Parenting Without Borders

Parenting Without Borders

Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us

Book - 2013
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A primer on the world's best parenting strategies--with eye-opening research on the surprising disadvantages lurking in the typical American childhood. 
 
Research reveals American kids today lag well behind the rest of the world in terms of academic achievement, happiness, and wellness. Meanwhile the battle over whether parents are to blame for fostering a generation of helpless kids rages on. Christine Gross-Loh (who raised her young children in Japan for five years) exposes the hidden, culturally-determined norms we have about "good parenting," and asks, are there parenting strategies that other countries are getting  right  that we are not? This book takes us from Finland, and Sweden to Germany, France, Japan, China, Italy, and more, and examines how parents successfully foster resilience, creativity, independence and academic excellence in their children. Revealing the surprising ways in which culture shapes our parenting, Gross-Loh also offers objective, research-based insight into what strategies are best for children and why.

Among her eye-opening findings:


Co-sleeping, typical in most of the world's families, may promote independence in kids. American-style "hoverparenting" is unique in the world and can damage a child's resilience. Finnish children, who rank among the world's highest academic achievers, enjoy multiple recesses a day. Our obsession with self-esteem--a concept that doesn't exist in many countries--may limit a child's potential

At last bringing empirical research to the debate,  Parenting Without Borders  offers new and provocative thinking on the secrets to raising a confident and capable generation.

Publisher: New York : Avery, c2013.
ISBN: 9781583334553
1583334556
Characteristics: 308 p.

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ksoles Sep 17, 2013

Harvard-educated, first generation Korean-American Christine Gross-Log spent five years raising four kids in Japan. Her parenting research has taken her to France, Sweden, Italy and Finland where she has interviewed dozens of parents, teens and children. Her resulting new book, "Parenting Without Borders" provides an intriguing look at parenting paradigms across the globe.

In four parts, Gross-Loh patiently examines how different cultures teach their children to sleep, eat, play, build self-esteem and become responsible adults. Her grounded explications and engaging personal anecdotes make this a positive contribution to the genre of parenting books. Occasionally, the author's repetitive idealization of certain overseas child-rearing practices wears thin. But at least she acknowledges the challenges of adopting approaches like France’s two-hour multicourse school lunch, Japan’s emphasis on running family errands as a means of developing self-reliance or Finland’s individualized education plan for each student.

Offering practical strategies that American families could use immediately would strengthen the book; nevertheless, this strong survey persuasively shows that American parents, who experience more angst and judgment than those abroad, provide their children with plenty of individualism and tolerance but not enough empathy or autonomy.

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