No matter where you, parenting is different in every country, every region, and even from state to state. Joanna Goddard started a series on her blog, "A Cup of Jo" about parenting around the world. On Sep. 2 she featured Italy and the differences from American parenting are quite astounding. There are several differences that seems quite superstitious compared to American standards, but they are quite interesting and unique as well. Here are seven of the differences Jo's guest parent Jillian Crocker shares from the northern coast of Italy in the town of Lago Maggiore, a vacation spot for most of Italy.
- At five-months old, pediatricians recommend starting babies on more than formula or breast milk. In the baby food isle, baby meat choices include rabbit, ostrich, horse, and lamb.
- In this region, most Italian women will serve a three-course meal for every dinner. Their dinners are usually served around 8 p.m. and the mother's of the children don't seem to be concerned with not having time to themselves as they are traditionally the ones to raise the children. They are very lax in bedtimes, and napping.
- Twins are considered to be good luck. Many Italians will end up passing twins around, (even to complete strangers) to share the "buona fortuna." Also, the older twin is thought to be the second one born because it was the first one in.
- Unlike American or Canadian schools, primary school students have the same teacher from first through fifth grade. Their primary school teacher is often considered to be like a second mother to the children in her class, and is equally concerned with health issues of the child, such as poop. In fact, many of the northern Italian schools will have poop charts that speak of consistency and color. It isn't unusual to have in depth conversations about your child's bowel movements or lack thereof with their teacher or even the post man.
- Many Italian mothers are terrified of the "colpo di vento," (literally: blast of wind.) They believe that the wind can make you sick or cause stiff neck, therefore, even in 70 degree weather they will put children in sweaters or wrap their heads and necks in scarves instead of simply letting their children go play outside.
- Many Italian mothers are very superstitious. Every Jan. 5 they put out a glass of wine and a snack for "la befana" the witch who visits Italian children and leaves them treats, or coal shaped candies if they are bad. It is very bad luck not to provide the snack and glass of wine.
- Every night before dinner (usually around 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.) the whole family will get dressed up for a family walk around the town piazza or pedestrians streets. It's tradition, it is the place to socialize, see, and be seen.