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A Chinese, a French and an Australian parent meet in a bar

13 February
Posted by:
Michael Grose

This time last year "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", Amy Chua’s tome about tough parenting, triggered a debate about permissive parenting. It was set in an American context with American parents the target of her attack. ‘Keep your expectations high, work kids hard and don’t accept second best’ was the gist of this style of parenting. This book described verya  tough love parenting approach.

The recently released book "French Children Don’t Throw Food" takes another swipe at American parenting.
Author Pamela Drukerman, who lived in Paris for a time, noticed that French parents didn’t dote on their children in the same way as those from her native New York.
French kids were taught to wait their turn, were not picked up the moment they cried and were not consulted about every little issue like those she observed in New York. They had to fit in to adult life, rather than the other way around.

It got me thinking if there is a style of parenting peculiar to Australia.
If the Chinese style is typified by working hard and getting ahead, and the French style is about wait your turn and fitting in, then what is it that typifies Australian parenting?

I was invited to give a parenting talk at an English independent school last year, and the headmaster professed to be a big fan of Aussie parenting. In his eyes, Australian parents were a lot tougher on their kids than English counterparts. He wanted me to talk about how parents could take charge, and not let kids rule the roost.

He also wanted me to talk about developing a sense of psychological hardiness in kids. Is this what Australian parenting is about?

It is very simplistic to assign a certain parenting style to a country, as if everyone is raised that way. But we are influenced by our physical and social environments in many things we do, including parenting.

So, is there an Australian parenting style? I’d love to know your thoughts. Share them on my Facebook page, and I’ll give a copy of my book Thriving! to three writers of the most original comments.
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