I was introduced to The Danish Way of Parenting by a coworker while I was still pregnant and looking for some helpful tips on raising a child to be happy and healthy. She had read it herself and highly recommended it. I had already read through a number of books about the basics of raising a baby and was looking for something a little deeper. This seemed like a good fit so I dove right in when I picked it up from my local library that weekend.
Every new parent, I assume, reflects on their own childhood and has a few mental notes on what things they would like to incorporate into their parenting style and what has to go. Since Denmark has been regularly voted the happiest place in the world virtually every year since 1973, I was hoping I could get a few ideas on how to replace the elements of my childhood that I'd decided to kick to the curb. The book's promise is to “help parents from all walks of life raise the happiest, most well-adjusted kids in the world” through examining the very people who seem to be quite happy all the time. In my opinion something must be going on in the everyday lives of the Danish people for everyone to be impacted, either that or the government puts something in the water.
The authors Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissling Sandahl, an American writer and Danish psychotherapist respectively, think they have figured out the secret to all of this happiness. So what is the secret you ask? It starts with the parenting style., but includes other elements of society too. The book covers different styles from around the globe including the US and compares them back to Denmark.
This is a great book if you are interested in learning different points of view. Take competition as an example. It can bring out someone's best performance, but the constant pressure to be the best can have some significant consequences. I know many parents my age that talk about how their parents forced them to play a certain sport and went to great lengths to get them lessons, but never really asked if he/she even enjoyed the game. They now don't want their children to play said sport at all. Two tragedies in one really. The first childhood spent on activities he/she doesn't enjoy and the second one could as well if his/her kid actually likes that particular sport! In my opinion there are far too many parents living out their childhood dreams through their children this way.
For the sake of giving too much away, I’ll stop with the book summary and let you read it for yourself. I highly recommend this The Danish Way of Parenting to all people with kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews or any little ones in their lives. It certainly was educational, but I also feel that it served as a good reminder to just let kids be kids. It certainly takes a village and that means everyone has a stake in raising happy kids.