Parents who live abroad and decide to visit the US are often very surprised to see some of the oversights that take place blithely among their counterparts across the pond.
According to Redbook Mag, most parents in the US wouldn’t even blink at the thought of using disposable diapers and having to run out to the grocery store every other week or so in order to stock up on some more when their bundle of joy returns home from the hospital.
In comparison, other parts of the world have parents that either prefer to use cloth diapers because they are reusable and don’t contribute to landfill waste or let their child go diaper-free and simply try to toilet train them from a young age.
Redbook Mag also points out that the whole concept of being really strict with a child’s bedtime and making them get some shut-eye by a certain time baffles parents who hail from a country like Spain because they prefer to let their children stay up a little bit later and interact with the rest of the family, thereby improving their social and interpersonal development.
Underneath are a list of other ways in which parents abroad would be side-eying their US counterparts and their parenting methods.
20 Relying On Baby Walkers For Infants
It is very common for parents in the US to purchase a baby walker to help their infant fine-tune their motor skills and allow them to safely practice the movements they need in order to learn how to walk, but this isn’t always a common practice in other countries for a wide variety of reasons.
Redbook Mag writes that in Canada for example, baby walkers were actually banned from the country back in 2004 because the country’s Consumer Products Safety Commission did some research, and the results of their inquiry showed that baby walkers can actually hinder an infant’s burgeoning walking skills.
19 Purchasing SUVs To Drive Their Families Around
In the outer boroughs of New York, no one would blink an eye at a family of four using an SUV to get around. This type of car is so popular for parents that it is common for traffic jams to get started on the streets of the Big Apple around pick-up time due to the fact that it seems as if every parent has an SUV and refuses to drive any other kind of car.
Redbook Mag notes that while SUVs are very popular amongst US parents, in other countries many parents prefer driving compact sedans instead of a big clunky car that can be difficult to maneuver on the road.
18 Using A Loud Voice To Reprimand A Child
Business Insider notes that moms and dads that live in other countries are always really surprised to learn that their US counterparts have a habit of using a loud voice in order to reprimand their children when they did something wrong.
Being too stern and too harsh in your tone has actually been proven by science to be incredibly detrimental to a child’s development; in fact, one study showed that children whose parents used a loud voice to reprimand them actually showed more aggressive behavior than parents who used positive reinforcement in order to teach their children right from wrong.
17 The Television Is The Baby Sitter
According to the New York Daily News, CouponCodes4u.com conducted a survey that showed 58 percent of US parents relied on the television as a baby sitter when their children were bored so that mom and dad could get some time for themselves in order to relax. Many parents also admitted that they have started turning to other gadgets such as tablets and smartphones in order to keep their children entertained, too.
In other countries around the world, parents don’t mind if their child has a healthy dose of screen time kicking back and watching television or playing a video game after their homework is finished, but they make sure that their little one does so in moderation and know that electronics are no substitute for a baby sitter.
16 Dressing Them Like They Are Going To Be A Supermodel
It is interesting to look back at how children’s clothing has changed from generation to generation. When I was growing up, leggings and track pants were incredibly popular among my peers to the point where I didn’t start wearing jeans until I hit the age of 11.
Quartzy points out that the trends of yore have done a 360 turn and it is far more common for parents to spend a ton of money on their child’s clothes in the hopes of turning them into a social media star online. This is largely a US phenomenon, as parents in other countries aren’t trying to break bank turning their child into a fashionista.
15 Slacking Off On Dental Hygiene
Colgate writes that even when parents try to instill good dental hygiene in their children, it is still pretty common for dentists to see patients (both young and old) that brush their teeth for less than two minutes.
Most dentists would say that ideally, you and your child should be brushing your teeth for two to three minutes, twice a day. But if you really want to make sure that your teeth are squeaky clean, it is best to aim for four or five minutes and use a timer to keep track. Parents also need to teach their children to not just brush aimlessly either — it’s better to make sure that the tooth brush hits every inch of every tooth rather than just give it a cursory glance.
14 Dancing Around The Subject Of Biological Changes For Teens
Today’s Parent points out that a major problem amongst parents here is that they shy away from having a frank, no-nonsense discussion with their pre-teen children about all of the changes that are going to take place in their body very soon — if the entire process hasn’t already started.
It’s not a good idea to leave this discussion up to your child’s school, since there is no guarantee that they’ll even cover the important parts and not just gloss over it. Parents in other countries aren’t nearly this shy or squeamish when talking to their children about certain topics, and their children grow up to be more prepared to handle their teenaged years as a result.
13 Giving Kids Too Many Chores
Time notes that children living in the US are often given tons of chores to complete by their parents as well as trying to finish up their homework and participate in after school activities such as dance class or practicing with their baseball team.
Being this busy can be detrimental to their health even into adulthood as one study from Michigan State University discovered that when children have too many chores to perform, there is a good chance that they will grow up to be reluctant parents with their own children and they won’t be able to discern how much is too much when it comes to assigning their own children chores and household activities.
12 Giving Kids Huge Portions At Mealtimes
According to Redbook Mag, portion sizes for meals are a heck of a lot bigger compared to the meals in other countries, such as France or England. My cousin married a guy from the UK, and the first time he visited New York, he almost fell over because he was so surprised to see the large portions.
The Guardian adds that the downside to these ginormous portion sizes is that parents and their children in the US don’t get a chance to learn what proper-sized meals should be and wind up consuming more helpings on their plate than they should, which could wind up negatively affecting their health.
11 Not Praising Kids For Their Effort
Business Insider points out that unlike parents in other countries that praise their child’s effort despite whatever the outcome is, the only time many parents here praise their child is if they have a positive result. For example, buying them an ice cream cone from the local ice cream parlor if they got all straight A's on their report card.
