When Pauline Einstein learned that her beloved son Albert was consorting parent source magazine a fellow physics student–one who was older, of another faith and from the backwaters of the Balkans–she was devastated. If she gets a child, you’ll be in a pretty mess,” his mother warned him. But the 22-year-old Albert, as roguishly independent in his personal life as he would be in his science, brushed off Mutti’s agitated words and continued the romance. 47 0 0 0 13 6.
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? I cried in my bad German. Both kids and parents ignored me. The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. Contrary to stereotypes, most German parents I’ve met are the opposite of strict.
They place a high value on independence and responsibility. In fact, teachers and other parents discouraged me from teaching my children to read. I was told it was something special the kids learn together when they start grade school. Kindergarten was a time for play and social learning. But even in first grade, academics aren’t pushed very hard. Encourage kids to play with fire. A note came home from school along with my excited second grader.
They were doing a project on fire. Would I let her light candles and perform experiments with matches? Together we lit candles and burned things, safely. Still, she was the only kid whose parent didn’t allow her to shoot off heavy duty fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Let children go almost everywhere alone. Most grade school kids walk without their parents to school and around their neighborhoods. Some even take the subway alone.
German parents are concerned about safety, of course, but they usually focus on traffic, not abductions. The facts seem to be on the Germans’ side. 115 a year in all of America, according to the most recent U. In Berlin, Einschulung is a huge celebration at the school—on a Saturday! Zuckertute—a giant child-sized cone filled with everything from pencils to watches to candy. Then there’s another party afterwards with your family and friends.