GRANDADDY'S SECRETS: What can we learn from German parents?

Published on Monday, 8 May 2017 21:44
Written by Daniel Blanchard

Doesn’t it look like the Germans are good at everything? It even appears the Germans are even pretty good at parenting too. For example, somehow German parents have figured out a way to consistently have their 15-year-old children score well above the international average in reading, math and science.

German kids grow up with an ingrained sense of social and community responsibility. They’re not selfish and they follow rules. They don’t have to be forced to behave with the threat of punishment. Crime is almost non-existent in Germany. I can’t help but wonder, what German parents doing? And what pieces of their parenting style can we American parents learn something from and maybe even borrow?

This one may surprise you. German kids walk to school alone, without their parents. They walk to the store alone and go to most places without parent supervision. German parents trust their children. German parents place a high value on independence and responsibility. German parents believe that kindergarten is a time for play and social learning. Grade school is only half of a day in Germany and it has two outdoor recess breaks every day. The Germans don’t believe in bad weather, only bad clothing. Furthermore, German parents believe in a work-life balance. They work very hard. But, they only work from 9-5. No more. No less.

What can we learn from German parents? I guess that depends on the individual parent. America is not exactly like Germany, so I don’t imagine everything there will work here. But, in the end, people are people, and kids are kids; so I suppose at least some of what the German parents are doing can be useful here, even if we do have to put a little American twist on it.

Now, as my Granddaddy always said, “Go learn, lead and lay the way to a better world for all of us.” Let’s always keep an open-mind and borrow some of the best, no matter where it comes from. And once again parents, thanks in advance for all that you do, and all that you will do…

Daniel Blanchard is a New Britain schoolteacher who is also an award-winning author and speaker. Learn more about Dan at:

Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns on Monday, 8 May 2017 21:44. Updated: Monday, 8 May 2017 21:46.