Praising a child’s results instead of the effort they made to complete the task isn’t a good idea because it can accidentally train children to seek out constant approval from others and it can put too much pressure on their shoulders to perform well.
10 Letting Their Children Play Very Action-Packed Video Games
According to ABC News, many US parents don’t bat an eye at their children purchasing and playing video games with a ton of action in the storyline, a decision which raises plenty of eyebrows from other parents in other parts of the world because they don’t agree with that idea at all.
For example, the video game Manhunt 2 was actually banned in Great Britain because it was thought to be far too action-packed for children to play. Another part of the problem is that not only are many parents lax about the content of the video games they are playing, even if they make a half-hearted attempt to tell them they can’t buy it, there are still ways that children as young as 12 can go out and purchase video games meant for older teenagers on the sly.
9 Constantly Using Disposable Diapers
When my little sister was an infant, my parents practically bought out the entire store by the end of every month and our waste bins for the household were practically overflowing with used diapers by the time she learned to use the restroom on her own.
Redbook Mag adds that while here it is pretty common for parents to use disposable diapers, parents in other countries either let their child go diaper-less and hold them over the toilet when they have to go to the bathroom or they use reusable cloth diapers since they are better for the environment in the long run.
8 Finding Tutors For Children Who Have Slipping Grades
The BBC writes that it is quite common for parents here to doubt the school’s ability to teach their child and if they see any sign that their child’s grades are sagging, then they immediately go online and find a pricey tutor in order to bring their little one’s grades up to par.
In comparison, countries such as Denmark and Finland produce excellent students that often score high when observed by the Programme for International Student Assessment but the rates for tutoring are low due to the fact that the parents in those countries still trust the schools to adequately teach their children what they need to learn and to help them if they see they are having trouble in class.
7 Lack Of Cooking Skills From A Young Age
In previous generations, plenty of US students had to take a home economics course that taught them the basics of how to prepare and cook a meal. Once they got home, their parents would often expect them to help out in the kitchen so that dinner could be ready on time and these in-home lessons often started at an early age.
Science Daily points out that these life skills have largely disappeared from children in this generation and a study conducted by the Lancaster University discovered that many teenagers don’t know their way around the kitchen. Meanwhile, in other countries, there isn’t such a wide gap between the generations when it comes to basic life skills such as cooking and would be surprised that teens in the US can’t even do simple tasks in the kitchen.
6 Indulging Toddlers Too Much
Very Well Family writes that it is very common for parents in the US to overindulge their toddler in pretty much all aspects of their lives For example, such as giving into a toddler’s temper tantrum because he wants a candy bar from the grocery store or constantly carrying their little girl into pre-school because she doesn’t want to walk the short distance from the car into the classroom.
Parents that overindulge their toddler do so out of the goodness of their hearts, but many moms and dads in other countries are a heck of a lot stricter with their toddlers because they know too much indulgent can lead to children growing up not learning how to take responsibility for their actions and being too demanding.
5 Expecting Too Much From Your Child
Business Insider notes that it seems to be a strictly US-based phenomenon to expect too much out of their children and over-schedule their entire day from morning until night because it is the norm for kids these days to be kept incredibly busy.
Between attending school, finishing up their homework and being chauffeured around from after-school activity to after-school activity, they have no time for themselves or to just be a kid and go outside and play with their friends at the local park. This is a far cry from the motto of previous generations who valued children having to do some chores, but also were allowed to just hang out with their buddies on the stoop once they were done.
4 Shielding Them From Consequences
Psychology Today points out that there are plenty of parents that are way too overprotective and try to shield their children from the consequences of their actions. The fact that helicopter parenting, in which mom and dad are very overprotective of their children and try to keep them in a bubble, is a popular trend amongst US parents only adds to the problem.
Parents in other countries are more realistic and don’t try to hide their child from the harsh realities of life or having their child face the consequences of their actions because they know that such life lessons help their little one grow up to be a resilient and independent adult.
3 Avoid Talking About Money
According to Business Insider, US parents don’t teach their children about the value of money from the time they are very young and this is detrimental to their development, since many kids grow up to become teenagers that don’t know how to manage their own savings very well.
In other countries, parents might not talk about more adult financial topics such as a loan or being in debt, but they make darn sure that their children know very well that items such as a new pair of shoes cost money and in order to obtain that money, they need to work hard for it. They are also taught life skills such as balancing a checkbook and paying mortgages in schools — topics which have largely disappeared from school curriculums across the pond.
2 Solving Their Interpersonal Problems For Them
Business Insider writes that it is very common for parents in the US to stick their nose in where they don’t belong and solve their child’s interpersonal relationships for them. For example, they will call their child’s friend’s mother and force them to make their child apologize after the two children had an argument at school.
This busybody nature doesn’t just extend to solving problems amongst their child’s friends too — it also radiates into their child’s schooling too. Redbook Mag notes that many teachers have experienced parents nowadays taking their child’s side or defending their child’s poor grades instead of believing the teacher’s word.
1 Competing With Other Parents
Business Insider adds that it is strictly a US phenomenon to see parents competing with one another in order to see who is “the best.” For example, if Suzie has an expensive birthday party at an indoor playground, then her friend Heather’s mom is going to try and outdo Suzie’s mother by hosting an even bigger and more expensive extravaganza for her child’s birthday celebration.
Then there are the parents that take the sports their children are involved in way too seriously and that will either get into an argument with a referee when they reprimand their child or they will storm into the coach’s office demanding to know why their son or daughter didn’t make the team.