There is a lot of intrigue over things that the world does not know about. The Amish community is one of those things. They seem to live in a shroud of mystery, keeping to themselves, and the world doesn’t really understand them. When the world does not understand something, misconceptions can be born.
When all the fluff is broken down, the Amish are not much different than us. They work, they have fun, and they raise children. However, the way in which they raise children is a lot different than the rest of the world.
Family is one of the most treasured things in the Amish community and they see it as a gift from God. They lead a simple life, with limitations to the use of technology, and they all gather at the dinner table every night. They don’t believe in violence or anything that may be considered ‘vain.’ These are just a few of their beliefs, so it is bound to reflect in their parenting styles.
The best way to understand a culture and community is to learn about them. There are 20 distinct ways the Amish are raising their children differently than the rest of the world, and it is fascinating to explore.
20 Eat Or Starve
No one knows the struggle of getting someone to eat more than a mother of a toddler. Meal times can always be a challenge and the Amish are no exception. Except, they are much stricter about meal times. The reason they can’t tolerate it is because they can’t afford too. Most Amish families have a tight budget and they can’t afford to waste any of it on unwanted food.
From an early age, Amish children are told to eat whatever is given to them even if they don’t like it. They enforce these rules by making sure they eat a variety of foods from a very early age and they don’t tend to give in as quick as the rest of us do to avoid a toddler meltdown.
19 How Do The Amish Stand With Adoption?
The Amish seem like a tight-knit community, and they are, but that may lead people to wonder if they ever accept children who are not Amish born. Us non-Amish want to know if the Amish ever adopt children from other cultures. The answer is, yes. Amish couples who cannot have children naturally are allowed to adopt non-Amish children from outside the community. They also serve as foster parents when needed as well.
They are also known to adopt Amish children when there is a need for it. There is a specific newsletter called Amish Adoption Advocate that serves as the biggest resource for adoptive families in the Amish community.
18 School Is Not A Priority
In the rest of the world, school is very important. As soon as children are old enough, they are in school and they are expected to stay in school until they are 18. Then, they are encouraged to enter college or education. The Amish do not hold the same standards when it comes to education.
Children do still start school in the first grade when they are around six or seven, but they do not stay in school as long as everyone else does. Normally, they are done school by the time grade eight comes around, but then they move on to help in the fields or at home. Before formal school starts, families to start educating their children by teaching them to read and write.
17 No Trips To The ER!
It is a parent’s nightmare for something to happen to their child. Children are bound to get hurt, it is part of the process and because they spend a lot of time exploring the world around them, they are bound to fall down once or twice. Those who are not Amish are not as hesitant to run to the emergency room if they need too.
The Amish don’t visit the hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. This relates back to the section on childbirth and it has a lot to do with the fact that they cannot afford it. So, unless the injury is life-threatening, they are more likely to treat their child at home.
16 Is Rumspringa A Real Thing?
The concept of Rumspringa has been a big point of conversation, and that is mostly due to TV shows like Breaking Amish. The show followed some Amish teenagers as they ventured into the rest of the world and got into a lot of trouble along the way. This is partly to blame for the misconceptions the world has about the Amish community.
Rumspringa (or running around) is a real thing among the Amish, but it is not the partying we see on TV. It is mostly a time for the young to try things the community doesn’t normally partake in. Most of the time, it means that young teen boys will get their drivers license and use a vehicle during this time. They still remain at home, and they even park their temporary car at their parent’s house.
15 Good Old-Fashioned Family Vacation
A lot of families all over the world enjoy going on vacations. They travel and make memories that will last a lifetime. Do the Amish take their children on vacations? The answer is that they do go on family vacations and they take their children with them. A lot of people have spotted the Amish on vacation as they are not easy to miss.
They also travel all over, even internationally. While they do not use cars to travel or a lot of the modern technology that we know they will go on a plane and travel to other countries. This is probably seen as a treat to a lot of the Amish children as they get to experience the world around them and outside of their community.
14 And We Thought Our Chores Were Hard!
There is nothing a child doesn’t like to hear more than it is time to do their chores. They complain and they drag their feet and sometimes mom just wants to do them herself, so they get done and done properly. Well, the next time your child complains about cleaning their room or taking the trash out, you can remind them of the type of chores the Amish children have to do.
Amish children have a lot of chores and a lot of them are related to hard labor. There is always farming that needs to be done and sometimes barns have to be built and even the children are expected to help out with these tasks.
13 Is There Any Fun To Be Had?
This article may make it seem like Amish children have no fun. That it is all serious and work all of the time with little room for children to just be children. This is not true, and they may not have fun in the sense we understand it, but they definitely play. Play is vital for learning and the Amish know this too, so the Amish children are encouraged to play.
The main difference seems to be that the Amish children are pushed to play outside. They go out and play various sports such as softball, football, hockey, and volleyball. If it is a rainy day and the children cannot get outside, they stay inside and play board families. It is common to see adults playing with them as well.
12 No Problem Waking Up Their Kids Early!
Has anyone ever tried to wake up their young child for school? It is a nightmare, and they complain and whine and it all normally ends in everyone crying, including mom. The children in the Amish community have no problem getting up early because they have always gotten up early.
A big part of the Amish community is farming, and anyone who knows anything about a farm knows that there is a lot to do first thing in the morning. Animals and crops need to be tended to and the children take on a lot of these chores. They have to be up early and out on the fields working. Since they have been forced to wake up early most of their life, they rarely see an issue with it.
11 How Many Siblings Will A Kid Have?
It is no secret that the number of children people are having around the world is dropping. Large families used to be the way things were done, but now families are having one to two children. The Amish hold onto that trend of having large families. Amish families are large, and they average at about six to seven children. Some families have up to nine children!
