and raising their kids in the Netherlands.
My thoughts after reading it: It makes me want to move to The Netherlands. Hah! During our France years, we spent a few vacations in and around Amsterdam and loved it so much. It’s a gorgeous country where the main city transportation is bikes and the biggest streets are canals. And yes, I have several Dutch friends who I keep in contact with, and all approach parenting in a very relaxed, healthy way.
I also find myself comparing the Dutch parenting style to the French parenting style. Do you remember our discussions about French parenting? We talked about the manners and formality and not really having a word for discipline (they think of discipline as education). Which reminds me, there’s a new book about French parenting called Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting from Paris to New York, that I’m loving. It’s funny and beautiful.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does the Dutch style of parenting appeal to you? Or do you like the more formal French style? Or is there another country with admirable parenting that you’re inspired by? I hope you’ll share.
P.S. — We spent some glorious afternoons in Vondelpark — the big city park mentioned in the article. Plus, Five Things to Remember When Planning Your Trip to Amsterdam. One more fun fact: I’ve also heard the Dutch are the tallest people in the world.
57 thoughts on “Are the Dutch Better Parents?”
I’ll probably buy both books on my kindle (because these subjects are like candy to me), but I’m kind of sick of books saying how great it is in W. Europe for kids and parents. Of course it’s fantastic!! They have government-subsidized everything! Yeah, we’d be that happy too if we had all that. It’s even gotten hard for me to look at Canadian magazines recently, because I keep on thinking about single-payer health care. I know that Utopias don’t really exist, but I would love to move this country closer to at least the possibility of a half-way Utopia. It’s not going to happen currently with who’s residing in the WH, that’s for sure. My one comfort these days is that repealing the ACA failed (for now). Turns out that Americans quite like having health insurance for all; and most didn’t want it taken away, but fixed so it could function better. Baby steps….
Hahaha! I know what you mean. There’s a new parenting-in-this-or-that-country book every few months. But somehow, I still love them. I think it’s endlessly interesting to hear all the different ways people manage to raise happy, healthy kids.
I would love to know more about Indian parenting styles. My Indian friends seem to have such lovely children, but I haven’t really got a handle on their parenting philosophies.
I know one thing about Indian parenting that intrigues me: a colleague told me that it’s widely believed in India that the key to a happy, non-colicky infant is the expectant mom making sure to eat exactly what she feels like while she’s pregnant. I liked the sound of that bit, anyway.
My sister in law is from Nepal, so a little similar. My impression is that they just seem to have a very warm and involved social network who help to parent. They also really respect elders and do kind things for each other.
When a Nepali woman has a baby she goes to live at her parents house for 40 days and her mom is very involved in caring for the child. The new mom is nurtured and catered to.
In North America when my sister in law and her friends have had babies, it’s often the case that her family comes for a few months and then her in laws come for another few months. I’m not sure if that part is for me!
Wow!Nice article and great,easy-to-implement parenting tips.
In Indian parenting,daycare and baby sitting is rare.The in-laws and grandparents pitch in bigtime.My mom’s sis-in-law is a homemaker and mom is working…so as a kid I used to stay at my aunt’s house and used to come home for dinner and bedtime.Also there’s a concept called joint families where many generations stay together and cousins play together…In such cases,grandparents look after the child if the parents are working.Some working women opt to stay at home for some years after their baby is born and resume jobs after the kid reaches school age.Working women have 6 months maternal leave.
Families eat breakfast and dinner together and on holidays,they have all meals together.Festivals are celebrated with family and neighbours.
Younger kids use hand-me-downs.
Rachael’s comment rings true for Indian moms.They go to their parent’s house couple of months before pregnancy where they are pampered and even after the baby is born,they stay for another 2-3 months.CK’s comment also echoes with me—kids are encouraged to mingle with guests and neighbors. As a child,whenever a guest came to our house,I used to be called for my room to chat with the guest.And whenever we cooked any new recipe,we shared it with our neighbors and vice versa.
Regarding discipline,the culture is fairly conservative.Unfortunately,kids are not allowed to have independent opinions and are supposed to obey their elders.Academic pursuits are strongly encouraged.Creative pursuits may be frowned upon but this trend is changing in more developed cities where the kid’s individuality is being considered.Sex & alcohol are considered taboo topics in working class families and there is a don’t ask-don’t tell rule>premarital sex is discouraged and girls are prohibited from taking drinks(this may not be true for upper class families).Punishments may include scolding and in rare cases,beating. Children play unaccompanied.
