Can You Parent Like The Scandinavians?

denmark in scandinavia

Can you parent like the Scandinavians?

If you’re a frazzled American parent living in these tough times, you might have wondered about your parenting peers in other countries.

After all:

Parenting is tough. 

Even on the good days when things are going well…

… it won’t continue forever.

Not to get you down, but it’s a hard truth.

And so it’s easy to start to wonder if parents elsewhere somehow have it easier.

Here’s why:

You’ll hit a milestone.

A new challenge will emerge. You’ll read all the advice and apply it. See success.

Move forward.

And then…

A new challenge will drop like a rock.

Whether it’s something about parenting, or raising and taking care of a human that you’d never thought of…

It can feel like a surprise.

Cause here’s the thing:

As parents, the challenges we help our kids overcome are always shifting…

…because we’re dealing with a human life unfolding.

It’s a story with constant ups.

And downs.

Of laughter one minute, and vomit the next.

Of smiles and giggles, and trips to the ER.

With each struggle, you could beat yourself up.

Or get sucked into social media while imagining that you should parent like the Scandinavians…

After all, parenting like the Scandinavians parent sounds magical:

You’d get to do things like:

  • Let your kids roam freely
  • Have lots of outdoor time
  • No homework
  • And a year of parental leave for BOTH mom and dad

Sounds like a dream, right?

If you pay attention, there’s no shortage of articles out there trying to convince you that with a few simple changes, you can have all this too.

But really…

Can you Parent Like The Scandinavians?

But here’s the catch:

When you get pulled into the reality warp of social media it’s easy to forget the constraints of reality.

We’re all limited by:

  • Time
  • Money
  • and Energy.

Plus the harsh realities of:

Jobs, commutes, bills, student loans, family commitments, and saving for retirement.

With so many obligations, it’s easy to flip into survival mode. And it’s hard to adopt the parenting style and techniques of a country far, far, far different than the U.S.

So the reality for many parents is they can’t parent like a Scandinavian.

Because it’s comparing apples and oranges…

On the surface, it might seem you can adopt some of their methods.

But a significant reason the Scandinavians can do things a certain way is that they have a societal infrastructure that sets them up to do so.

But all is not lost.

While you may not have a legal system that allows a year of parental leave…

You can take steps to reduce the stress of the day to day by taking inspiration from their approach.

And apply those ideas to your own reality.

One way you can capture the present moment is by focusing your attention back on the breath.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed, try this:

Think about how you can be less hard on yourself:

Take a deep breath.

And I’m not saying this as a cliche one.

A real one:

In through the nose for four slow seconds, then hold for seven, then exhale out your mouth slowly for eight.

After that?

Take a few minutes to reflect on your long-term priorities.

And, to think about the big picture in life.

Because you’re in this parenting thing for the long haul. (Especially if your little one is under 5), you’re only getting started.


Don’t cut yourself some slack. Breath deeply. Focus on the future…

And try to enjoy the journey along the way.

In our opinion?

Life’s too short to do so otherwise.

How about you?

What do you think about the way the Europeans approach parenting?

Scandinavian girl
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