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Is the US really THAT different?


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  #1  
July 15th, 2006, 06:15 PM
GirLStaR's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I am from Venezuela. I moved to the US when I was 16. I hear a lot of things and see studies on things that either Venezuela is too "Americanized" or I just don't understand where ppl get these ideas.
For example, co-sleeping, I DID co-sleep with my son until he was 6 months, and even now if he wakes up crying or doesnt want to sleep in his crib, I put him in our bed, but EVERY time I talk to any family member in Venezuela they tell me, don't let him sleep with you! he's going to be spoiled!. So when I hear that babies ALL over the world co sleep, except the US, I'm sorry, but i don't believe it. Also with circumsicion, while in my country there's no preassure to get baby boys circ; a lot of babies are. Its def not the majority, but I know a lot of guys there are. So to say that ONLY in the US ppl do this is not true.
My question is NOT wether circ is right or wrong, or attachment parenting, so lets not make the debate about this, but on whether or not you believe people in the US raise their kids different .
I feel like ppl sometimes point out certain customs in the US as bad and try to make it seem like it only happens here when in reality, it happens everywhere.
Venezuela and the US are obviously not the same, but at the same time, it wasn't a major shock for me to move here. I moved to south FL though, so maybe that's why..
So if you're from another country or culture, do you feel like the parenting style most people use in your country/culture is totally different from the way people parent in the US. If so, why? And if you're from the US, do you believe that the way people parent here is totally different from other countries? how?.
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  #2  
July 15th, 2006, 06:30 PM
Tanya G's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I am not really understanding the debate. I DO think the US is different from many countries, I also think it has many paralelles. I am in Canada, there are many things I find very similar about the US and yet, there are obviously many views that are different as well. I think in canada we share many of the same customs, but it really depends on which aspects of life you are referring to. Every country is different. Its hard to compare any country. There is so much history behind each of them making them who they are today. Furthermore, it truly depends on WHERE you move in a country. My geography info is REALLY bad, but as far as Canada and the US are concerned, each province/state is very unique, each has different laws and norms. simply moving to a different province could be a culture shock for me.
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  #3  
July 15th, 2006, 06:45 PM
GirLStaR's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
it really depends on which aspects of life you are referring to.[/b]
You are right . I norrowed down the original post to parenting styles so its not such a wide topic.
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  #4  
July 15th, 2006, 08:04 PM
Tanya G's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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ok, now that you have narrowed it... I am from Canada and I dont think our countries are very different in the way that we parent. Most of our books and doctors have the same reccommendations. There are ppl in each country with back sleepers just as much as there are tummy sleepers, I am sure the ratio of co-sleepers is rather similar. Circ rates are much lower in Canada, but thats the only thing that really comes to mind. But I am from a culture that is right next to the US. I am sure there are many cultures that are very different. There are cultures that are very strong on baby wearing, whereas only a certain percent in the states baby wear, there are cultures that ONLY co-sleep. There are cultures that have much higher breastfeeding rates. I think its a difficult country to compare becuase it is a multi-cultural country.
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  #5  
July 15th, 2006, 09:23 PM
~Jess~'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I'm not all that familiar with other countries, but I *think* that in the US there is a higher incidence of spanking and a lower rate of bfing-not that the 2 are linked-lol.
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  #6  
July 16th, 2006, 03:16 AM
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Posts: 3,496
Circumcision-
No one against circ would tell you ONLY the USA does it; however, the USA is the only country of its kind that still routinely circumcises it's infant boys (emphasis on the routinely). Rates worldwide are about about 20%; rates in the USA are about 60%, so, yes, the USA if different in this parenting choice than most of the world. Furthermore, the REASONING behind circ here is MUCH different. Parents do it because it "looks better" and because "daddy is circed" not for religious reasons (or even medical for most women- they just think it's "what people do"- not speaking of anyone here).