Sleepovers are neither encouraged nor discouraged.Day-long picnics with friends are more common than sleepovers.Schools also arrange picnics on a regular basis in which children are accompanied by teachers.
There is no mompetition but some moms encourage their child to compete with other kids.
Sadly,there is a coaching class culture here…so after school,children who score low grades have to attend these extra classes which take away their playtime.
This may not be true for all Indians-just my personal experience and observation.
As I was raising our brood of 5 I actually had 4 different (well meaning) friends at 4 different times quietly pull me aside and tell me I was parenting wrong and that my kids would eventually rebel. That was tough. Even so, I kept right on parenting within my own standards, which meant lots of free range, but also much structure and firm boundaries. I wanted to say something once, not over and again, which meant when the kids called to me *I* had to respond to them first time as well. (monkey see monkey do) We had set rules, manners, and a distinct differences between ‘discipline’ and ‘punishment’. (disciplined children can control themselves and become successful adults, punished children are emotionally or physically hurt- not as effective) My main objective was to rear independent people who could make good choices.
Too short to be a succinct answer but I feel I tripped over a globe at some point and picked up traits from Tiger Moms, French Moms and Hippy Chicks. They all grew up and are great well rounded people!
“I feel I tripped over a globe at some point…”
Love that. So cute and funny.
Happy adult here raised in the US by a Dutch father. And wishing I was living over there with all of my cousins right about now!
Teenagers don’t rebel? If that’s true it’s worth the price of the book. Ha. ;)
I’m always a bit skeptical about these “Such-and-such a nationality are the happiest” claims, especially after seeing a lot of them a while back about Danes and Danish kids. Having lived in Denmark, that claim was so bizarre to me that I concluded the methodologies of these studies must be highly suspect.
Not only does Denmark have very high rates of suicide and alcoholism, but (at least in my experience) Danes tend to be strikingly melancholic by temperament. E.g., some Danish teens I knew explained to me how stunned they were to meet some Mormon American teens on an exchange program who could actually have fun and party without drinking – as they explained to me in deadly earnest, no Dane could possibly do that.
So I don’t know much about the Dutch, but I do wonder how much national temperament and etiquette might mess up the self-reporting on these happiness surveys.
I know what you mean. Having lived in France, and having read several books about French parenting, I know that these discussions can end up dealing in stereotypes much of the time. But I also recognized a lot of truth in the books too.
I think it’s one of those things where you can take whatever inspiration you can get and then discard the rest.
I would love to know your secrets to parenting. You seem like such a great mom and your kids seem wonderful. The Dutch, the French? Having lived in France, do you think they are happier than your kids?
I second this request. I’d love to hear more of your specific opinions and parenting tips/style.
Good question. We do happen to have really happy kids! Hahaha.
Mostly I think we just feel like regular parents. I don’t know if I’ve ever considered a post about our total parenting philosophy. I’ll think about that.
In the meantime, my book has a ton of info on how we parent, and I try to share posts about our parenting here on the blog too. Here’s a couple of posts on sex ed, and here’s one on why we don’t get stressed out about choosing schools.
Third the request! Our family of 3 kids seems to have sooo many challenges and I would love to hear about the mechanics of how you and Ben approach things.
Doing less stuff is certainly important, and American families spend way too much time doing stuff (sports, extra classes, etc.) rather than just spending time together and with friends.
As a society, we desperately need work/play balance. We need to learn how to work more effectively and party less ridiculously (whether that’s partying w/o drugs and alcohol or simply learning how to have a chill party that isn’t Pinterest worthy).
That being said, I’m always skeptical when people try to claim that one tiny nation is happier/better than the United States. The Netherlands has fewer people than the state of Texas, and I sincerely doubt the Dutch experience is as varied as the American experience (by which I mean, growing up in NYC is radically different from growing up in Nebraska, is different from life in the FL panhandle, is different from life in the Pacific Northwest, etc. etc.).
I agree. These discussions are super interesting to me, and I like to learn what I can from different styles of parenting, but I know we’re not comparing apples to apples here.
Though the Netherlands is a small country, within a 2-hr drive you can be in Dusseldorf or Brussels, where people live differently and even speak a different language that your own. To my mind, that’s a lot of diversity!
