I’ve noticed that Rabindra and I have a few different views of how children should be raised.
The Nepalese way of parenting seems very different to what we are accustomed to in Australia.
Here are a few topics I will touch on today:
- Delivery of the baby
- Role of mothers
- Raising of child
- Beauty pageants
I recently saw this article which highlights the sad cases of babies who have died while sleeping with their parents.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with Rabindra a while ago about this exact topic- co-sleeping between babies and parents.
He said that in Nepal, all babies (newborns included) sleep in the same bed as their parents up until they are 1, 2 or even 3 years of age.
I told him that in Australia it’s very uncommon to sleep with our babies because we are warned about the risks of rolling/putting our arms etc over them and suffocating the baby to death.
Rabindra told me he’d never of babies dying whilst sleeping with their parents. When he asked me where our baby would sleep, I told him in a cot (I even had to explain what a cot was) and he said that it was cruel and that any person who would do that doesn’t really love their baby (even though I said it would be in the same room as us.)
It would be UNTHINKABLE that after 6 months the baby would have its own room!! (GASP)
Dummies are another foreign thing to Nepalese people.
When we were shopping for a family member’s new baby, he picked up a dummy and asked me “WHAT IS THIS?”
I said it was for teething and so the baby doesn’t put strange objects into their mouth (come to think of it I don’t even know, it’s amazing how commonplace dummies are for babies in Aus and we don’t even think about why).
Another thing I found interesting was what some might see as a sexist remark.
When we were in New Zealand, we saw a lot of fathers outdoors with their young children, without the mothers.
Rabindra said to me “I think in New Zealand women don’t really love their babies. Look- the dads are with their babies everywhere. No mums.”
I got angry and asked him why he said that. He said that growing up in Nepal, you didn’t see that very much. Mothers are always the ones with the children.
Fair enough. But still, I tried to explain that in countries like Australia and NZ, fathers have a much more hands-on role with raising children so don’t expect to be lazy.Another interesting one: the birth of a baby.
In Australia, I would say 99% of women would have their husbands in the delivery room of the hospital when their baby is born. Many women would hold off, even if in heavy labour, to wait for their husbands to arrive, before their baby is born.
In Nepal this is a massive NO-NO. It’s an all-female affair. When I told Rabindra he should be there for the delivery of our baby, he was MORTIFIED AND SHOCKED.
Maybe this exclusion to men explains why Rabindra is so immature in regards to cleaning up baby poo and his shock at actually seeing where a baby comes from!
Furthermore, I’ve heard that even after a baby is born, no men visit the mother and the baby for a good while after (like brother in laws, fathers etc even sometimes their own husband).
Breastfeeding is another topic that has been discussed. Rabindra told me that, despite it being right or wrong, Nepalese women are considered “bitches” if they don’t breastfeed (Rabindra doesn’t believe this because he understand it’s not possible for every woman). Some could say many Australians also hold this view as well but by god nobody would ever say it out loud.
I think it’s because the benefits of breast milk are really drummed into mothers over there, how it’s overall much better for their health etc etc (which is true any way).
How girls are raised is also interesting to me.
Nepalese mothers put heavy eye make-up on their baby girls which would be considered quite appalling to many people in Australia. Some mothers would say it is a form of child abuse (not me but some would).
In Australia there is a lot of emphasis on letting kids be kids. i.e. not getting them into make-up and beauty stuff when they should just be enjoying kids’ things.
Personally I am quite shocked when I see those American beauty pagents shows. There was outrage in Australia when ONLY ONE of the shows came to Australia. Children’s groups were up in arms and the whole event was boycotted in the end I think.
I remember showing Rabindra this TV kid beauty show, and he said how cute the little girls looked and I said I disagreed with those shows because the parents put all this pressure on their girls to be beautiful and win.
Rabindra said he didn’t see the problem with it and that it was a nice activity for girls to be involved with. SIGH.
Lastly- the topic of raising older children.
If you’re married to an Asian, I’m pretty sure they can tell you stories about how they were smacked over the head if they didn’t wake up early to study before school or didn’t study late at night after school.
I guess it’s different over here in that people are encouraged to do activities outside of studying i.e. sport, socialising with other kids, activities like drama or singing classes.
Of course, study is important but it’s not encouraged 24/7 like it is in much of Asia.
These are just some of my musings and experiences with Rabindra. It’s not reflective of all Nepalese people although I sense Rabindra is not alone in his views above.
As you can see, Rabindra and I have some major differences to sort out when it comes to the future with babies and all things kids.
I can’t tell you right now whether our baby will sleep in the same bed as us or sleep in a cot, or whether or not they will be allowed to have a dummy…fun times ahead
- Can you relate to what I’m saying?
- What differences do you and your partner have when it comes to babies and raising children?
- Are there things you are totally against i.e. sleeping in same bed as baby
- How do you compromise?
Please share your comments here!