Cosleeping-
The USA is different here, too, but just HOW different depends on who you ask. In his lecture "The Society Who Mistook Its Children for Bats", James McKenna talks about how up to 80% of families worldwide cosleep for 5 hours or more per night. I don't know other research on this; however, I do know that Asian nations (inclduing Japan and China) have MUCH higher rates of cosleeping than the USA and European countries are noted to have rates that are at least 10% higher than the USA. So, it would seem we are different in this respect as well.

Spanking-
THe American Academy of Pediatrics puts ours spanking numbers around 70-80% (but, when asked "was your child spanked in the last year" their study found 90% said "yes"- however, they found that 10% or so had only done so once and stopped). Looking worldwide, you find that this is not the case. The EU found that 40% of families from member countries spank their children.... 11 nations in Europe have banned spanking. Just north of our border in Canada, numbers are less than 50%.

Nations with spanking bans:
Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Cyprus, Denmark, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Iceland, Romania, Ukraine and Hungary have banned the corporal punishment of children entirely. (wikipedia)

Breastfeeding-
The USA numbers on breastfeeding are significantly lower than many of our nation's equals. TO name a few who have 90%+ rates (in comparison to our 60-70- which is ONLY in hospital)

Denmark
Germany
Italy
Luxembourg
The Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Spain
Sweden
New Zealand
Australia

...the list goes on

ALmost All arab nations
Almost all SA and CA nations

In addition, our 6 month numbers are about 20 or so %...again, much lower than like nations (and unlike).

Those are just some examples of how parenting in the USA is different. Having lived in Panama, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil and Denmark, I can say that it has been my experience that parenting IS different in the USA.

There is less reasoning behind major decisions (see our circ rates, our Csection rates). While this is purely anecdotal, reasons like "I want him to look like daddy," "I don't want the pain of labor" (equating pain of csection and recovery to be less), and "formula is just as good" (yes, women on this site know this but go outside this site and you will get this a lot) are not ones I have ever heard elsewhere, even when deeply debating these issues. While there seems to be a HUGE mistrust of studies and medical advice on issues that American's deem "parenting issues"; this mistrust does not seem to spill over into other areas...

This makes me think there is a very engrained sense of "what was done by my parents will be done by me" and that the USA is stuck in that kind of thinking. I think this is especially true in the breastfeeding area; we were not the only country of our kind that had many generations of formula fed babies; however, we remain one of the only ones falling very short of our goals in breastfeeding.

other thoughts on the USA being different in parenting...

-More women work here which means more children in daycare...this is a parenting difference (not judging it, just saying different)

-Parents start school for their children earlier here

-our required vaccines are greater in number than most of the world (influence of big pharma on parenting?)

-Our ADHD numbers are way out of sync with other like countries (we have 80% of the market of drugs for this disease)

-Studies have shown that American kids watch more TV and play more video games

-we have more youth crime than many like nations

-our test scores are a lot lower after the 4th grade than most like nations (result of a mixture of education system and parenting, IMO)

-our families live further from eachother/relatives (even just the sheer size of the USA can make parenting "different")

-our divorce rates are high in comparison to many nations



....

Ok, this post is long enough...but, to sum it up, Yes, parenting in the USA is different than other countries in my opinion. Some of that it not such a great thing and some of that just makes us "different" and not in a good or bad way.
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  #7  
July 16th, 2006, 09:31 AM
Sunflower_Mommy2003's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,779
Quote:
Circumcision-
No one against circ would tell you ONLY the USA does it; however, the USA is the only country of its kind that still routinely circumcises it's infant boys (emphasis on the routinely). Rates worldwide are about about 20%; rates in the USA are about 60%, so, yes, the USA if different in this parenting choice than most of the world. Furthermore, the REASONING behind circ here is MUCH different. Parents do it because it "looks better" and because "daddy is circed" not for religious reasons (or even medical for most women- they just think it's "what people do"- not speaking of anyone here).

Cosleeping-
The USA is different here, too, but just HOW different depends on who you ask. In his lecture "The Society Who Mistook Its Children for Bats", James McKenna talks about how up to 80% of families worldwide cosleep for 5 hours or more per night. I don't know other research on this; however, I do know that Asian nations (inclduing Japan and China) have MUCH higher rates of cosleeping than the USA and European countries are noted to have rates that are at least 10% higher than the USA. So, it would seem we are different in this respect as well.

