(International-151) November 4, 2018 – How an American raises her children in Germany!

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SPECIAL NOTE: TONIGHT I was doing my nightly walk and listening to my fm radio at the same time…somehow I want to learn while doing something else, that means I have 4 radios stationed all over my house…learning while listening to news, music, lectures and whatever intriguing to my ears! Tonight November 4, I was doing the steps using a small wooden platform or step inside my garage, the last part of my evening walk, because I was intrigued by a conversation between Steve Ricks (the famous American travel book writer) and Sara Zaske, the author of a new book “ACHTUNG BABY”…Sara is a journalist and so she wrote this book to share with American young parents on how to raise their kids the German way, like what two earlier books did the French and the Chinese way of raising kids. The French in “Bringing Up Bébé”, and the Chinese in “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, focusing on Americans raising children the French and Chinese way, espectively. Every culture is different…and now it is Sara Zaske’s turn to tell American parents to learn the |German way, a better way to raise their children! She believes we Americans achieve less the way we try to control our children, giving them limited space and room to be themselves, the opposite of what the Germans would do to allow their children to grow like the plants in your yard…naturally in their environment, without less parental control. Of course we can always learn a thing or two from living in another culture…I will be embarking on my first novel about the policy and consequences of raising one child in China for a period of about 40 years…whatever now happened to little emperors and princesses in China today…I am looking forward to writing this novel…much will be based on my knowledge and experiences listening to and meeting many children, the products of this one child policy…and how it is impacting today’s China! Steve, usa, november 4, 2018  wechat 1962816801   blog: https://getting2knowyou-china.com  stephenehling@hotmail.com

 

Let your children run free — German style: A mother shares how moving country gave her children permission to be themselves
• Sara Zaske discusses the culture shock of moving to Germany from America
• Her new book reveals how children in Germany are taught to become self-reliant
• She shares how her experience gave permission for her to be herself
By HELEN BROWN FOR THE DAILY MAIL
4 January 2018

• Sara Zaske discusses the culture shock of moving to Germany from America
• Her new book reveals how children in Germany are taught to become self-reliant
• She shares how her experience gave permission for her to be herself

Achtung, kids!’ yelled Sara Zaske as she chased her young children through the streets of Berlin. She was frightened they were cycling too fast.
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But when they eventually came to a halt, she realised they were more worried about her reaction than any physical risks they had been taking.
As she struggled to catch her breath and reiterate her rules on speed, she realised ‘how awfully hard I was trying to control them. I had rarely heard a German teacher or parent shout “achtung” at children, a term reserved for strong danger. They have a greater trust in their children’s ability to look out for themselves.’
Zaske, a journalist, moved from Oregon, America, to Berlin in 2010, when her husband, a scientist, was offered a great job there. She realised she could maintain her writing career and hoped her two-year-old, Sophia, would benefit from a bilingual childhood. But the family had a culture shock in store.

Sara Zaske compares the difference between American and German parenting based on her experience in a new book
When they took Sophia for her first day at kita (short for ‘kindertagesstatte’) they were ‘greeted with chaos’. Children were shouting, hurling toys around and clambering up and down the ladder to a high loft space.
While most U.S. kindergartens place the emphasis on academic hothousing, their German equivalents focus on the social and emotional skills developed through play. It’s all part of the German commitment to raising children with ‘selbstandigkeit’: self-reliance.
It took a serious leap of faith for Zaske to shelve her ingrained, competitive anxiety over her daughter’s education and leave her sunny little girl in this pandemonium. She knew mothers back in the U.S. were following Baby Einstein programmes and
But soon she realised she was walking away from the kita not just without her daughter, but without the guilt heaped upon American mothers who put their children into childcare.
In Germany, it is a child’s right and privilege, not misfortune, to be enriched by the social experience of nursery. Home-schooling is against the law.
Sophia’s kita offered regular trips to local parks, child-led projects and even sleepovers — and it came at a fraction of the cost of American childcare. No wonder between 92 and 98 per cent of German children aged between three and five are enrolled, compared with only 23.4 per cent in America.
Sophia flourished, and by the time her brother Ozzie was born, Zaske would hand him over to the kita with delight. She watched them both learn to make their own choices in the German playgrounds that initially struck her as terrifying. She learned to step back philosophically, too, allowing her children to navigate their own way through ideas of religion and mortality gently introduced by their teachers.
She saw them make giggling sense of early years sex education and realised it left them better protected against abuse and less ashamed of their bodies.
Although she was shocked to discover that the age of consent is 14 in Germany, she comforted herself with the fact that the teen birth rate is three-and-a-half times lower than in the U.S. The abortion rate is four-and-a-half times lower and the HIV rate is three-and-a-half times lower.
Worried about letting Sophia walk the streets of Berlin alone, she consulted a friend who said: ‘The smartest thing to do is let go a little bit — and make sure they go to karate class.’
The six years Zaske and her family spent in Berlin convinced them that modern ‘helicopter parenting’ is damaging the very people it aims to protect. Her warm and companionable book passes on details of how the modern German system gave her permission to be herself and to let her children be themselves, too.
I closed it feeling more relaxed and confident. While both my own kids were up a tree.

‘Achtung Baby’: Should we parent more like the Germans do?
Anne Godlasky, USA TODAYPublished. Jan. 2, 2018
America may be the land of the free, home of the brave, but it’s Germany whose children display independence and whose parents have the courage to take a step back, Sara Zaske writes in Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children (Picador, 239 pp., ★★★ out of four).
Zaske and her husband left Oregon for Germany, toddler in tow. They welcomed a baby boy shortly after moving to Berlin, so they experienced everything from childbirth to grade school as expat parents. This makes Achtung ideal for parents of young ones.
Differences are notable from the get-go, from baby’s sleep (only one in five German parents stay in the room as their wee ones nod off) to government-subsidized, overwhelmingly common early childcare, which Zaske says leads to less “mom guilt.”
Many of the differences Zaske points out between Germany and the USA could also be made about 1970s America and today’s. Many kids in Germany, like American children before helicopter parenting, Zaske writes:
► Spend more time outdoors.
► Walk or bike to and from school or the playground by themselves — a move that in the U.S. can result in having the police called on you.
► Engage in what is now sometimes called “free play” — formerly known as simply “play” — without direction from parents, teachers or coaches.
Zaske puts it plainly: “We raise free and responsible children by giving them freedom and responsibility.”
One German method may have you rethinking all those Christmas gifts: toy-free time. For weeks or months, many preschools and kindergartens throughout Germany (and Switzerland and Austria) remove toys from their classrooms. Children, instead, must use their imaginations. Just think how many times a toy has proven less popular than the box in which it arrived?
Though Zaske is not an anthropologist or child psychologist, Achtung Baby is well-sourced, citing research from non-partisan heavyweights such as the Pew Research Center and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She compares German and American parents’ individual mindsets, as well as the social structure that feeds them.
German parents, too, have an irrational fear of their children being kidnapped. Yet, they believe it is not only important for their children to learn selbständigkeit, self-reliance, but that it’s wrong for parents to stand in the way.
In Germany, Zaske writes, these ideals are reinforced by school and government policies that allow for play, rather than test preparation, and family time, rather than overworked parents and overscheduled children.
It’s hardly the first time Americans have looked to other cultures for child-rearing clues. The earlier part of this decade brought us best sellers including Bringing Up Bébé and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which focused on Americans raising children the French and Chinese way, respectively.
But unlike many parenting books, Zaske’s is not judgmental, prescriptive or didactic. For that, American parents may soon be saying Danke and sending Achtung up the charts, too

 

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