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Differences in How Polish People Raise a Child and How Americans Raise a Child


Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Jan 2013 #121
where the mother was feeding her 10 year old son

What if this particular boy was autistic or had some other type of learning difficulty that isn't obvious to an outsider? Ever thought of that? It is also generally agreed that to make generalisations you need more than one example.
pip 10 | 1,659
20 Jan 2013 #122
not autistic.

I am not going to list all of the times I have seen a parent spoon feeding their children. I see it every time I go to a restaurant. The above example was the first one I thought of.

Maybe you don't notice it because you are Polish and it is common for you, but I can tell you as a foreigner who has worked with children, it was one of the first things I noticed here about parenting.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Jan 2013 #123
Maybe they didn't want the kid to spend hours over their food. Who knows. Have you seen it happen in someone's home as well? Anyways, it's not something I would consider normal, everyday treatment. Most kids I knew in Poland - including my own - (teenagers and young adults by now) were independent enough. They could take care of themselves, prepare simple meals, and quite substantially help around the house by the time they were 7 - 8. I mentioned walking to school earlier. Unless the new generation of parents has gone completely crazy, things couldn't have changed so much in 8 years.
zetigrek
20 Jan 2013 #124
Maybe you don't notice it because you are Polish and it is common for you

If she doesn't agree it means it's not common. I have never seen such scene too!

Neither I nor my friends could cook meals at 7 or 8! I barely can do it at my mid 20s :)
I started go to school alone when I was 9 (the school was within 10 min walk), however my collegues did that earlier.
I suppose everyone has a different experience. My experience is that indeed Polish parents (not all but many) are over caring. Also in regards of their adult children. It's annoying to have mother or father who butts in every single aspect of your life and if you don't let them to butt in they say that you don't care about them or love them.

Ant63, I'm not a parent and I don't live in the UK, but I was shocked to discover that it's a norm in the Uk to live an adult life for a 16 years old! In Poland a 16 year old is a school pupil living with mom and pop who no one would even think of giving a job. That would be a very good cultural example for Poles to follow.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Jan 2013 #125
That would be a very good cultural example for Poles to follow.

Isn't it an offence to leave a "child" under 16 at home alone? In the UK, I mean? You can't buy a knife, cigarettes or alcohol until you're over 20, yet you can get contraceptives and abortions on demand as a young teenager, or join the army when you're 16. I don't really like the mixed messages this sends out.
zetigrek
20 Jan 2013 #126
I don't really like the mixed messages this sends out.

The more one expects, the more one receives. If in Poland people pamper their children to early 20s, then no one should wonder why we have a generation of people who don't know how to deal with life.

You can't buy a knife, cigarettes or alcohol until you're over 20

I thought a 16 y.o. can buy legally a beer but not strong alcohols. Is the legal age the same as in the USA, 21?

Isn't it an offence to leave a "child" under 16 at home alone? In the UK, I mean?

Seriously? A 15 y.o. needs a babysitter? I won't believe that.
f stop 25 | 2,513
20 Jan 2013 #127
10 year old is a little too old, but maybe the parent was worried about the kid messing up their sunday clothes.. maybe, she was letting the child try some food from their own plate? Maybe this was an alternative to "you will sit at this table until your plate is clean!" routine.

I've seen couples feeding each other too - generally a sign of playfulness. ;)
Seriously though, one day you might be taking all kinds of ridiculous measures to have your kid eat some spinach...
Anyway, I don't think this is a Polish thing.
pip 10 | 1,659
20 Jan 2013 #128
I used to have an assistant working with me. 21 years old. He was like a child. I actually just asked him not to come back to work and hired a girl who is proving to be much better.

I do think Polish mothers' over care for their boys.

My 13 year old girl has started taking the city bus by herself. It makes me nervous but she is able. I can also track her on her iphone and I make her call me. It is more for my nerves than hers. It is a step towards responsibility and independence--which is the ultimate goal, no?

Obviously not all parents are over caring- but I have seen loads and it is particularly with boys. They are taught to be whiney sucky babies. We have neighbours on three sides of us who have 1 boy each and all three of these boys are so pathetic. We can hear them through the walls crying. All the time.
zetigrek
20 Jan 2013 #129
Are you kidding? Kids 8-10 years old from the nearby elementary school do that, I see this often.

I do think Polish mothers' over care for their boys.

Gender or whether it is mother or father has nothing to do with it. Believe me.
Ironside 50 | 11,279
20 Jan 2013 #130
crying

Nothing wrong with crying. Is there?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Jan 2013 #131
Seriously? A 15 y.o. needs a babysitter? I won't believe that.

