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Mollycoddled Spanish Kids

By Jo Green - Thu 30th Jun 2011

I was reading another 'Expat Mum in Spain' blog the other day (and yes, there are thousands of us out there...) on the subject of - well, being a Mum. The subject struck a chord with me and was something that I had long suspected, but I had always put my suspicions down to cultural differences and the different ways we all have of muddling through parenthood.

My initial thought was to ruthlessly plagiarise the opening paragraph of the blog and pass the words off as my own, but my honesty and integrity got the better of me in the end, and so I'm not going to try and claim any credit :

"In Spain we are very conscientious about keeping our children safe. No leaving the house at less than 25 degrees. No chewing real food until at least 4 years of age. Electrical plugs are sealed, table corners are cushioned and wet feet require a trip to the emergency room." *

(That and no English person would ever us the phrase 'emegency room'. Can you tell that the original author is from over the pond ?)

But how true is that, though ? Before we had our daughter, when we would be sat having an early evening drink outside our local bar (Conveniently located next to the Kids playground) my other half would always mock the Spanish Grannies for chasing after the kids in their charge, attempting to drag an extra woolly jumper over their heads in the height of July, whilst trying to force feed them a yoghurt or boccadillo. Even before we had kids we were firmly of the opinion that kids usually ate when they were hungry and hardly ever resulted to starving themselves from their own will : "Leave them alone and let them play", he would shout as the three foot high Spanish Nannas chased their chubby grandkids, youghurt flying everywhere.

Why do you never see Spanish kids playing out when there is a cloud in the sky ? My daughter loves to get her coat and wellies and jump in muddy puddles when it is raining. It horrifies anyone driving past in a car and you can imagine the looks we got when the parents of a school friend stopped outside our house to offer us a lift. They drove away shaking their heads when I told them that we actually lived right here and were just out for a walk. Loco !

They seem to want to keep their offspring as toddlers and Infants for as long as possible, then as soon as they reach the age of 14 all hell breaks loose : they buy them a Moped and tell them that they can stay out till 4 in the morning at the beach parties or Fiestas or whatever. What happened to the sulky nintendo playing, McDonalds munching 10 to 13 year old stage that parents have to endure in the UK ? - Do they even have an equivalent in Spain ?

* Shamelessly stolen from NotsoSpanish.

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