Parenting in Spain
Spanish parenting style is more or less similar to Indian parenting styles. In many families, both parents will work because the economy has been so bad, so they rely really on grandparents. Everyone seem to love children here. Here are few interesting facts about parenting styles of Spain:
As you expect a baby in Spain
When one gets pregnant here, one of the big things is the toxoplasmosis screening. Any lady would hear about it a million times before she gets pregnant. It screens for a parasite that lives in uncooked meat and pork. Its fine for a healthy adult, but can be dangerous for a pregnant woman. If one hasn’t done this, then one cannot have ham while pregnant and that’s a huge tragedy for a Spanish woman. During childbirth, there is a tradition where friends and family bring you the same amount of ham as the weight of the newborn baby.
For some baffling reason, Spain is obsessed with baby perfume. A friend of mine living in Madrid who had a baby shower ahead of the birth of her first baby was quite startled to receive not one, not two, but three different brands of bottled baby perfume with which to douse her newborn.
Spanish girls get ear pierced early
When other girls in the western countries have the tortuous wait until they reached the grand old age of twelve, before their parents allowed them to pierce their ears. In Spain, baby girls are adorned with ear studs before they even leave the hospital like we have in our country.
There is no set bedtime for Spanish children
While northern European parents may be preoccupied with establishing a routine of bath, book and bed by 7pm, such habits are not prevalent in Spanish society.
Children stay awake late into the night, joining their parents in restaurants long past 10 pm and tearing round terrazas with other youngsters on warm summer nights, while their parents enjoy a drink or dinner with their friends. It is not unusual to find young children curled up in a chair fast asleep in a noisy restaurant.
Spanish children know how to swear like a trooper
Don’t be shocked to hear a Spanish child reel off a string of expletives or casually intersperse dialogue with “joder, mama!”
While the equivalent might have earned an Indian child the threat of “washing your mouth out with soap and water”, in Spain, it is just a reflection of how prevalent swearing is in everyday language and is not a sign of being badly brought up. And the upside is adults don’t have to modify the way they speak in front of the kids.
Spanish children are allowed to play with fireworks
It seems to me that one of the greatest thrills of being a kid in Spain is setting off firecrackers in a town square to make unsuspecting guiris like me jump out of my skin. While in the UK, the dangerous job of setting up the fireworks for the annual Guy Fawkes night firework display fell to a man in protective clothing located far away behind a fence. In Spain, the laissez faire attitude to pyrotechnics means it’s not unusual to see a rocket whizzing through the crowds at a summer festival.
Long summer holidays
With the school summer holidays stretching well beyond two months and the predominant situation of two working parents, Spanish children are frequently farmed off to the ‘pueblo’ to be looked after by the grandparents for at least a fortnight over the summer. Many spend several weeks at a summer camp at the start of the holidays before heading out of the cities and if they are lucky, to the seaside, to be spoilt by their grandparents. With great summer weather and free childcare and a chance for the older generation to spend quality time with the youngest it’s a win-win situation for the whole family.
(The author is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Arena, an e-learning company)