I just checked. You're not supposed to leave an under-16 alone at home overnight. So yes, the 15 year old would need a babysitter if it was overnight.

I thought a 16 y.o. can buy legally a beer but not strong alcohols. Is the legal age the same as in the USA, 21?

The legal age to buy alcohol in the UK is 18 but many stores enforce 21, or even 25.
You can supposedly have a beer or cider with a meal if an adult orders for you when you are over 16, but I don't think many pubs / restaurants actually allow that.

You have to be 18 to buy cigarettes.
You have to be 18 to buy any kind of knife, including cutlery and kitchen knives. So you're 16, you can set up your own household and have children, but your parents will have to buy any knives you need for your kitchen. Wow. Very logical.

10 year old is a little too old, but maybe the parent was worried about the kid messing up their sunday clothes.. maybe, she was letting the child try some food from their own plate? Maybe this was an alternative to "you will sit at this table until your plate is clean!" routine.

My thoughts exactly.

all three of these boys are so pathetic. We can hear them through the walls crying. All the time.

Maybe they're being extra naughty and keep getting punished? ;-)
zetigrek
20 Jan 2013 #132
the city bus by herself.

Apropos using the municipal transport, I could never understand why the kids in rodzinka.pl (a tv series based on Canadian Les Parents) can't use a bus to school or afternoon activities. It's always their parents who have to pick them up, even the oldest one. It's soo unpolish and give the series away as a foreign plot.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
20 Jan 2013 #133
. I would be crucified for this both in the UK and in the US.

and in Poland. children up to a certain age must be in the care of an adult.
pam
20 Jan 2013 #134
In Poland a 16 year old is a school pupil living with mom and pop who no one would even think of giving a job. That would be a very good cultural example for Poles to follow.

I wouldn't say it's exactly the norm in the UK , but I was living on my own when i was 16, and worked full time. These days kids tend to leave home at a later age simply because it's too expensive to rent somewhere

My experience is that indeed Polish parents (not all but many) are over caring

I would agree with this. I'm English, but many of my friends are Polish, so i've witnessed first hand how overprotective some mums can be.

A friend's daughter was off school recently with a throat infection, for which she was prescribed antibiotics. A week later she was still off school, despite feeling absolutely fine, eating normally etc. When i asked my friend why her daughter was still off school, she looked puzzled and said, she's still taking her antibiotics, she can't go back to school yet.

Having said that, I've seen plenty of overprotective parents here too.
Suwka - | 21
21 Jan 2013 #135
In Poland nobody will wear clothes that were used.

Nooooo... it's not so. Children's outfits, cribs, prams, toys - they were often hand over from family to family. Every other year I am giving away seldom used things [clothes, vessels, books] to my friend or neighbours or to the PCK
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
21 Jan 2013 #136
and in Poland. children up to a certain age must be in the care of an adult.

They have to be over 7 to walk anywhere alone. That's the Highway Code. And I was definitely never in trouble for letting my children run small errands, go shopping round the corner, or walk to school (they asked me repeatedly not to go with them, as it would make them look like sissies!).

And I'm not even talking about letting them out to play. I have no idea what they were doing during those long summer days... ;-)
Ant63 13 | 410
21 Jan 2013 #137
but I was shocked to discover that it's a norm in the Uk to live an adult life for a 16 years old!

Gosh this opens a can of worms. Politics, education, class structure.

Its not a good interpretaion. At sixteen you are considered an adult within the legal system for certain things. You should be prosecuted as an adult for example but most likely you wouldn't be.You could get married for example, but still need the permission of parents. The school leaving age has now changed to 17. For many things, you are not legally an adult until 18. So its a bit random really. It should be understood that it is not a good idea to be leaving education at 17 but it is preferable that some individuals do. The naughty boys and girls.

Politics and class structure are involved when a crime is reported. This is really annoying. A 16yr old from a poor background will often be refered to as a man whereas a 16yr old from a good backround will be reported as a teenager. Kind of trivialises the crime for the child from a better background.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,845
21 Jan 2013 #138
Isn't it an offence to leave a "child" under 16 at home alone? In the UK, I mean?

no it is not, although this myth is commonly peddled; in fact there is no law on this, just, say the house burnt down while you were out, you would be held responsible.

oh, and what Pip said about the spoon feeding - IME that is true, without going into details.
zetigrek
21 Jan 2013 #139
They have to be over 7 to walk anywhere alone.

I remember as a 5 years old I was going out on the backyard of the block we were living to play with other kids, alone.

oh, and what Pip said about the spoon feeding - IME that is true, without going into details.

