The Road Less Taken: Embracing the Danish way of being a parent

When I married a Dane over 20 years ago and came to for the first time, I was a self-proclaimed ‘non-mother person’. I did not even know if I wanted children.

What I would learn from this small country in northern – known for, among other things, The Little Mermaid, Nordic Noir and HC Andersen – would blow me away.

In a distant land
I was not blown away by the , which in fairness was very windy. I was not blown backwards by the food or the taxes or the weather. No, it was the kids who surprised me.

I would find myself endlessly observing peaceful parents and calm, serene children who seemed really happy, respectful, and well-behaved. How was this possible without screams, shouts and ultimatums, I wondered? What happened to all this free play, fun and empathic communication?

Could it be the secret behind the edge that Americans so desperately wanted for their children to learn to whip knives at the age of three instead of forcing the academic ?

From duckling to swan
That kind of question would put me on a journey that would change my perspective so deeply that it became my life’s to research and write about the Danish educational model.

Denmark has been named one of the happiest in the world for over 40 years in a row, and I am convinced that it is because of the way they raise their children.

I converted myself from my American way of being a parent to the Danish way many years ago, and it was the biggest transformation I had ever experienced. I went from being a ‘non-child person’ to a thriving parent and a happier being.

The and my prose!
So when I read last week that Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, had read ‘The Danish Way of Parenting; what the happiest people in the world know about raising confident, capable children ‘, a book I wrote together with a Danish psychotherapist, I was amazed.

The British newspaper The Telegraph reported: “The Duchess who has read the book as part of her own parenting journey” visited Denmark to study the early parenting and system in Denmark to share this model with the .

The book aims to help parents around the world look at their own culture, and then take a look at Danish culture, and ask if there might be a better way to do things. The premise is that happy children grow up to be happy parents who repeat the cycle.

Happy forever after
When we come from America, a culture where competition and individuality form the basis of what it means to be successful, we consistently score low on the happiness scale. If we want to move forward in the field of wellness, we may want to reconsider these core values.

Maybe if Britain joins The Danish Way, other countries will be open to it as well. Soon we may all discover that the survival of the fittest was always the adventure, and that the survival of the kindest was the true story of happiness to the end of their days.

Source: The Nordic Page




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