Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world. And that’s partly because of the upbringing. In the book The Danish Way of Parenting describes why Danish people are exactly so happy. And we can learn a lot from that Danish upbringing.
Get to know the Danish lifestyle and way of thinking, and learn how to raise your own child with a Danish twist.
Release your child
Children seem to have planned every minute of their (school) day with lessons and activities; even the time to unlock has been scheduled. Danes do it differently. They start from a philosophy they also call ‘proximal development’. The premise of that philosophy is that children need space to learn and grow (with a little help where necessary). Children are given the necessary freedom to pursue their own interests and learn that it is okay to rely on themselves. Parents are present and available, but not in control. Typical example of that freedom: the Danes invented Lego, a brand in which free and creative play is central.
Look at life realistically
If you watch a Danish movie or read a Danish book, you will soon find out that the people don’t do Hollywood happy endings. Danes have a realistic outlook on life and share this vision with their children. This is reflected in the upbringing when they compliment their child. They believe in the power of a compliment for the right reason and in the right way. Danish parents are more likely to praise their children for trying to learn something new than for the intelligence they need to try at all. This approach teaches kids that they can learn anything and that they won’t just become good at the skills they were born with. There is always room for improvement and growth.
Change your perspective as needed
Danes try to change or adjust their perspective in stressful or unpleasant situations. For example, if it is very cold and windy, you will hear a Dane say that he is happy that he is definitely not on vacation. Danes believe it is about how you look at things, and therefore adapt their language so that children are not limited in their thoughts. Parents strive to see the bright side of things and start with themselves. If your own thoughts are negative, you automatically give your children this attitude.
Teach your child empathy
Empathy makes the world a better place. The Danish school system therefore has the compulsory curriculum Step by Step. Children are shown pictures of other children with different emotions (such as fear, anger, and happiness), and are asked to express the other person’s feelings in words. This teaches children empathy as well as recognizing facial expressions. Danish parents continue this process by teaching their children to put themselves in the shoes of another, so that they can better understand relationships with their friends and family.
Don’t expect too much, but don’t expect too little either
Danish parents are determined, but also receptive; they set high standards for their children, but in the meantime support them where necessary. They don’t expect total obedience, but they do want to see adult behavior from their children. Mutual respect is very important within families. Adults in particular should remember to be nice and patient, even before their children enter terror stages.
Love being together
The Danes have a word that no other language knows: Hygge. Officially the word is impossible to translate, but our ‘conviviality’ comes close. Hygge is considered one of the most important expressions of the Danish mentality and national character. Families play games together, take tea breaks, eat tasty foods, and enjoy each other’s company and presence. In general, they realize this ‘cosiness’ by thinking about ‘us’ instead of ‘me’. They look for activities that everyone can participate in and celebrate being together every day. This is not just about the time they spend with their child; the more friends you have, the bigger you can expand your family and the happier everyone will be.
Spotted a mistake? Mail us. We are grateful to you.