Well if it so, then I think that the problem lays in "over feeding" kids by their parents. A kid doesn't want to eat but mum forces him to. It was just the same with my mum... she never let me feel hungry and eating dinners was an agony for me!
Mommyshell3
27 Mar 2015 #140
I am an American mom living in America. I am very loving, doting, and affectionate with my children. I am a stay at home mom, love being able to. The reason I checked out this sight is because my mother in law is 100% Polish. She is a very cold woman, holds grudges against her siblings. Has not talked to them in many years. Now her grown children are displaying the same traits. She did really cook and feed her children, but also favored two of her five children greatly. She doted on the two she favored, the other children have always been very aware of this. This has hurt the self esteem of the three unfavored children. She has never liked her children's spouses, has said rude things to all of us. Always insists on feeding us, but we never feel at home. All she instilled in her children is that making a lot of money is the most important thing in life. I was trying to understand if this was the culture, or just her personality.
Marsupial - | 886
27 Mar 2015 #141
Its both. Think of it as a multiplier of culture, personality, environment and 10 other things.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
28 Mar 2015 #142
I have encountered people like you and your mother-in-law both in the USA and Poland. Some Poles and Americans are close to their siblings, others are not. Some treat their children even handedly, whilst others have favourites. It's not an ethnic thing but a question of individual personality.
Pole/US Student
5 Dec 2015 #143
I would like to thank ElmhustTom for starting this. I have been working on a school project for a while, and had found little information I could use. This has been an extremely helpfull debate. I now realize that many of the things my babcia does are not just her, that are actually quite cultural! Thank you again.
american nanny
20 Nov 2016 #144
I recently worked as a part time Nanny for a Polish family who moved to America 15 years ago. They have 1 son, age 9. They decided to renovate their house & we found ourselves in a shell with no walls, no heat, and chaos. The boy has asthma & allergies. We were forced to spend time in an adjoining apartment to their home where someone else lived, but gave the boy and I shelter to do homework while parents were working. As the house began to look like it was bombed from all the structural changes, dust and plaster everywhere, the child showed many signs of being ill. His diet changed from Polish deli meals bought at a store to real garbage food. School lunch box filled with Gummy Bears & Lunchables, dinner was frozen Mini Bagel bites, and breakfast was sugary cereal. I observed he was hyper-focusing, eyes transfixed on Ipod, Ipad, laptop, and cartoons. The Mother was a class Mom. Her son needed lots of extra help. I was not going to do the homework for him, but I tutored him. When some of his grades fell below passing, I observed the Mother hitting him with deep anger. She humiliated him, made him cry, and threatened to get rid of me and send him to another school until 7 PM to be tutored. He cried, and promised to do better. With lots of extra help for tests, I was surprised he didn't do as well as I thought. I knew we had more work to do, and the boy and I even spoke to the teacher after school last week about the Common Core 4th grade Math. Just when he and I were coming to a new understanding, he told me, "Mom doesn't want you to know but she is firing you, are you upset?" She came home and he told her he told me. She was so angry crying her job is too hard, the house is destroyed they have to move to her mother's house because of all the construction dust affecting her son's breathing. We were working on his big project and I'd bought all the materials with my own money because the Mother was so unreachable. I observed her so angry with her son. He was traumatized. He'd told me they couldn't afford to pay me and blamed me for his poor grades, but his teacher and I explained to him hours earlier that he is responsible for remembering his homework, bringing it home, asking for extra help from the teacher, and paying attention in class. The things I did to give him structure, the Mother took them all away and undermined the routine. SHE SLEEPS WITH HIM EVERY NIGHT. And they oversleep some days when I arrive. And the boy is exhausted at breakfast time. Thankfully I drove him to school on time everyday, and made sure he was calm, happy, prepared, and well cared for. The Polish woman said I could return to work in a few months when the house was back in order. It didn't feel right. She is blaming me for her son's learning disabilities. And she is not capable of helping him do the work. She is ashamed because she is a class mother and she has a big EGO. She wants to say her son is a perfect student. As I left, she followed me to the car. She was crying how her house, her son, and job were driving her crazy. I said THREE times, "You have a very nice boy. When you want to hit your son, stop, and hug him, instead." She said, "No, he is driving me crazy. He has to be hit. I don't know him anymore." I just got into my car and closed the door, and I heard her saying, "Thank you in a very snarky way. I fear for this boy. There is nothing I can do. Before his Mother came home to fire me, the boy made me promise I'd go to his Christmas concert at the elementary school. I said I would, and we hugged each other. He asked if he could come visit me and if I'd come over to visit him. That is not going to happen. I need to find immediate work as I depended on this extra income to survive. I CAN'T TOLERATE PARENTS HITTING, SLAMMING, SHAMING, HUMILIATING THEIR CHILDREN. It's wrong and scars them. It can also create learning disabilities. I think this boy is dissociating from reality and splitting off as a way of coping. SHAME ON THIS POLISH MOTHER.
DominicB - | 2,709
21 Nov 2016 #145
@american nanny

