9 Parenting Practices That Haven't Caught on in the United States

(Photo: Trees for the Future)

Japanese children as young as 4 ride the subway by themselves. Vietnamese mothers teach their babies to pee on command. These are 2 of 9 parenting practices from around the world that aren't practiced--or at least widely practiced--in the United States. For example, the Kisii people of Kenya avoid eye contact with their babies:

Kisii, or Gussii, moms in Kenya carry their babies everywhere, but they don't indulge a baby's cooing. Rather, when their babies start babbling, moms avert their eyes.

It's likely to sound harsh to a Western sensibility, but within the context of Kisii culture, it makes more sense. Eye contact is an act bestowed with a lot of power. It's like saying, "You're in charge," which isn't the message parents want to send their kids. Researchers say Kisii kids are less attention-seeking as a result.

You can read the entire list at NPR. Do you see any that you think that American parents should adopt?

-via Nag on the Lake

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Nine-Year-Old Fights Off Massive Aligator, Lives To Tell The Tale

Nine-year-old James Barney Jr. is one brave little boy, and when he was faced with the possibility of becoming an alligator's next meal he fought back-and suffered only minor wounds from the ordeal.

James was swimming in a restricted area of a lake in Osceola County, Florida when a 9-foot-long alligator weighing over 400 pounds came after the boy and bit him in his rear.

Here's what James says happened next:

"I thought someone was just playing with me, and I didn't know what happened. I reached down to grab it, and I felt its jaw, I felt its teeth, and I didn't know what to do, so I immediately reacted and hit it a couple of times."

Those punches effectively saved his life, causing the alligator to let go and giving James a chance to hightail it out of the lake. 

-Via Huffington Post

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Babysitting: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

A couple in Zurich, Switzerland, were asked to babysit for a friend, who was a rather nervous father with plenty of instructions. Erica and Hannes had a good time of it. They took the baby, Alex, outside for a stroll and took pictures. Then they Photoshopped various disaster scenarios into the pictures to send to the father every hour as updates. Posting at reddit, one of them said,

True, we didn't teach the kid how to read that day. We also didn't expand his brain by playing classical music nonstop. We didn't feed him an immune system boosting meal every 15 minutes. But he survived, giggled a lot was looked after the entire time by the two of us and went to bed at 7.30PM perfectly happy. And we will show him these pics in maybe 10 years or so and say: "Young man, we had an awesome time together that day"

A good time was had by all. -via Buzzfeed

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The Apparently Kid Gets Songified

The Apparently Kid, aka Noah Ritter, recently took the net by storm when he stole the show during a news interview by rambling away in the cutest way possible, making sure to use his favorite word apparently as much as possible.

(Video Link)

Noah is cute, he uses big words, and now he’s been songified thanks to the efforts of The Gregory Brothers, the masterminds behind the classic songified hits Double Rainbow and Bed Intruder.

I would not be surprised if this song becomes the biggest hit of the summer, because it's mighty catchy!

-Via The Awesomer

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Parents Surprise Young Son With Secret "Treasure" Room

When blogger Sarah Goer and her husband purchased their home, they noted a small storage room connected to the bedroom they intended to use for their two-year-old son. Formed by a steep roof pitch next to the bedroom, the storage room was 7' by 12'. A tiny 2' by 4' door led to the small space. The couple hid the existence of the room from their son for two years, opting to place a dresser in front of the door.

The Goers decided to surprise the boy with his very own "secret treasure room" for his fourth birthday. They hired a contractor to work on the space while their son was in school. Once the contractor refinished the linoleum floor, wood paneling and exposed insulation of the storage room, Sarah Goer decorated it in a style she thought befitting of a child's secret treasure room. A treasure hunt on their son's birthday led him to the exciting discovery. Read more about his reaction and see additional pictures in this i09 article. 

Images Credit: Sarah Goer/Things I Make 

The storage room before being refinished

One view of the secret treasure room (see referring article for more)

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I Need This Parenting Multi-Tool

Charlie and Andy of How to Be a Dad have designed the ultimate parental multi-tool.

There are multi-tools and pocket knives for different purposes and lifestyles, such as outdoor survival, electrical work, bicycling, traveling--everything. It's an industry that increasingly provides specialized sets of pocket tools.

Now we have one that is perfect for parents. I'm a fan of the Daddy Juice opener. But I'm not sure of the dried food chisel. Sometimes you need explosives to blast that stuff off the table.

-via 22 Words

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11-Year Old Cancer Survivor Invents a Chemotherapy Bag

When she was 8 years old, Kylie Simonds of Naugatuck, Connecticut was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the connective tissues. She is now in remission and recovering from the ordeal. Kylie is also putting her hard experience to good use:

“I used to have to use the I-V poles and I always tripped over all the wires,” she said. “It was hard to walk around, and I always had to have someone push it for me because I was kind a weak when I was in chemo.”

Her response to this problem was to design a backpack that would carry the equipment necessary to deliver chemotherapy. She calls it the I-Pack.

