When we compare parenting styles all over the world, we can't help but wonder how fellow human beings can think so differently. Let's take Russia as an example. Being such a faraway and incomprehensible country, it seems that it just has to have utterly weird parenting styles. And – big surprise – it actually does!
Parents in Russia have so many principles and traditions that seem overwhelming to people from other countries. From kids having to learn ballet to doing chores at the age of five, from the importance of old-age traditions to dangers of the evil eyes, Russian moms are certainly very different from the rest of the world. So let's take a closer look at 20 examples that show us all the things that are still so confusing about parenting in this vast and cold country.
20 No One Is Supposed To See The Newborn For Two Months
In Russia, only close family members are allowed to see the newborn in the first months of their life. No one else can meet the baby before two months and it's done for two reasons. First of all, it's because of the risk of infection. Secondly, and more importantly, it's because the stranger seeing a baby is considered bad luck as it can attract the evil eye.
19 Even Photos Aren't Allowed Before One Month
If you live in Russia, forget the cute Insta shots of your newborn still at the hospital and during their first days at home. Before the baby turns at least one month, you're not supposed to take photos of them. Once again, the evil eye is to blame for it because moms in Russia are sure that if you take photos of your baby before one month, it's likely that something bad will happen to them.
18 Don't Compliment A Newborn. Ever
Another thing that attracts the pesky evil eye is complimenting a newborn. Keep that in mind, if you ever get to visit a Russian mom with a newborn. Don't tell anything like, "Gosh, your baby's so cute!" or "Oh, what a beautiful little boy/girl!" And if, instead, you'll say, "Your baby is really ugly," they'll be glad to hear it. Honestly.
Can someone explain how this "evil eye" thing even works?
17 Kids Start Doing Chores Very Early
Enough with the evil eye. Let's proceed to other things that make parenting in Russia so different.
Moms in Russia start giving chores to their kids at an early age. This is how they teach them responsibility. So when a mom sees that dishes need to be done or floors have to be cleaned, they just show their kid how to do it and let them do it by themselves.
16 Moms Allow Kids To Fall Asleep When They Want
It sounds weird to us, but parents in Russia don't make their kids go to bed at a set time every evening. Besides, they also don't get them to go to sleep early. In many families, children don't go to bed until 10 or even 11 PM and they're allowed to fall asleep on their own when they want to. It might sound good for the kids but parents, in this case, have much less free time.
15 Kids And Parents Eat Similar Food
Many parents know how hard it is to have a picky eater at home, but Russians seem to know how to deal with them. They just don't give them any other options. See, kids don't get to choose between pizza and a veggie soup. If the mom cooked veggie soup for the family, the kid will have to eat it, too. Or stay hungry. This is the only choice given.
14 All Kids Have To Learn How To Dance
It's a common tradition for Russian families to take their kids to ballet schools. And we're not only talking about girls as they take boys there, too. It's not about wanting their children to become professional dancers, but it's more about the things that ballet teaches – focus, responsibility, and technique. And they also think that it helps kids become more cultured.
13 They Do Things Based On Tradition
While American parents usually look for something new and adjust themselves to fit the trend, Russians prefer to just follow the traditions. They do things in a certain way simply because it's always been done like that. For this reason, their parenting style comes from generation to generation and for the same reason, it often seems to be so weird to parents from other countries.
12 Babushka... There's So Much In This Word
The baby's grandparents are key members of the parenting process. They take care of the child along with the parents, teach them some of the things they know, and often they even live with them. This way, they make sure that everything's done right and they also get to take care of the baby, if parents need to go out for a night or come back to work. So yes, for a Russian child, babushka is the second mom!
11 Even Babushkas You Don't Know Will Give You Advice
Babushkas in Russia are sure that they know so much about parenting that they often want to give you advice (often unsolicited) even when they don't know you and meet you for the first time in the street. If only she sees you doing something she considers wrong, she won't hesitate to share her opinion with you. Sometimes, she'll also do it loudly, in front of everyone else. The best thing you can do in this case is pretending you don't hear her.
10 Moms Have A Huge Maternity Leave
It's time to share the most positive thing about parenting in Russia and tell you that Russian moms can get the whole three years of maternity leave! Yes, you read it right – not three months, but three years. And, of course, if for whatever reason a mom doesn't want to take such a long leave, she can come back to work earlier, whenever she's ready.
9 Children Spend Time Outdoors Every Day
Another nice tradition Russian parents stick to is making sure that kids spend as much time as possible outside. They believe in the benefits of fresh air and have frequent walks with their kids starting from an early age. As they grow up, kids are encouraged to play with their friends outside. The weather doesn't matter. If it's a cold winter day, kids just have to wear multiple layers and go get this fresh air.
8 There's No Such Thing As 'Overdressed'
Speaking of multiple layers, we have to mention that for Russian moms there's no such thing as "overdressing a child." And kids also don't get to choose what they want to wear. If their mom feels cold, the child will have to wear a hat, a scarf, a warm jacket, a coat, and, maybe, something else. Parents in Russia are sure that if a child doesn't wear all these clothes, they'll catch a cold.
7 Commitment To Your Choices Is Very Serious In Russia
In the USA, a child can take piano lessons for a month or a year and then suddenly decide that they're more into sports, quit piano lessons, and sign up for soccer. In Russia, such a thing is impossible. Anything the child chooses to do, they have to stick to it. They call it discipline. And they obviously think that quitters are losers.
6 They Don't Praise Their Kids That Much
American moms are happy to praise their child for all the tiniest things they've done. Sometimes, they say "Good boy/girl!" a hundred times a day. But Russian moms don't give their praise so easily. They think that if a child is praised too much, then they won't appreciate it and they also won't push further to achieve bigger success.
5 The Teacher Is Always Right
Russian parents have huge respect for teachers and they teach their kids to respect them, too, and always listen to what they say. Some parents are even intimidated by teachers and they never want to get summoned to the school because their child did something wrong. Besides, when certain arguments occur at school, they usually think that the teacher is right, while the child is wrong.
4 But The Doctor Probably Isn't
Meanwhile, doctors don't get such a respectful attitude. Parents in Russia usually don't trust them easily. If a doctor recommended something, it's checked over and over even when it comes to treating something as simple as a common cold. And in many cases, a Russian mom won't even go to a hospital but try to treat her child by herself.
3 Moms In Russia Have To Know Everything
For a Russian mom, it's not enough to know that the child is out with their friends. She will want to know who these friends are, where they're going to go, what they're going to do, and when they will come back home. And if a mom doesn't like some of these things, she can forbid her child from going anywhere. Yes, it's that harsh.
2 Dads Are Only Secondary Participants In Parenting
In Russia, moms do pretty much everything around the house and take care of the baby, while dads usually don't do that much. They also can choose their level of participation in the parenting process. If they want to, they can give much attention to the child. If they want to do something else more often, they're free to do it.
1 Kids Don't Necessarily Have Their Own Rooms
While all American kids get their own rooms with a lock on the door, kids in Russia don't have such luxury. Often they don't even have their own room until they become teenagers, or ever. It partly happens because most Russians live in apartments and they just don't have a spare room. And partly it's because they feel so responsible for their child that they think they should always be checking on them.
Sources: Baby Gaga, Time, Romper, Russia Beyond