Both my parents are dutch, we’re living in Canada and this is how we parent. My mother was a big strict and controlling when we were teenagers but not my dad!! My dad was always relaxed and we knew we could tell him anything when we were teenagers and he’d just be the best at listening to us. My parents never put us in extra activities outside of school sports, but even then we could only pick one a school year. We had lots of spare time and probably had 6 outta 7 free nights during the week. Our kids are being raised the same way. I’m not sure I believe one nation is happier than another but for us, this way of life is just pure gold.
So interesting. Have you found it difficult to parent this way in Canada? I think it is hard in the U.S. to say no to all the after-school options. There are so many and it’s so prevalent here.
I’m not Rachael, but here’s my two cents as a Canadian: extra-curriculars are less of a thing in Canada than in the U.S., partly because college-admission-resume-building doesn’t drive all a teenager’s life choices in Canada as it seems to here. High school social rituals are also less of an obsessive focus, at least in my school days. Whenever I watch American movies or TV that include a depiction of high school, I find it bizarre how overemphasized and lockstep all those high school rituals are (PROM!!! FOOTBALL!!! HOMECOMING!!!), as if they were the whole reality and meaning of teenage life. If those depictions are at all accurate, high school is quite different for us.
I kind of agree with Anna, I think that its not the same here as it in the States. Still, we are probably in the minority for our decisions about after school options. I would say at least 80% of the kids in my daughters school (its a very small school) go to some activity in the evening. I don’t find it hard to say no because it’s like our kids don’t even know its an option to ask for ballet lessons, or to go to hockey practice. They are 4 and 7. Also, I try to envision my best life and none of it includes driving my children to soccer/piano/vocal lessons 5 nights a week. It includes free time to play board games, and home made family dinners, and long walks in the neighbourhood before bed. I like my weekends at home, and not travelling to recitals and events. It’s a priority thing and we work really hard at protecting our family’s time.
I think there is a certain envy that comes with reading about parenting lifestyle’s elsewhere in the world and particularly in W. Europe. But I think one consideration that is frequently missing from these topics is the tax rate. These countries offer some of the best parenting benefits because their citizens fund these benefits through taxes. In the Netherlands, they have a progressive tax rate that starts at 2.3% on income from €18K, 10.8% on income to €32K, 42% on income to €54K and 52% on income more than €54K. France too uses a progressive tax rate that starts at 14% on income from €9k to €27K and tops out at 45% on income more than €151K. As well there are much fewer exemptions allowed compared to the US tax process. While many Americans lament not having the benefits, most are not ready to see their personal income tax rate rise to these levels.
Thank you for pointing this out. I agree that the trade-offs are often not specified this clearly.
Sign me up! As a self-employed person, my income tax rate is very high, but I don’t get the accompanying benefits. If I add in what I pay out of pocket for the same benefits, I’m betting the overall sum I pay is very similar to a citizen in The Netherlands with the same income. I’m not opposed to a progressive tax rate — especially if it means we can pull struggling Americans out of poverty.
I’ve been living in the Netherlands for the past 12 years. I would be a very happy person if I would have tha tax rate that you mentioned in your comment… Never heard of a rate of 2,3%… Just a bit less than € 20k tax rate is 36,55%.. From bit less than €20k to just over €67k tax rate is 40,80%. Above €65k it’s 52%.
Sure, there are some benefits: support for daycare (still after this support it’s quite expensive) and once every three months you get €198,38 per child (up to 5 years old; if you have an older child, you get some more). But that is all… Oh, and let’s don’t forget the maternity leave 16 weeks total (4 weeks before due date and 12 after giving birth). Just to compare: in Poland it’s a year fully paid. Dutch dads get two days :)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still western Europe, well organised and people here in generally live “a good life”, just taxes rates are bit higher ;) greetings from NL.
Sure, but as Americans we are taking more money than this out of our personal funds to pay for medical care and drug prescriptions, child care, have zero paid parental leave so we lose out there, and work many more hours a week. We are exhausted and one illness can bankrupt a family, effecting their children and grandchildren. It’s a trade off and I’m not sure we’re on the better end.
