The first time I went to a playground in Berlin, I freaked. All the German parents were huddled together, drinking coffee, not paying attention to their children who were hanging off a wooden dragon 20 feet above a sand pit. Where were the piles of soft padded foam? The liability notices? The personal injury lawyers?
“Achtung! Nein!” I cried in my bad German. Both kids and parents ignored me.
Contrary to stereotypes, most German parents I’ve met are the opposite of strict. They place a high value on independence and responsibility. Those parents at the park weren’t ignoring their children; they were trusting them. Berlin doesn’t need a “free range parenting” movement because free range is the norm.
Here are a few surprising things Berlin parents do:
Don’t push reading. Berlin’s kindergartens or “kitas” don’t emphasize academics. In fact, teachers and other parents discouraged me from teaching my…
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