Germans commenting on parenting styles

30 posts in this topic

Posted

We live in a small village but travel to the cities near us frequently. Most times, I have had pleasant exchanges with others while waiting in a line or just walking...

In light of the recent thread about bilingualism, I realized that I actually get a lot of advice on how to raise my kids from non-family members. And I always take it with a grain of salt but lately, it's beginning to grate on me. Advice has ranged from language acquisition to why I shouldn't raise my kids bilingually to letting go of my insecurities regarding my kids. Recently, a KITA teacher, who has known us for 6 months, commented on how I was too lenient with my kids. We came back from a month long vacation from the US and she was not thrilled that we were gone this long and made a lot of nasty comments about it. Then, I suggested that I stay with my daughter for a couple of hours to ease her anxiety about returning to K and she told us that this was not possible. She has made it clear that she doesn't want me lingering for goodbyes either. Do people tend to give you advice about your own kids whether you asked or not? And how do you deal with it?

Back home, only people who know us well give us advice or suggestions and only when asked so I am not at all used to this abrupt interruption in the way of doing things. I feel pressured. And I feel if I go against the Erziehen's advice, she will somehow take it out on my kid.

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Posted

I've raised my two fully bilingual and they're doing great in school. i pretty much iognored ALL of the German advice they gave me given how narrow minded they are here.

Just remember 1 in 3 Jerry marriages end in divorce and that means the other 2 thirds are also fed up. So they don't have a good track record themselves.

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Posted

I experienced very similar at our Kita. I was annoyed enough that I wanted to take Jr out, but his father said nein. Personally speaking, I think the best advice is the same that I liked best on the bilingual thread: just smile and nod, letting them think they are super Besserwissers, meanwhile, continue to parent the way you see fit. They are YOUR kids, after all.

The bit about her being annoyed with your vacation is quite odd. WTF does she care? It's probably just jealousy. :rolleyes:

edit: 1 in 3, jer? I believe it's 1 in 2 in the States.

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Posted

Regarding bilingual, we started showing English music cartoons to our baby when he was 1 month old. Not that we wanted him to learn English so fast, but because the two first years of a baby are the BEST for him to learn the "sound" of a language. So we started raising him as bilingual although we were in our home country (Portugal). We wanted him to absorb the different sounds, not to speak it.

There are some studies that point to a delay in speaking for bilingual babies. But there are studies that try to explain this and reach a surprising conclusion: bilingual babies need to think twice while listening and before answering. The good part is that their brains are taught to think multilevel, leading to a much faster development later on.

Now we are in Germany, so he will learn German in the krippe and Portuguese at home.

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Posted

Guys, please, some perspective. At first it seemed that random people give advice, and boy, if I were in your shoes, would they get an ear full.

But then it's made clear it's Kita teachers. You entrust your kids to these teachers, they have their share in educating your kids and they themselves have been educated in doing this. If somebody -- non-family -- is qualified to comment on parenting style, it's them.

Of course it's your choice how your children will be raised and taught, but why wouldn't you want listen to expert advice?

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Posted

The Kita "experts" don't necessarily take into account that other cultures may parent differently than Germans. That was my experience. Your mileage may vary.

How much training do they actually get? I don't think it's a PhD in childhood development or so. Like any teacher*, they bring their own subjective ideals into play. And those may not jive with the parents'. So again, listen, thank them, and carry on.

*IIRC, muchado was a teacher in the States.

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Posted

If you think a Phd is best qualified, you're wrong. S/He might know the theory by heart, but that doesn't mean s/he can act on it.

Anyway, you might have a different cultural background and concept, so why not just say so and be done with it. Nobody can force you to take the advice.

Edit: You have to see, that there are a lot of people who really don't care that much for their childrens education. If weren't for those Kita teachers, those children would be badly off for the future.

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Posted

Edit: You have to see, that there are a lot of people who really don't care that much for their childrens education. If weren't for those Kita teachers, those children would be badly off for the future.

I get that. But surely if they know that muchado was a certified teacher, they'd back off a bit?? I mean, what the hell with the vacation tirade? It gives the impression that they think the kids are better off at the Kita than with their own families! Probably visiting grandma/ pa!! Talk about arrogance...

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Posted

But surely if they know that muchado was a certified teacher, they'd back off a bit??

My experience with most Germans I've been around is that if you have a qualification for something from any country not Germany then they don't consider it in any way a meaningful qualification.I'm not talking about what is accepted by various firms etc but what the average German thinks about non German learning.