Agreed 1000%. One thing that changed my perspective was reading “The Nordic Theory of Everything” by Anu Partunen (yes, I realize that the Netherlands isn’t Nordic). In the book, she points out that many Americans pay tax rates that are similar to some Europeans, but we get hardly anything in return. And we have to fund our own retirements (apart from Social Security), pay outrageous amounts for college for our kids, pay expensive medical costs that some people can’t cover and literally die as a result, etc. it’s gotten to the point that I feel so envious of those in W. Europe, Canada, New Zealand, etc….they are living in different universes than we are. To have that safety net, to not have to worry about ending up on the street, must be amazing. My family is doing quite well, but my husband is the bread-winner and our insurance is all through him. Anyone can literally end up on the street in this country. All it takes is a car accident or a job loss.
“Anyone can literally end up on the street in this country. All it takes is a car accident or a job loss.”
Accurate and chilling. So awful.
Thank you for making this point! I was going to say the same thing. Our overall tax rate is not that much less than in Europe, and we get nothing. I am self-employed, and I have to pay a significant amount in tax. I also pay $1000 per month in student loan payments (would not have to pay if I had free or low cost college in Europe); $1000 per month for our health insurance because being self-employed means buying on the individual market; and $700 per month on child care for one of our children (the other is in public school, thank god), and that is somewhat subsidized because it is through our religious home, to which we also pay membership dues. As a self-employed person, if I take maternity leave, I make no money. I have no support structure. All of my tax money goes to bombing innocent people in the middle east and allowing major corporations to scoot by without paying their fair share. Not to mention people like our President. I pay so much and get so little, and he has so much. It’s not fair and does not make me a relaxed mother.
Thanks for the recommendation! We’re actually moving to the Netherlands in a few months with our small kids, so I look forward to finding out a bit about the parenting culture. :)
So exciting! I’m sending you good packing vibes. I hope you love it.
I cannot speak to nationalities, but after my first year of teaching I told all of my friends that I would be happy to teach in a school filled with Mormons!(I had six or seven LDS students.) Everything else aside, I found the parental involvement level and willingness to work with me unparalleled. I’ve never experienced that kind of support from any other specific demographic during my education career. That said, I have never had any students from The Netherlands. They might be outstanding as well.
I love the discussions you have been having here lately, Gabby! So good!
Too funny! Mormons really do have a reputation for being excellent students and excellent workers. Where do/did you teach?
And thanks for joining in the discussions. So many smart women. It’s the best.
I am Belgian, next to the Netherlands and I can say we are also reading books about how the Nordic people are happy hahaha. And I know a lot of Instagram dutchies with black and white cards. hahaha. I think this i written by a model family or so… It’s not all that HAPPY HAPPY over here.
Hahaha. Good to know Americans aren’t the only ones obsessed with how other countries are raising their kids and buying black & white flash cards for babies.
For many countries in Europe, there is universal healthcare, childcare and extensive maternity leave too. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my kids. But I have friends who are back to work 6 weeks postpartum and it’s so hard for them. We pay more for healthcare, childcare, work longer hours, and don’t get a proper amount of time with our babies after they are born. These are stressful things for Americans that put us at a huge disadvantage to be the best at raising our “happy children”… BUT I think we do a really great job despite all these obstacles to parenting.
A Dutchie signing in here: I agree with Nathalie. Not all is perfect over here and we are all (like parents in any country) doing our best to find the perfect work/life balance. You have your good and bad parents just like anywhere and you have your relaxed and your helicopter moms. That being said though, I do recognize a certain laid back attitude to parenting. I have one friend with black and white cards, but that’s about it. We love to take the kids to the (petting) zoo, woods, beach or city and just wander around and play. I have no friends with small children (mine are 1 and 2) who are busy prepping their kiddo’s for later in life (apart from sharing that freaking toy ‘cuz the world does not revolve just around you ;p).
Absolutely not all, but dads in general tend to be pretty hands on over here with work and family duties being divied up (though, like anywhere, there is still room for improvement in this department ;p). In my humble observation that’s often the key to happy kids: relaxed and happy parents make for relaxed and happy kids. Also my mini’s are head over heals in love with their dad so getting to spend time with him greatly adds to their hapiness (my eldest told me this morning in all earnest that he is a superhero :)). As a sidenote, I remember when I studied in the UK that I was super surprised at the extreme difference between the two schooling systems. I believe this has changed somewhat over the years, but when I was little there was virtually no homework in primary school and in general there was very little pressure on kids in school. Even in secondary school there is still quite a lot of free time to just be a teenager (and I went to a high pressure school with a solid teaching of classic languages and all). In hindsight I was very glad to have grown up in a system that did not pressure this perfectionist from such a young age because I think that would have greatly impacted my quality of life as a kid ;)
And maybe, just maybe, the high density of internet connection enables us to browse the internet and learn from people all around the globe :) I for one LOVE all the different perspectives this site and others provide. It sometimes makes me reconsider what I had previously not even thought about. Thanks for that! :)
I LOVE your comment so much, Daphne. Thanks for chiming in. I especially love your descriptions of hands-on dads and free time to just be a teenager.
