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BOOK BUZZ: How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm

It seems whenever I pick up the newspaper there’s an article comparing American parents to moms and dads in other countries.   Are American parents too lenient compared to Chinese parents?  Are American parents spoiling their kids when measured against French parents?

Amid this debate comes a new book by Mei-Ling Hopgood.   Hopgood is a Chinese-American living in Argentina, who has traveled the world.

In her new book,  “How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm,” Hopgood examines parenting styles in different countries.

Some examples:

In Argentina Many parents don’t believe in a nighttime routine and early bedtime. Their kids stay up into the wee hours of the night, dining and  partying alongside their parents.

 In Kenya, Strollers?  Who needs them? Kenyan moms and dads haul their babies and toddlers around on their backs. There’s a practical reason. Roads are bad and strollers are expensive. Eskimos also keep their babies close and snug for warmth.

In China,  Children are potty trained by 18 months. Preschool kids are all expected to be potty trained by 2-years old. Toddlers will often walk around with an open cloth over their  backside so they can squat when needed (and no one thinks twice about  it).

 In Lebanon, Families are kept close.  It’s a tight-knit community with extended family all living under the same roof.   It means having someone always looking over your shoulder, but also knowing someone always has your back.

If nothing else, Hopgood’s book gets you thinking that there might be another way to do things– Not a better way, but another way.

Reading about various parenting styles made me want to break out my baby Ergo carrier and carry around my 18-month old while running errands.  It made me wonder if it is possible to potty train my daughter by the time she turns 2.  That’s the point of her book – to be open-minded when it comes to parenting styles.

Hopgood concludes with, “While no culture can claim to be the best at any one given aspect of parenting, each has its own gems of wisdom to add to the discussion.”

It’s easy to criticize something we are not familiar with.  But this book should make parents feel good about themselves and their efforts.  Most parents want to do right by their children.  This book makes me realize there’s more than one way to get there.


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Category: Book Buzz

Comments (1)

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  1. may we all be open to the “gems of wisdom” in other cultures–whether parenting styles, or anything else.

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