Japanese parenting Styles tend to approach problems much differently than U.S. parenting Styles, including their approach to conflict resolution, discipline and other aspects of child-rearing. The terms and categories used by Japanese researchers to describe different parenting styles are also different than those used by U.S. researchers.
Japanese child-rearing techniques are fundamentally based on notions of children’s dependency on the mother. As noted in an article titled “Discipline in Early Childhood,” a cross-cultural scholarly examination of child rearing practices published by the Kansas Association for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health, Japanese parents traditionally approach child rearing as carrying out basic tasks for them as opposed to teaching children to be autonomous and independent. In the U.S., for example, a mother might encourage her youngster to dress himself, pack his lunch by himself or choose his own play things. But in Japan, parents handle those and many other tasks and responsibilities for the child, even into adolescence. Japanese moms will determine the education, hobbies, and even career paths that their children will develop and pursue. From that child-rearing technique, Japanese children learn to diligently obey and rely upon their parents’ guidance and direction, according to scholars at Southern Utah University.
The Japanese word for discipline is “shitsuke,” which can also refer to good manners or to planting straight lines of seeds in gardening or farming. According to Nobuko Uchida of the University of Tsukuba, many Japanese parents prefer to teach their children “shitsuke” by doing most daily activities with them such as preparing food while having a conversation together. Children are expected to learn how to behave in different circumstances by imitating how their parents act rather than through correction or criticism.
Nest-building and Feeling
U.S. child development researchers usually focus on the extent to which parents are authoritarian or permissive in their approach to child-rearing, but a 2008 survey by the Hakuhodo Baby and Family Business Project came up with completely different categories to describe Japanese parenting styles. Some parents were described as parenting with a “nest-building and feeling” style, emphasizing the careful preparation of nutritious meals from fresh ingredients and dressing the children in the most fashionable clothes available.
In Japan, parenting and intimacy go hand-in-hand. From birth, mothers establish an intimate bond with their babies and continue to reinforce that connection throughout childhood. According to the Kansas Association for Infant & and Early Childhood Mental Health, the Japanese mother’s ultimate goal traditionally has been to establish a relationship with her child wherein mother and child share the same mentality, as opposed to having two separate minds. Developing this extreme closeness is preferable to modeling, negotiation and disciplinary techniques when it comes to raising children with social and moral values in Japan. It is tradition for Japanese moms to rely on the intimate bond they’ve established with their children instead of punishment or other forceful methods to persuade and obligate youngsters to behave appropriately.
Investing, Rational Parenting
The Hakuhodo Baby and Family Business Project described the other typical style of Japanese parenting as the “investing, rational” style. These parents were not so concerned about either food or clothing, but were very focused on gathering information about parenting and childhood from every available source. “Investing, rational” parents were also interested in signing their children up to participate in classes and other activities. The Hakuhodo Baby and Family Business Project found that the “investing, rational” style was more common among older and higher-income parents while the “nest-building and feeling” style was more typical of younger and less-affluent parents.