Spanking-
THe American Academy of Pediatrics puts ours spanking numbers around 70-80% (but, when asked "was your child spanked in the last year" their study found 90% said "yes"- however, they found that 10% or so had only done so once and stopped). Looking worldwide, you find that this is not the case. The EU found that 40% of families from member countries spank their children.... 11 nations in Europe have banned spanking. Just north of our border in Canada, numbers are less than 50%.

Nations with spanking bans:
Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Cyprus, Denmark, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Iceland, Romania, Ukraine and Hungary have banned the corporal punishment of children entirely. (wikipedia)

Breastfeeding-
The USA numbers on breastfeeding are significantly lower than many of our nation's equals. TO name a few who have 90%+ rates (in comparison to our 60-70- which is ONLY in hospital)

Denmark
Germany
Italy
Luxembourg
The Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Spain
Sweden
New Zealand
Australia

...the list goes on

ALmost All arab nations
Almost all SA and CA nations

In addition, our 6 month numbers are about 20 or so %...again, much lower than like nations (and unlike).

Those are just some examples of how parenting in the USA is different. Having lived in Panama, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil and Denmark, I can say that it has been my experience that parenting IS different in the USA.

There is less reasoning behind major decisions (see our circ rates, our Csection rates). While this is purely anecdotal, reasons like "I want him to look like daddy," "I don't want the pain of labor" (equating pain of csection and recovery to be less), and "formula is just as good" (yes, women on this site know this but go outside this site and you will get this a lot) are not ones I have ever heard elsewhere, even when deeply debating these issues. While there seems to be a HUGE mistrust of studies and medical advice on issues that American's deem "parenting issues"; this mistrust does not seem to spill over into other areas...

This makes me think there is a very engrained sense of "what was done by my parents will be done by me" and that the USA is stuck in that kind of thinking. I think this is especially true in the breastfeeding area; we were not the only country of our kind that had many generations of formula fed babies; however, we remain one of the only ones falling very short of our goals in breastfeeding.

other thoughts on the USA being different in parenting...

-More women work here which means more children in daycare...this is a parenting difference (not judging it, just saying different)

-Parents start school for their children earlier here

-our required vaccines are greater in number than most of the world (influence of big pharma on parenting?)

-Our ADHD numbers are way out of sync with other like countries (we have 80% of the market of drugs for this disease)

-Studies have shown that American kids watch more TV and play more video games

-we have more youth crime than many like nations

-our test scores are a lot lower after the 4th grade than most like nations (result of a mixture of education system and parenting, IMO)

-our families live further from eachother/relatives (even just the sheer size of the USA can make parenting "different")

-our divorce rates are high in comparison to many nations



....

Ok, this post is long enough...but, to sum it up, Yes, parenting in the USA is different than other countries in my opinion. Some of that it not such a great thing and some of that just makes us "different" and not in a good or bad way.[/b]
Facinating post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts...

Jen
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  #8  
July 16th, 2006, 10:27 AM
Mom2DavidandAaron's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Location: Mexico City
Posts: 3,227
I think each country is different in so many ways it's not suprprising they have differnces in their parenting styles. However, I think most decisions have more to do with the individual rather than the coutnry. Of course, our culture influences what we believe is right, what we think and how we act, so even if the choice is individual, countries have also certain tendencies. I'm not in the US, but I find that I do share some parenting choices with many Americans. I also disagree with many traditionally "American" choices. I cannot tell you if that would be different if I lived in the US as I don't know what exactly is responsible for those beliefs.

Sharon
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  #9  
July 16th, 2006, 01:24 PM
GirLStaR's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Posts: 1,012
Quote:
Those are just some examples of how parenting in the USA is different. Having lived in Panama, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil and Denmark, I can say that it has been my experience that parenting IS different in the USA.

