Professor: Melissa Eaton, Ph.D.
3 November 2014
The Differences in Childrearing
Growing up as a child is one of the most effortless processes known to man. Who wouldn’t enjoy being waited on constantly, fed on the daily, and tucked in every night only to wake up and repeat the process? However, little do any of these children know that their upbringing has the utmost importance on their overall development into a functioning member of society. These different upbringings vary from culture to culture and today we are going to be looking at two of them specifically. Both the Japanese and Somali cultures have a few similarities and vast differences when it comes to the upbringing of their children. However,
Japan has shown that they are the more secure culture for childrearing in regards to family structure, discipline, and economic life.
The family structure in Japan is very unique to it’s culture and really focuses on group dependence rather than independence. For example, growing up in a Japanese home you wouldn’t be too familiar with physical connection. Despite the coined term “skinship” (closeness between child and parents) Japanese parents rely on actions in order to express their love.
They feel as if there is no need for verbal love due to the fact that providing food, shelter, and education are physical means of their love. They also find it normal to bathe with their children and even sleep together as a family. Now while we American’s might be squeamish thinking of this style of parenting, it simply is a way of life in Japan. These group like connections within the family can be seen throughout later stages in life and correlate to Japan’s overall harmonious and cohesive success as a unit in today’s day and age.
On the contrary Somali children have been brought up in a completely different setting.
In 1991 Somalia’s central government hit rock bottom and completely collapsed. War broke out and terror infested the land until as of recent years. In 2012 a new government was established and the rebuilding of Somalia had begun. In typical Somali households the father is the head of the family and maintains the utmost authority. He assumes his position and provides income, food, and shelter for his recovering family. On the other hand the woman sticks solely to her role which involves childbirth, child care, and the overall upbringing of her children. Typically, Somali families consist of five to ten kids and it is considered an honor to bring multiple children into the world. Secondly, the children must begin working at a very young age due to poverty and must develop a high respect for his mother and father in order to ensure success. The boys typically see to agriculture and outside work with their father while the girls stay inside with their mother seeing to housework. In the end these children are taught to take care of their parents in their old age.
Next we will see to each of these cultures disciplinary actions towards their children. The
Japanese have always believed that there are two stages during a childs youth. Up until the child reaches the age of seven he is considered a “child of the gods”. In essence, this child is treated with leniency and is indulged in order to “keep the gods” happy. However, the physical connection is still kept to a minimum. Mother’s are typically in charge of any discipline and do so while rarely showing anger. They also tend to explain in detail to their child the consequences and why they shouldn’t partake in their current actions. Some families have even been known to lock their child out of their house in order to teach a lesson about how important family is and how much that child truly needs them. Once a child reaches the age of seven and begins the second stage, “age of understanding” he then is disciplined in a more strict manner as well as influenced by his educational