The Happiest Kids in the World: A Stress-Free Approach to Parenting—the Dutch Way

Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison. The Experiment, $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-61519-390-5
American blogger Acosta (Finding Dutchland), and Hutchison, a British translator of Dutch literature, provide their own perspective on the 2013 UNICEF study reporting Dutch children are the world’s happiest. Both authors are expats married to Dutchmen and raising their children in the Netherlands. They noticed the country’s relaxed parenting style and the confident, well-adjusted children it produces, so unlike the stressed parents and kids in their home countries. The two women explain that the core idea for Dutch parents is to treat children as “individuals rather than extensions of themselves.” Free of the demanding helicopter-parenting so rampant in the U.S. and U.K., children are given much more freedom to play and explore. Subjects covered include birth (done at home with a midwife), parental happiness (communities pitch in to shift some of the burden off parents), and raising teenagers (parents and teens set boundaries together.) Along with citations of supporting research studies and interviews with Dutch parents, witty sidebars are woven throughout, discussing Dutch birthday-party ideas, how to cycle while carrying an umbrella, and house rules for teenagers. American parents exhausted by the pressures and expectations of parenting will appreciate this refreshing look at how another culture handles the same issues. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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