Things we can Learn from Parenting in Japan

Every culture and society adds its own flavour to the otherwise similar ways of rearing up of kids. Even if parenting styles are subjective and dependent on individuals, each country has certain generic aspects of parenting that are followed by almost all the parents, making them unique features of that particular society. In this post we would be exploring these unique features about Parenting in Japan.

Parenting in Japan

Features of Japanese Parenting:

Intense love & attachment exists between parents and kids.
  • There exists a lot of physical proximity between the infant and his parents, especially the mother.
  • Co-sleeping with the child is very common in the Japanese culture.
  • Mothers are the primary source of affection and nurturance in Japan. 
  • Parents try to set examples and show how things are to be done for their kids to follow. They try to be the  role models for their children.
  • Parents try & avoid at all costs, pushing their kids into things that kids feel embarassd about. 
  • Most mothers stay back home to look after their kids till about 3 years of age. During 0-3 years period, sending children to kindergarten or hiring a baby-sitter or even leaving them with their grandparents is ususlly considered unacceptable. Mothers are hardly ever away from their children when they are small.
  • Mothers usually carry their babies around in baby slings and even take their bath together with the child.
  • Distal style of parenting is also encouraged where the parent-child communication happens through eye contact and facial expressions.
The Amae attitude
  • Till the age of 5, the child is hardly ever stopped from following his heart’s wish and mind’s desire. This helps establish a strong bond of trust between the child and the parent.
  • From 5 till 15 years of age, they are treated like servants so that the child learns to respect his wishes as well as those of others.
  • Once the child is 16, he is treated like an adult and equivalent to his parents.
Family is treated as a pillar of strength
  • Kids are encouraged to spend quality time with their grandparents and extended family so that they learn to appreciate relations.
Strong emphasis on imparting moral values
  • Each member of the society is given equal status.
  • Mothers teach their kids to respect others’ feelings. They are taught to care for even inanimate objects.
  • Children are disciplined which instills the spirit of self-reliance and no-fuss attitude in them.
  • Children are taught to be polite and empathize with others.
  • Most schools do not have central heating or air-conditioning showing kids to be as natural as possible.
  • Children are taught to value their aims and ambitions as much as value the larger interest of the society too.
Role of community is equally emphasized
  • Once a month the neighborhood is cleaned by everyone living there.
  • Elderly people often supervise while kids cross roads or walk alone on the streets.
  • Everyday students and teachers join hands to clean the school at the end of the day.
Healthy Food Habits
  • Food is given prime importance.
  • Japanese moms personally prepare and pack their kids’ lunch box every day.
  • Kids love to participate in cooking and preparation process.
  • Meal times are family times. Parents sit down with their kids and eat together.
  • Smaller portions of food are served. Rice is the staple food. Alongside healthy food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains are served. Miso soup serves as the drink during meals.

There are a lot of things we can learn from Parenting in Japan and here are my top 2 take aways – 

  1. During the building years of 0-5 years, kids are encouraged to follow their heart. This can help lay a strong foundation to shaping their character as positive, happy and self confident.
  2. Kids are encouraged and taught ti be self reliant from a young age and that the whole community plays their part in doing this. The elders on the roads look after the kids walking to school, the community is made safe for kids travellimg alone. This is teh reason on bringing uop a self reliant and independent generatiuons of adults.