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Posted

I get that. But surely if they know that muchado was a certified teacher, they'd back off a bit?? I mean, what the hell with the vacation tirade? It gives the impression that they think the kids are better off at the Kita than with their own families! Probably visiting grandma/ pa!! Talk about arrogance...

Of course they should back off, but in order for a German to see that point, it has to be made quite clear. A friendly comment won't help.

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Posted

try to remember too that most advice is likely to be well meant.

we also live in a little village and commute into Munich 5 days a week, of course folk chit chat and interact with us, if I don't appreciate the advice then I just smile and say we seem to be managing just fine.

re creche or Kindergarten, agree about keeping farewells short, ours are done quickly, a cuddle, a love-you, and a have-a-nice-day. then a short briefing to the staff that Miniboot is fine.

all kids were away at least 3 weeks as her creche was closed.

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Posted

Although I disagree, I understand where the Erzieherin is coming from.

The introductory period at the Kita is offen very well defined here, and it is also very demanding for the responsible Erzieherin. The feeling is , that once the child is used to the Kita experience, he or she should be allowed to remain in their routine and nothing should disturb this because it is stressful for the child and more work for the Erzeiherin.

These disturbances can be anything from a regular weekday away from the Kita with Oma and or Mama (frowned upon by some of the places we visited and one place flat out told us we could not send our daughter 3 days a week even if we were paying for 5) to a prolonged vacation.

There is also a belief that prolonged goodbyes are not good for the children as they perk up once their parents are gone.

It's harder for your child; it's harder for her. Do I think that outweighs the beneftis of the kind of "vacation" you were on? No. But she's not as interested in your child maintaining family bonds and developing non-German language skills as you are, so those things don't factor in for her. It may mean that she won't cut your child any additional slack when you come back, which is a shame, but you have to weigh it against the overall benefits of the trip.

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Posted

Then, I suggested that I stay with my daughter for a couple of hours to ease her anxiety about returning to K and she told us that this was not possible. She has made it clear that she doesn't want me lingering for goodbyes either.

This particular piece of "advice" could very well just be the Kita policy. Nothing personal.

(snap)

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Posted

You should tell them off in an open way, something like "No, you are wrong and I know better". It's the only thing that works, being nice doesn't pay off in my experience.

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Posted

The unsolicited advice on the street isn't a German thing, it's an old people thing. You can let it bother you or you can just smile, nod, and move on.

Lingering goodbyes at kita (and at school, too) disrupt the routine and wind the kids up, and are therefore discouraged. My son's school - which is American-German, which means half the teachers are American - has a strict goodbye policy: when they're dropping their kids off and picking them up, there are red lines (literally) they aren't allowed to cross. Big signs at the entrances to the community spaces outside of the classroom clusters indicate the "kiss zone", which parents aren't supposed to pass if they don't have business with the teachers.

As to criticism for staying away for a month for vacation, that's really stupid. But if you don't want to build up aggro between you and the staff, again I would just smile, nod, and ignore it. Things will get strict enough when the kids start 1st grade and Schulpflicht kicks in.

Totally get it. Been there, done that as a teacher. However, this is a special circumstance. I know my child's anxiety levels are up the roof. I want to ease the transition for her. This is not a regular occurrence. This is happening for the first time and don't think it'll be a big issue as my daughter matures and gets older. We have been on vacation before and have not encountered such fear and resistance to attend K but this it's different and understandably, as a parent, I want to make this easier on everyone involved but especially my daughter.

However, I have to disagree about comments coming from old people only. I know several within a 50 mile radius and no one gives me unsolicited comments. These are Germans. We know several older people (grandparents) from various ethnicities in the U.S. and no one gives me comments about my parenting. They compliment and they ask questions but they have never told me that I need to let go or should dress my kids a certain way.

I agree that I shouldn't create any trouble with the staff and I don't want to as I genuinely like the teacher. But there are some instances where I feel I need to stand my ground. Easing her transition to K is one of them. My other solution is what mlovett wanted to do--take her out and keep her home. Not a good solution, I am sure.

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Posted

I think Ann_MA is spot on with her assessment. Your child was gone a long time and the teacher was probably worried about having to another transition period. I found that Germans tend to be totally direct with their criticism and it's more often than not offensive to our non-German ears. Perhaps if she had said it like an American would, you might not have been offended by her statement.

Also, most daycare centers are closed for a few weeks a year. Most probably do their family vacations then.

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