There is less reasoning behind major decisions (see our circ rates, our Csection rates). While this is purely anecdotal, reasons like "I want him to look like daddy," "I don't want the pain of labor" (equating pain of csection and recovery to be less), and "formula is just as good" (yes, women on this site know this but go outside this site and you will get this a lot) are not ones I have ever heard elsewhere, even when deeply debating these issues. While there seems to be a HUGE mistrust of studies and medical advice on issues that American's deem "parenting issues"; this mistrust does not seem to spill over into other areas...[/b]
Everything you posted is really interesting. I wanted to ask you though since you have lived in all those countries, if you agree with this, or if your experience has been different.

My DH is from Brazil, and we know A LOT of brazilian people.

1) In Venezuela and Brazil, most people have c-sections, and most people without a medical reason. As a matter of fact, a lot of our brazilian friends when I was pregnant would ask me why I'm not having a c-section and think its absurd that drs here don't like to perform c-sections. My SIL was pregnant at the same time as me and she kept telling me about how all her friends and everyone in Brazil has a c-section. Drs just schedule it and woman prefer it most of time bc they don't want to feel the pain.
2) When it comes to circumsicion, though the rates are much lower there, its not always for a medical reason. My DH was born in Rio, and he's circ for no medical reason. My best friend from Venezuela is also circ for no medical reason as well and they're not jewish.
3) People in south america spank their kids. At least in Brazil and Venezuela they do. I'm not saying beating up, but they spank and my mom and Dh's family actually think that kids here don't behave bc parents aren't allowed to spank. I don't agree with them, I'm just saying what they think.
4) When you say there's less reasoning behind major decisions here I'm not sure I agree when it comes to South America. People do there what they want, have c-section, some get there boys circ, spank, pierce baby's ears, and they don't do any research or anything. Also, people there don't go attacking and judging others for their choices. My family often comes on vacation and they love doing that, but they say they could never live here bc ppl here make such a big deal out of everything, and when I talk to other hispanics, that's usually what they say they don't like about here.

Obviouly this is not some study I've done. Its what I've learned from both DH ad I growing up in South America and having big families and friends there, and from living in South FL where almost everyone is from a different country.
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  #10  
July 16th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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Posts: 3,496
Yeah, it has been my experience that most people in the cities in SA have Csections and spank (although circ numbers are still very low in comparison to USA). They also almost all pierce ears; I think in these ways you are definitely right that the USA is like South America! However, I (and i dont mean to sound mean or bias or anything) but I feel that the USa is more LIKE (as in TYPE of country) to European nations, which is why I drew most parallels between Europe and the USA. In alot of ways, mostly economics, education, and government, the USA is also more like Asia than South America. If that makes sense...so I find it strange that the USA is more like SA in parenting decisions but less like the "higher world" countries in Europe and Asia. However, in the areas of Breastfeeding and circumcision, the USA is still very different than SA, so while our reasoning behind Csections and spanking may be similar to SA, we also add on high nonmedical or religious circs and formula purely by choice.

My husband (who was born and grew up in Brazil) says that he "bets teh Csection and spank rates are 90% in the cities and on the east coast"...he doesn't have any studies or anything but he says that was his experience. He says it has been his experience that the towns and mincities are much different as well as the western side of the country. But the USA is a lot like that....I think our circ rates really vary by coast as well (and its possible spanking rates may as well). He grew up near Rio Branco! where was ur DH from? (my husabnd has found no one aroundhere from Brazil!)

Has that been your experience at all? I only lived there 4 months with my DH (then fiance) and I didnt do much socializing (I was one of those bad immigrants that didnt learn the language!!)
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  #12  
July 23rd, 2006, 11:24 PM
glasscandie's Avatar What I make is what I am
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I can't speak from experience here, b/c I've never lived in Russia, but my DH is from the Ukraine and my family's from Russia as well. In my observation, my family and DH's family tend to think American's are *too* liberal with their children. My MIL has told me numerous times that if I go to Jules everytime she cries, I'll spoil her. In fact, when DD's great-grandmother (my DH's grandmother) saw her for the first time, she immediately put her upstairs in the pack n play. Everyone else wanted to hold her! I know my family and DH's family breastfed. DH's family believes in spanking, and mine doesn't, however.
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