During a recent family trip to my native country of Japan, I observed many differences in the lives of Japanese parents and their kids versus their American counterparts. I was astonished by the independence and maturity of Japanese children. I saw young kids confidently traveling alone by train and bike, and responsibly shopping and playing on their own in public spaces. I even saw what looked like a group of ten-year-old boys and girls surfing in a line up with adult surfers! There appears to be a collective sense of responsibility for the well being of children, and as such parents are comfortable safely allowing kids to interact with greater society in a highly independent fashion.
I thought this article does a marvelous job highlighting diverse parenting styles across the globe, including Japan. Observing how other parents manage issues of responsibility and freedom was a wonderful learning experience. I am not advocating any drastic changes in the way we that parent, but I thought there were some valuable lessons worth sharing. Have you ever experienced any significant cultural parenting differences during your travels abroad? We would love to hear your stories!