Is there any particular reason you didn't thoroughly document this abuse (times, dates, quotes, detailed actions and witnesses) and report it to the proper authorities in a timely fashion? Now, anything you say will probably be dismissed as the crazed invention of a disgruntled employee who was fired.

Sorry, but your silence made you complicit in this abuse. Shame on you!
Atch 16 | 3,322
21 Nov 2016 #146
SHAME ON THIS POLISH MOTHER.

The fact that she's Polish is irrelevant. She could be any nationality.

thoroughly document

report it t

Absolutely. It's interesting that the OP doesn't say that she intends to report it either. In fact she says:

There is nothing I can do.

My dear girl, bought deli meals are not a healthy option. He should have been eating homecooked food and you, as his nanny, had a joint responsibility with his parents to provide it. Who was shopping for the groceries?? Was there no bread, no eggs, no pasta, in the house? Could you not make him a simple lunch each morning and pop in a piece of fruit with it?

You need to understand that when you are working in a situation like that and you do nothing about it, as Dominic says, you become complicit in the abuse. At this stage you should at least contact the authorities and tell them what you witnessed. It's still worth reporting as child protection authorities may do some kind of follow up.

The impression I get is that you may be young, inexperienced and have had either no formal training for such work or inadequate training. It is essential that one is able to communicate effectively, and stand one's ground with unreasonable parents. If you don't have the maturity, confidence and skills to do that, then being a nanny is not the right career path for you.
Cardno85 31 | 976
21 Nov 2016 #147
The school leaving age has now changed to 17

In the Scottish system you can leave school after your standard grades at 16. However we would complete secondary school at 17 for most pupils. I was 17 when I started university after completing my schooling.

I always thought it was the most bizarre thing that you could get married at 16 (in Scotland you don't need parent's permission, hence Gretna Green) and start a family, but you couldn't get credit for a house or have a drink at the ceremony. Or of course you can go and fight for your country at 16 but can't vote for the government of the country you are serving for another 2 years. In Scotland we now allow 16 year olds to vote, but not in the UK in general.
losangelino
13 Dec 2016 #148
The baby still sleeps in the bed with my wife and there is no plan to end that anytime soon. She dresses him way too warm inside with layers of clothes.

My mother used to DEMAND that I put on a sweater (and a coat, a two scarfs, and why not change my shirt to a wool turtleneck while I'm at it) whenever SHE felt a teensy bit cold.
BradNW
3 Jan 2018 #149
@ElmhurstTom

Tom, You're absolutely right. Your wife is spoiling your kids.

I see it was 8 years ago now. How did they turn out?

Our pediatrician told us that we should let our twins cry when we put them down at night so they'd learn to fall asleep by themselves. We couldn't do that the first 2 weeks when my (small town American) mom was with us and we had a 3-person shift to feed and care for two semi-preemie infants. But the first night after she left, we did. We went into the nursery and checked on them when they cried, but we didn't touch them unless there was something wrong. It was hard, particularly for my wife, but it was a very good thing to do! Within a couple days, they were falling asleep just fine.

They were waking up hungry every 2 1/2 hours, staggered, for a couple weeks there. So I'd give one of them the bottle every 1 1/4 hours for the first half the night, then she'd wake up every 1 1/4 hours the second half. It was tough. But if we had coddled them, then we probably would have died!

We were very lucky and this method worked. Within 10 weeks, they were sleeping almost through the night -- 11:00 to 4:00 and then 11:00 to 6:00. By 1 year they were sleeping 9 to 6:30 every night!

When occasionally we'd nap with one or both of the babies, we were deathly afraid that we would roll over on them and suffocate them. So to me, the crib is safer than the parents' bed. My wife got to doing that for her own enjoyment for awhile when they were about 1, but not for long.

As far as playing with (or for) them during the day. I think that is very destructive! They must learn to play with other children or by themselves! Are you going to be playing FOR THEM like our neighbors the homeschoolers did with their kids until about age 8?

And like you say, it's destructive to you. We could not have survived twins if we couldn't let go and sit back and just watch them!

Sincerely,

Brad


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