I feel like I definitely favor the Dutch parenting model, anything that makes child-rearing more simplified seems easier to me… I almost feel like this ties into last weeks conversation about being mediocre… and that seems so enjoyable too.
Oh totally! I agree it relates to our discussion about being mediocre. If you’re goal is happy kids instead of successful kids is that mediocre?
Another Dutchie here. I think Daphne’s got it right. Nothing is perfect here in the Netherlands and parents aren’t either. There are lots of downsides to the general approach to parenting here as well. It’s not easy to excel in a culture that values ‘normality’ for instance, and it’s often frowned upon if a mother chooses to work more than 2-3 days a week, especially when the children are still small. (Standards for fathers -however hands-on – are still quite different…) But I am really grateful for the independence children have. My 11-year old has been cycling to school / sports / friends on her own for years now. I wave her off and return to work (I’m self employed) and in good time, I’ll see her cycling back up our garden path again. Of course, bad things can happen anywhere, but in general, this is a good place tot let children grow into adults at their own pace.
My American husband grew up in the Netherlands… so I agree. We tend to be casual parents… we live in an area that puts high value in high achieving children.. it’s part of the reason we feel out of place. We just want happy and regulated and hardworking kids. The rest is frosting.
“We just want happy and regulated and hardworking kids. The rest is frosting.”
I love this.
I texted the link to this article to my sister who lives as an expat in Copenhagen. Her response: “Honestly, it’s probably all true. I’ve seen all the examples they give happen is real life. Easier to preach then to practice I’m sure. But it’s probably an accurate article. Specifically there is one totally Dutch mom at school and she and her son are the most calm and seem to always be happy in their roles.”. So there you go, American perspective in Denmark.
Hi there, how interesting! I’m not Dutch but I’ve been living in the Netherlands for almost 3 years. We came from Italy and there are definitely things I picked up and appreciated from the attitude that Dutchies have towards their kids (I was also never the overpowering stereotype of an Italian “mamma”) but I am far from considering them better nor more successful than other approaches – it doesn’t help much if you have really happy kids that, once they reach the age of 14 become depressed, feel abnormal or develop a huge and sudden fear of failure (I read that apparently almost 40% of dutch adolescents have/feel they have some level of ‘disability’, mental or otherwise). At this point, in fact, we are struggling to find a place in an international school for our son, which is not something I had thought we’d want to do. On the whole, even though it is still extremely different than the US system, I’m not impressed with the system here, but it has more to do with the school/child services systems than the parenting as such. As a term of comparison, even with the government subsidies half of my salary goes to daycare/ after school bills. I’ve had incredible prejudice thrown at me from several mothers and day care centers because I work full time (working part-time sounds fun until its something you HAVE to do otherwise you’re clearly a bad mother) and the primary school system deals with bullying (a nation-wide directed priority) by trying to make everyone the same rather than enhancing diversity and acceptance. Not to mention what it was like to have a baby here… well, sorry, this topic clearly touched a nerve..I suppose I’ve become a tad frustrated with the general lack of mental flexibility I’ve encountered. Either way, I know that dutchies tend to look at Danish and Swedish parenting/lifestyle systems as they are seen as the “utopia” from here, personally I suspect its more about personal experience than country-based philosophies.
So interesting! Here I am admiring the Dutch, while it sounds like they are admiring the Swedes and Danes.
