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· Dutch babies seem so content, and sleep so well?
· Dutch parents let their kids play outside on their own?
· The Dutch trust their children to bike to school?
· Dutch schools not set homework for the under-tens?
· Dutch teenagers not rebel?
· What is the secret of bringing up the happiest kids in the world?
In a recent UNICEF study of child well-being, Dutch children came out on top as the happiest all-round. Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison, both married to Dutchmen and bringing up their kids in Holland, examine the unique environment that enables the Dutch to turn out such contented, well-adjusted and healthy babies, children and teens.
Read this book if you want to find out what lessons you can learn from Dutch parents, to ensure your kids turn out happy!
American blogger Acosta (Finding Dutchland), and Hutchison, a British translator of Dutch literature, provide their own perspective on the 2013 UNICEF study reporting Dutch children are the world's happiest. Both authors are expats married to Dutchmen and raising their children in the Netherlands. They noticed the country's relaxed parenting style and the confident, well-adjusted children it produces, so unlike the stressed parents and kids in their home countries. The two women explain that the core idea for Dutch parents is to treat children as "individuals rather than extensions of themselves." Free of the demanding helicopter-parenting so rampant in the U.S. and U.K., children are given much more freedom to play and explore. Subjects covered include birth (done at home with a midwife), parental happiness (communities pitch in to shift some of the burden off parents), and raising teenagers (parents and teens set boundaries together.) Along with citations of supporting research studies and interviews with Dutch parents, witty sidebars are woven throughout, discussing Dutch birthday-party ideas, how to cycle while carrying an umbrella, and house rules for teenagers. American parents exhausted by the pressures and expectations of parenting will appreciate this refreshing look at how another culture handles the same issues.
As an expat mom living in The Netherlands, I had serious doubts about the school system and in general raising my boy in the low lands. After reading Rina's and Michelle's book that doubts sort of faded away (as a mom you are always doubting).
I was particularly concern with how the high school is segmented, where kids get sent to different types of education depending on their capabilities. I thought this was unfair since this is based on an exam result. I learned through the book that this is not the case, actually the kids are sent to different types of school based on the teacher recommendation and the exam results. And kids can thrive better in an environment better suitable for their intelligence. Is basically, the principle that one shoe doesn't fit all. In addition, having been raised in a developing country where it's all about grades and performing and getting a diploma to be able to have a decent income, is not a good starting point for raising a kid in a country like The Netherlands. The book reassured me that raising my kid here is liberating. Parents and kids are not busy with grades and competition, but more with happiness and building strong emotional and social intelligence. Read it. You will be doing a favor to yourself and your children.