Time magazine published an article in which an American woman, Donna Gorman, the mother of 4 children, who has been living with her family in Moscow for the last few years, shares her observations about how strangely and incomprehensibly Russians bring up their children.
“In Moscow, you need a whole village to raise one child, and the parents become part of this village,” Donna writes. According to her observations, Russians bring up children in a completely different way from Americans, writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta... In Russia, for example, a child “doesn’t have too many clothes on”. Woe to an American parent who lets his child out into the street in shorts and a 16-degree T-shirt - the first grandmother he meets will immediately arrange a headwash, the author of the article shares his observations.
In general, Russians have a special relationship with the cold, emphasizes Time. In Moscow, it is not customary to order cold drinks on a cold day, and you cannot sit on stone steps. Such things are considered dangerous - you can get sick or cold ovaries. But very young children in Russia are dressed in overalls, put in strollers and taken out into the cold during the daytime, Donna wonders. This is explained by the fact that children need fresh air, and in general this is a tradition. Americans are trying to find a way to do things in a new, better way. The Russians, on the other hand, usually prefer to do everything as they have always done: "They have been dealing with the cold for a thousand years, so they may know something."
Another feature is related to ballet. According to Gorman, children are sent to these classes again according to tradition - simply because everyone does it. Her daughters wanted to go to ballet lessons in pink tutus, but the teacher had other plans: the girls very quickly realized that ballet is not fun and not a game, and gave up classes.
If Americans believe that they rule the world's pop culture and are proud of their leading role in film and music, then Russians find something to be proud of in their past, Donna said: “They teach children by telling them about artists and writers whose creativity is their cultural heritage ”.
In Russia, it is assumed that even preschool children should sit through a full-fledged theatrical production. At the same time, the American woman was surprised to find that a full hall was going to the show at seven o'clock in the evening, although the next morning children would go to school. She also noticed that in order to visit the theater, parents in Russia usually dress their child in the best outfits. Obviously, bringing children to the theater is much more important for them than putting them to bed in time.
By the way, children in Russia go to bed very late to sleep, but at the same time in kindergartens they are waiting for a quiet hour every day. Late bedtime applies to children of any age. Even elementary school students often come home at 10 evenings because of extra classes or workouts. It is assumed that they still have to complete all the homework before they go to sleep.
For Russians, education is not a means to an end, but an end itself, Gorman said. And they seem to be intimidated by the teachers: none of the parents wants to be called to school because their child is not doing their homework.
Another observation Donna shares: the Moscow metro always gives way to pregnant women and women with children. The number of cases when she, as a pregnant woman, was given a place in transport in Washington, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Meanwhile, in Moscow, a child will never have to ride while standing in a subway car - adults will always give way to children and their mothers. This is the positive side of the Russian "village", the American notes. Its negative side is the already mentioned Russian grandmothers, who will immediately tell their parents everything they think about them or their children, if they don’t like something, and will do it as loudly as possible and in front of everyone, Gorman laments. In such cases, she herself smiles broadly, as befits a foreigner, and passes by, pretending that she does not understand Russian.
By the way
Here's how the Russians responded to the article in social networks:
“Our children (what a nightmare) go in for dancing and sports, and they (what a horror) do their homework, and absolutely unimaginable - they listen to their parents. But most of the medals at the Olympics went to Russia, a significant part of the world-renowned scientists are Russians, and our children in our schools do not shoot their classmates. ”
“Donna Gorman should have lived for about 2 years in Siberia, not to mention Magadan or Yakutia. In general, in forty-degree frosts, children are taken to kindergarten on sledges, and the stove in the Russian “village” is heated with wood and coal, they walk with buckets to a water pump or a well, and the toilet is outside. ”
“There are people (foreigners) who can and want to understand Russia, and there are those who cannot and do not want to. Gorman cannot and does not want to. "
“But it seemed to me that, on the contrary, he wants to understand. But this is unrealistic. Another mentality or even another civilization ”.
A look from Russia
Olga Makhovskaya, Candidate of Psychological Sciences, author of the book "American children play with pleasure, French children play by the rules, and Russians until victory" shared her attitude to such publications:
“Talking about the system of raising children in other countries is a new trend in modern journalism and popular literature. My book is from the same number. But at the heart of most of these publications is a desire to share experiences, to tell about something good and really useful.
At the same time, you should be critical of your experience and carefully choose what may come in handy from someone else's. Children now live in an open world. If a child was born in one country, it is not known where he will live tomorrow. Therefore, it is necessary to form multicultural sensitivity - in different countries everything is different, and this is great.
Against this backdrop, this article seems to be built on negative stereotypes. This only indicates that the author herself, despite the fact that she spent more than one year in Russia, did not go through the initial stage of adaptation. Negative stereotypes, irritation, primitive interpretations are a consequence of the fact that there was no good Russian friend next to the author who could comment on this.
For example, a comic story with pink tutus for girls. Someone had to explain that ballet is our national pride. They give ballet not so much for the sake of entertainment and the formation of posture, but primarily for the formation of character. The principle of our ballet school is that you first need to learn a fairly large previous experience, and only then indulge in your personal interpretations. This is a big culture, and Americans who do not have this practice do not understand or appreciate it.
Although it is not easy for a foreigner to decipher their own culture. We do a lot spontaneously, without thinking, because it is passed down from generation to generation. For example, old women who constantly interfere in the affairs of mothers are a relic of the communal past, when mothers were busy and the whole environment had to look after the children. This can annoy a person who cares about private space, but if Donna understood where it came from, she would treat the “grandmothers” with understanding and humor.
There are a lot of similar stereotypes, and they exist in every country. So, many Americans cannot eat Russian food - porridge, meat ... And Russians in America think that Americans only eat fast food. But this only indicates a low level of social adaptation.
If a person gets stuck on it, he sees nothing else, does not master the culture in which he finds himself, and the world around him does not cause him anything but irritation. In the normal course of events, a polar view arises. You know how we are and how they are, rethink all this and think about how to behave correctly. In my opinion, the very publication of this article is an indicator of incorrectness. The main message is that we are a nation of savages, and Americans should not go to Russia. But this, you see, does little to continue the dialogue.
Our upbringing system has many problem areas, just like the American one. In addition, the children's topic is very important to us. For the sake of children, we are ready for anything. Therefore, I believe that you should not hurt the people in whose country you live so much. ”
Our children can go for a walk in a jacket and a hat at +16, or at -10 they can pour themselves over with ice water - it's all about hardening, and not about the oddities of upbringing.