Soooo interesting! Fellow Dutchie here, married to a Brit and so far having raised my chickens in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Zurich. Totally going to order the book, can’t wait to read it. Couldn’t agree more with the above Dutch ladies that we very much have our own set of issues in my native Netherlands. However, when comparing my own upbringing (and what I see my Dutch friends do with their kids in the Netherlands) to the experience in Hong Kong (and to a lesser extent in our current expat community in Switzerland), I am grateful for the laissez-faire approach we experienced. Not just because hanging out together as a family without the stress of having to go somewhere or so something special, is just super nice, as mentioned above. It’s also because I am a big believer in creativity being the most important quality in a person. Not just the arts and crafts kind, but the application of creative thinking to real problems. And creativty is borne out of having time to think, even to be bored. When kids’ every minute are filled with activities, it doesn’t just mean there is no time for just being with each other,but they will also struggle to develop this quality. Anyhoo, that’s just my two cents. Have a fab day everyone!
I really appreciate this discussion and what appears to be the Dutch sensibility that we don’t have to over program our kids. I feel like here in the US, the new status symbol is all the extra-curricular and life-enhancing experiences you can provide for your children. The summer camps, extra tutoring, music/dance/art lessons, school trips, competitive sports teams. We can’t afford all of those things for our children and I feel so sad about it sometimes. But maybe it’s ok. I’d be happy if we could provide them with the opportunity to develop at least 1 special interest. After that, it’s time spent with family and friends, and that counts for something too.
Sorry that I’m late to the party, but I couldn’t help but chime in. As an American raising a toddler in Sweden with a Swedish husband, I see a lot of similarities to the Dutch culture of child-rearing touted by the first book. Sadly, while my aspirations may have been to raise a Bonpoint-wearing, happily omnivorous, “seen-and-not-heard” French child…that’s just wholly incompatible with our life here in Scandinavia!
As a type-A personality, at first I was taken aback by the easygoing Swedes, both the adults AND the children. I’m now trying to embrace this more relaxed style, as I can see its obvious benefits to my family and my child. In my mind, its origins are rooted in circumstances very specific to this country, like free education, basic job security, a good universal healthcare system, 18 months paid parental leave per child, preschool from age of 1 (we pay $135/months for 40 hours/week), 5+ weeks of vacation plus public holidays annually, and a generally accepted work/life balance which heavily favors the “life” side of the equation. All of this leads to much less stress, which means more relaxed parents, and thus more relaxed children.
There are more subtle factors at play, too. There is a huge emphasis on equality, both gender equality and societal equality. Everyone generally expects and receives the same treatment, regardless of their role. You refer to doctors, teachers, and government officials by their first name. Plumbers, janitors and bus drivers are given the same amount of respect as lawyers and professors. Minimum salaries are high, there is a good basic standard of living, and salaries don’t escalate so much beyond a certain point, which means the vast majority of the country is very solidly middle class. It feels like very few people are “hustling” to make a living, and thus don’t put pressure on their children to excel in scholastic/athletic/extra-curicular arenas, as they are not viewed as a necessity to be successful in life. And the definition of success is not something tied to work achievements or monetary gains, rather having close friends, a happy family, and a cozy home.
Great post!! A few of my closest girlfriends are Dutch, and their child are really extraordinary! Polite, Responsible, Curious, Active…I’ve asked them what their recipe is, but they keep telling me it’s a family secret. ;)
I think I will have to pick up a copy of “The Happiest Kids In The World.”
I live abroad and have for over 10 years. Currently we live in a “compound” with many Europeans. Parents from each country are so different! . It’s so interesting. The French moms are not friends with anyone but French (no exception). This has been the case in the 3 countries that I’ve lived in. We live between 2 French families and we haven’t really spoken. The Dutch are very friendly and generally practice hands-off parenting. We are friends with many Dutch families – they are happy, fun and love children. They value “street smarts” as part of their children’s education so they do not intervene as much as American parents. This leads to hearing colorful language (F-bombs from 5 year olds) and dealing with 9 year olds playing Grand Theft Auto. My children have many Dutch friends and it have been fun and challenging.
Wow!Very interesting…No wonder Hans of Holland in spite of being a kid managed to save the country…such bravery,such confidence can only be present in a truly free child.
I am late here too… But I finally got the book. I love the way the author describes this American generation: “mompetition”, “overly engaged parents” etc. Yes, we are just too much. Yes, we need to relax. And, unfortunately, yes, our kids are under a lot of pressure.
But we don’t have the Dutch pension system. We don’t have the Dutch safe future. In America, you can spend all your savings at once if you have a medical emergency – and you pay a fortune every month to have a so-so health insurance!
Where is the solution?
Will surely I have to read The Happiest Kids In The World.
Seems like I have to get “The Happiest Kids In The World”. :)