Denmark. Consistently topping the table as the happiest people in the world for over 40 years. Whats their secret? Well, there appears to be no formal conclusion but this book looks into the Danes childhood and philosophies. It would seem the Danish are so happy because of their upbringing.
Firstly, a few facts on Denmark and their stance on education in general. Danish children start school at aged 6; Until the age of 10 the school day finishes at 2pm with the rest of the day dedicated to ‘Free play’. Developing compassion and teamwork are fundamental aspects to the school syllabus over personal trophies. This all sounds so simple but is this achievable in England? No. Not only would it involve a complete shake up of the decades old education system and no doubt it would be subjected to a heap of controversial comments, “If it’s not broken don’t fix it”. Have we all been wearing the wrong glasses and our view obstructed at what really is right way of parenting?
If making these changes could make not only make your child happier, but you, would you be prepared to give it a go?
It’s not just the education sector that provides input into creating the ‘Happiest people in the world’, equally important is the health care system which puts emphasis on creating support networks for new mothers. A crucial life line that sadly cannot be taken for granted here in the UK. What I took from the book is that a cohesive society with arrangements in place to support everyone is Denmark’s secret ace up their sleeve.
The book is set out in 6 chapters around the acronym ‘Parent’. The tips at the end of each chapter are not outlandish or unheard but just re-illiterate the sometimes psychology terminology filled passages.
P – Play
So important for children’s development and who doesn’t love getting stuck into a child’s imagination. This is where memories are made and valuable lesson learnt – do not shy away from playing when you get the chance.
A – Authenticity
Don’t beat around the bush with silly answers to questions with the view to sheltering them from the big bad world. Be honest and connect with your child. You can always lighten up any dark issues with some humour.
R – Re framing
Take on the ability to hold back negative labelling and accentuate the positive vibes. Avoiding overloading children with negative words and actions can help them respond better and/or take the good from a bad situation.
E – Empathy
Be open to your child’s feeling and experiences, Share the joy and sadness. Put yourself in their situation and create a great understanding towards each other.
N – No Ultimatums
No explanation needed really. No threats and no consequences. It’s all about maintaining calm that (hopefully) will rub off onto your little ones.
T – Togetherness
Links well to the current trend of ‘Hygge’ high in everyone’s vocabulary. It’s all about making time to do things together, as a family. Never more important than in today’s society with everyone glued to their phones or tablets.
My views on the whole ethos – Apart from moving to Denmark being a unviable option, making a change to your parenting techniques based on a book is bloody hard. Society, your upbringing and background define your default settings when it comes to raising a child. It would be a perfect world if we could recognise our personal failings as parents and rectify these overnight, but realistically that just isn’t going to happen. If you can safely say you are doing everything in your power to make your child’s upbringing joyous and you yourself are happy, then I’d say you aren’t going far wrong.
As a side note, I understand that parents writing about their own trials and tribulation is funny; and yes we can all connect to them in some way but rather than seeking out the right and wrong from the pages of a book produced by one sole persons views, making your own parenting style is equally as important. I hope people don’t forget that there is no correct way to parenting, even if the Danes/polls say otherwise. Just ensure you enjoy the whole bloody experience whatever the case!