10 Foreign Parenting Customs & Rituals Americans Would Call Neglect

Parenting is possibly the hardest job in the world. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have the habit of pushing our children to follow our path and methods. Whether they like it or not, we want them to believe in it and do it without asking questions. But, have you ever thought of how parents raise their children around the globe? We at Mind Blowing Facts would like to show you a few surprising customs and rituals that are followed by different cultures in parenting. Some of them might seem unusual but the community or parents have their own weird logic behind it, which we cannot question. Here are 10 such traditions that are still practiced around the globe today.




1. Norwegian parents let their kids nap in below-freezing temperatures.

Norwegian parenting: letting their children sleep alone outside in below-freezing temperature
Dean Wissing/flickr

In Norway and most other Scandinavian countries, children as young as two weeks old nap outside. It is a common sight for the locals, as toddlers in prams are parked on busy city sidewalks and terraces. Even when the days are as cold as -4F, Norwegian parents leave their kids all by themselves for up to 3 hours at a time, while they enjoy a hot meal or hangout with their friends in a restaurant. You’d have your kids taken away for that here. The weird practice actually has some solid reasoning behind it. According to the Marjo Tourula of the University of Oulu, Finland, these types of naps not only promote better sleep cycles during the day, they also have health benefits from the fresh air.

2. Kenyan mothers never look directly into their child’s eyes.

Kenyan mother's don't look into the eyes of their child
Emily Sykes/flickr

Making eye contact with your child is a way of bonding. Our natural instincts kick in and we just cannot stop staring at those sparkly and adorable eyes. The Gusii people of Kenya, however, feel differently about this bonding method. If you take a look at their culture, the reasoning behind this makes sense. The Gusii have very strict rules about making eye contact and believe that it gives power to the other person. Their children are already demanding the mother’s time, attention and energy. According to their beliefs, making eye contact gives them power and control over the mother’s.

3. Mayan parents use icy water for baby baths.

Mayan babies
Wikimedia/CCO

In the region of Guatemala, Mayan parents bathe their children using ice-cold water. Though we might consider that to be harmful for the child, the reason behind it is far from that. Regions such as Guatemala face massive heat waves and often give newborns rashes. In order to reduce the rashes, the mothers dip their children in ice-cold water. According to witnesses, the unethical method does help in reducing rashes and puts the baby at ease.




4. Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes.

Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes
Matthew Yglesias/flickr

According to a tradition that originated in the 1930’s, every newborn in Finland is given a box by the state. The cardboard box is more like a starter kit which is filled with clothes, sheets and toys. The box itself is used as a bed. This tradition, which is over 70 years old, has helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates. The box is delivered to every newborn, no matter what their family’s financial situation is or what background they are from. The country believes that every child should be given an equal start in life.

5. Vietnamese kids are trained to pee on command at an early age.

Vietnamese children are trained to pee on command
Todd Morris/flickr

Most children in western countries often require diapers until an average of 3 years of age. But the Vietnamese parents train their children at a very young age. How young? At just 9 months old. The potty training starts at birth and the requirement for a diaper is eliminated before the child turns 1 year old. The mothers often make a special whistling sound to remind the baby to urinate. A study conducted on this has shown that this specific method helps eliminate urinary tract infection as well as saves money for the parents.




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