You’ve seen the viral articles on the web.
“European vs. American parenting: You may be embarrassed!”
“Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums!”
Well intended observations being morphed into gross, shame-on-you blanket statements that spike web traffic while smashing my sense of contentment.
Why does ADHD not exist in France?
Why do African kids never cry?
Why are Asian kids born superior at maths or music?
Sorry but really not sorry: I am calling B.S.
It’s click bait and we all know it.
Not just because the worst case I know of ADHD is a French child, who yes, eats plenty of processed foods and refined sugars. Not just because we happen to know African youngsters who do cry louder than babies and Korean teens who don’t give a rip about mathematics or music.
Sometimes, we forget to take these articles with a big fat grain of pink Himalayan sea salt.
Even my own family members send me articles like this from time to time. Somehow, we still fall for the sensational titles. We want to know “Why French Kids Eat EVERYTHING!” because we’re secretly anxious about our kid who hates his greens. We feel like we’re drowning or failing in this area or that and want to know the someone else with the safety raft. Our curiosity wants to know just how those other mothers do the impossible job of mothering, all right. Possibly even, gulp, how we have done it all wrong this whole time.
Meanwhile the country bashing to assist the other country’s over-the-top praise, combined with our gullibility feeds a deep, dark festering of inner discontent. The exaggerations we read nurture the self-loathing and comparison and shame that so many of us mothers are already prone to.
Are we fit enough to mother anyway??
Can we just stop propagating broad statements and articles without some qualifiers?
And, for us clickoholics, if we can’t use common-sense to know no culture is perfect, let’s do ourselves a favor and stop clicking on what is clearly click-bait. And for the love of Pete’s kid, stop sharing.
There is a big secret all global mamas who are able to dance between cultures know. That is, there is no superior country or culture. Really, and dead serious. Every culture has goodness and life lessons we can and should glean from. And each one has its dysfunction and imperfections. Each is like one part of a body and we sorely need the others to function together as a whole.
Global-minded mamas, we have just got to check our pride-o-meter and resist spreading messages of blind hubris about the countries we love. There have got to be other ways to share that love. Let’s quit sending out stereotypes that tell mothers they aren’t mother enough, because they aren’t in my country.
Motherhood is a lonely enough place without all the bashing.
Globally-minded mamas, we must take the lead on painting a more balanced, more honest picture.
For those of us who share our multicultural life or write about it, then how about doing it from our own perspective and opinion vantage point – using careful qualifiers, remembering mothers in the trenches who on the hard days *shhhh* might not think they are good enough for the job.
I think of the example of an article with a title that drew me in, instead of throwing darts at a sacrificial job that costs my blood, sweat and tears. It was called: How Cultures Around the World Think About Parenting. I get a glimpse into how things are done around the world and a better insight into the legacy (good and bad) of my country’s parenting habits. I don’t leave condemned, believing the absurdity that my kids would be better off with Japanese parents.
It’s a more bridge-building picture in these bridge-burning times.
Less divisive, with less bashing.
More inspiring, and more hopeful.