It is expected that an Amish woman will grow up to have a large family and it is not unexpected to have an Amish woman fall pregnant shortly following her wedding. Amish women do not often use birth control as well, because they view children as a gift from God. However, some Amish women do use family planning methods, so it is not completely banned.
10 Where Do The Amish Give Birth?
This one may not be about how they are raising their children, but it is more about how they are bringing their babies into the world. This one has peaked a lot of people’s curiosity as they assume that the Amish do not take advantage of any modern meds. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the Amish way of life.
The Amish women do prefer to have their children at home, but they are not opposed to medical intervention if needed. The main reason the Amish prefer to have children at home or at a birth center is because they generally do not have insurance and cannot pay to use the hospital. They also prefer to be closer to their family.
9 Screen Time Is Never An Issue
Screen time is a big topic right now in the parenting world. Parents all over are constantly worrying that their little one is watching too much TV or spending too much time on their tablets. This is not an issue for Amish families. While they do enjoy the use of technology, there are strict guidelines on it and when it can be used.
When it comes to technology, the practices are different between groups and each one has their own guidelines on how much is okay. These practices are normally set by the church and they govern what kind of technology and how much is okay. Even with the use of technology, it is normally limited to solar panels and diesel-powered laundry machines.
8 Let’s Get Through The Rough Stuff First
One of the hardest things about having a child is knowing that you will have to discipline them at some point. There are various methods out there on how to best discipline your child, and each has its pros and cons but how do the Amish do it?
Obedience to your parents and elders is very important to the Amish community and it is installed in them from a very young age. The method of discipline the Amish use is one that is not used commonly in the rest of the world anymore. It is also not just reserved for the home, but it is used in school as well. When do they start disciplining? The Amish believe that a child can be disciplined as soon as they exhibit a strong will.
7 Late Night Teenage Conversations?
Does anyone remember when they were a teenager and spent all that time on the phone talking to their friends? My mom could never understand how I could spend all day in school with someone and then come home and talk on the phone with them for hours. Phone use is quite the battle in a home with a teenager.
The Amish do not have telephones in their home, and teenagers are not able to call up their friends for a chat full of gossip. We are seeing more and more incorporation of phones in Amish homes, but they are still a foreign item. Some of the main reasons the Amish reject telephones is due to the connection to the outside world, too much convenience and it promotes gossip, which is frowned upon.
6 No One Cares About The Latest Trends
Image means a lot to many people in the world and everyone wants to have the latest trend. This is even true for our children and all we have to do is walk into a children’s clothing store and we can easily spot what is considered ‘cool’ on the school grounds now. This is not always a good thing, as children can be teased if they are not wearing what others deem as trendy.
The Amish don’t have this problem as they adhere to a pretty strict dress code. The clothing the Amish wear is one of the most recognizable features of the community. The plain clothing their children wear is considered modern and practical. It also suppresses any feelings of jealousy, competitiveness and it promotes unity within the culture.
5 No Military Service for These Families
There is great pride in serving one’s country in the military and a lot of young teens and men sign up to serve their country when they turn of age. The Amish do not serve their country so there is no anxiety in the minds of young boys as they grow up. The Amish community believes in living a life of non-resistance.
What this means is that there can be a refusal to sue in a court of law, use coercive force as a member of the government, and to refrain from joining the military. They abstain from using force in any kind of situation and are much like pacifists in nature.
4 You Won't Find Many Family Portraits Around Here
Another thought a lot of people have of the Amish people is that they do not have their photograph taken. That they do not want to appear on camera in any way. This is not understood by the rest of the world who have a ton of pictures of their families and can’t imagine how they would remember what their kid looked like as a baby without having pictures.
The Amish do not regularly have their picture taken. They may have a few snaps here and there but generally, they avoid having their picture taken. They find them ‘graven images.’ Now, there are some exceptions to this rule. As long as they are not posing for a picture, they do not mind having them taken.
3 The Big 'V'
Vaccinations are such a buzzworthy topic in the world of parenting today that a lot of people just avoid conversations about them in general. If anyone even mentions the “V” word, everyone tries frantically to change the subject. So, where do the Amish stand on vaccinations? Well, it is not written that they are against vaccines, but they don’t generally vaccinate their children.
The reason they don’t vaccinate is because they can’t afford it. Like we mentioned earlier in the article, they don’t have private insurance coverage because most of the families are self-employed and money is scarce. They do not have the money to go to the doctor and have their children vaccinated. According to AmishAmerica.com another reason the Amish do not believe in vaccines is because that would mean that they believe a man over God.
2 Every Sunday Is A Big Deal
It is no secret that the lifestyle of a church family is slowly going away. Churches are seeing less and less attendance numbers and the congregations they do have are generally the older population. The Amish live their life centered around their church. They are, by all accounts, Christian but they have one difference that sets them apart.
Amish children are not baptized. Baptism happens when the child has entered adulthood and it normally occurs after they have gone through Rumspringa. This is widely different than how Christianity works in the rest of the world. Children also attend church services every week with their family, no exceptions.
1 Family Dinner, No Exceptions
The world is a busy place, and more and more families are getting stretched thin and finding it hard to balance family time with all of the other responsibilities in the world. The Amish don’t make this an issue and they still find it very important to have family meals every night. The rest of the world finds themselves in situations where everyone eats at a different time due to conflicting schedules.
Not the Amish though, they make it a point to eat as a family. Every morning before they tackle all the tasks of the day a typical Amish family will gather for a large family breakfast. This is after all the chores are done of course. This tradition ensures that the family spends time with the ones they love no matter how busy their work schedule is.
References: amishamerica.com, tasteofhome.com, amishgazebos.com, nationalgeographic.com