Parental differences between the United States and Prague
- I am a mother of two young boys and recently lived in Prague for two years.
- Playgrounds in Prague are not for the faint of heart, and they make those in the United States boring.
- Czech parents give their children more freedom to explore and grow within themselves.
I have spent the last two years in Prague, and it is fascinating to observe some of the different approaches to parenthood compared to what I have encountered in the United States.
As a mother of two young boys, I have always been fascinated by the number of different approaches to parenthood.
I sometimes wonder if I am not too involved in my children’s actions, and it is through my observations of parents in Prague that I have come to understand how different styles of parenting can affect a child’s ability. child to explore, grow and develop a sense of acceptable risk taking.
In Prague, there is no bad weather
The first difference that dawned on me was the emphasis Czech parents place on spending time outdoors with their children.
I was told that bad weather did not exist. It is simply a matter of the wrong clothes if one is uncomfortable being outside in certain conditions.
Families often walk in the rain, take strollers for walks in freezing weather, and embrace the priceless gems of all the nature that surrounds them.
While many families in the United States enjoy spending time outdoors, my observation was that the schedules often did not allow for long outings, and the weather could prevent children and parents from participating.
Parents in the Czech Republic take more risks than in the United States
Another difference I noticed was that Czech parents seemed to have a higher threshold for acceptable risk-taking by their children.
Playgrounds are a perfect example. They usually contain a climbing structure known as a spider web – imagine a pyramid with each side constructed from a rope spider web rising about 20 feet into the air – as well as various balancing challenges and other hurdles that would send many Americans running for their lawyers if such structures were to appear in the United States.
Children use public transportation at much younger ages than in the United States.
They stay home alone. They cycle without guides. They walk, climb, fall, injure themselves, get up and start again because they learn not to be frightened by the fall.
Czech parents seem to let their children push the boundaries in a way that the “helicopter parenting” style often found in the United States does not.
In Prague, children seem to have more freedom
One final difference I saw was that Czech parents seemed to offer their children more freedom to explore. Children run free in the neighborhoods. They run through forests and run across fields, often far from parental sight.
Some restaurants offer play areas near the dining room, but often out of sight of the table.
Additionally, parents can often be found in outdoor spaces and important cultural venues with children exploring nearby, but not on foot.
In contrast, I have found my own metaphorical leash to be tighter on my children in the United States. Perhaps there was a greater sense of personal security in Prague. Maybe I’m just listening more after my time abroad.
Either way, I have found myself on several occasions tightening the grip on my children since our return, and it is with an effort that I force myself to recall the lessons learned over the past two years to myself. allow them to offer them the greatest freedom they wish to explore.
Different countries have different approaches to parenthood, and we can learn from each other if we’re willing to be open-minded.