Kylie's design won a prize at the Connecticut Invention Convention. She has secured a patent and is trying to raise money to put the backpack into production.

(Photos: Courage for Kylie)

(Video Link)

-via Huffington Post

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Baby's Tears Dry Up When Katy Perry Comes On

YouTube Link

It's really too bad for Dr. Spock that Katy Perry (and possibly her mom) were just sparkles in the eyes of their ancestors when he wrote his legendary baby book. Now is the golden age, with the magical knowledge that Katy Perry is the apparent answer to baby tears. Life with children will now be a relative breeze (except for people like me, who have a strict Katy Perry ban on all stereo equipment). Via Viral Viral Videos.

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Bedtime for the Twins

(YouTube link)

Henriette Jonassen has twin toddler boys. That in itself is a circus, and getting them to bed is a farce of Benny Hill proportions. In the Norwegian summer, the sun stays out late at night, and what kid wants to go to bed when it’s daylight? Jonassen says she’s tried different methods, and managed to capture video evidence of the worst one so far.

At first, I laughed, remembering how it was putting two toddlers to bed myself years ago, and then I cringed, remembering that I am babysitting grandchildren next week. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

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Last Year, Parents Named 262 American Babies "Kale"

(Photo: Connoisseur 4 the Cure)

257 were male and 5 were female. That makes it only the 827th most popular baby name, far behind the endless hordes of Noahs and Emmas. And I suppose that if you're going to name a kid after a bitter vegetable, you could do worse than Kale. For example, Asparagus and Turnip would be even worse.

But if you are determined to name your child after a food product, then Modern Farmer has a few suggestions. Oddly, Modern Farmer does not include Ice Cream Sandwich, a term that now represents resilience in the face of hardship.

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Kids’ Room Spaceship

(YouTube link)

If you recall, Jeff Highsmith built a Mission Control Desk for his older son that had all kinds of space buttons, knobs, and sound effects. What could he possibly do to follow that up? Build a spaceship, of course! Highsmith built a spacecraft in his younger son’s room that connects to the Mission Control Desk in his brother’s room.

The ship has controls that make all kinds of sounds, from Apollo mission clips to a toilet flush. The dashboard panel can even replicate sequences from Apollo missions! But that’s just the beginning: the payload bay has a robotic arm that is remotely controlled from the panel, and monitored by camera. Since they are hooked up, the spacecraft and Mission Control in the other room can experience adventures together. There’s more on the building process at Make. -Thanks, Daniel Kim!

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5-year-old Sadie Learns the Awful Truth

(YouTube link)

Sadie just learned that her little brother will eventually grow up, and won’t always be the baby he is now. That’s an overwhelming concept for her, and she’s not taking it well. I can’t say that I blame her; he’s got an adorable smile. She also doesn’t want to die, no matter how far away that is. Some things are just hard to deal with. -via Buzzfeed

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Woman Didn't Want to Take Maternity Photos, So Her Husband Did It for Her

Maternity photo shoots are a thing now. The results are often funny or sweet photos of expectant mothers showing off their baby bumps. But the pregnant wife of redditor DruishPrincess69 (Funny--he doesn't look Druish) didn't want to have a photo shoot. So he hired a photographer and did it himself. You can view the entire set here.

It looks like he's about 6 months along. That's when the back pain tends to set in. Be careful, DruishPrincess69. Don't push yourself too hard.

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Magic Numbers

(YouTube link)

Check out this amazing method for learning how to multiply! Well, it’s an amazing story for learning, specifically, what 4 x 9 is. Or maybe it’s not so much amazing as it is baffling.

Darren Michalczuk’s YouTube channel The Brick School has several videos along this line. They are a few years old, but Michalczuk continues to push his learning method at his website Brain Magic. You can even buy apps to teach your child this method! Michalczuk has written quite a few education articles about the magic of learning that are as incomprehensible as the Magic Numbers series.

Of course it’s satire, but it’s played so straight across the web for so many years that it’s a masterful feat. You have to wonder if anyone ever took it seriously. My guess is that it would be easy to take it seriously if you just read the ads for the apps. The articles, well, someone with less-than-stellar critical thinking skills might swallow them whole, but the videos area real WTF moment. -via Digg

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Brilliant Pediatrician Knows How to Make a Toddler Laugh While Getting Shots

(Video Link)

Dr. Michael Darden is a highly trained pediatrician and allergist. But he's more than just a man of science. He also has a gifted bedside manner. Here he is in his D.C.-area clinic giving two shots to a toddler. This would normally cause a young child to howl in pain. But Dr. Darden is so entertaining that instead the little boy laughs.

(Video Link)

Here's another interesting video. It's an interview with Dr. Darden. At the 5:10 mark, he shares a fascinating story. When he was still in high school, he worked in a hospital. At the age of about 16 or 17, he had the opportunity to observe an autopsy. The body was that of someone that he knew well. It was, for Dr. Darden, an early encounter with the mysterious boundary between life and death.

-via Huffington Post

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3-year-old Drummer Plays with Orchestra

(YouTube link)

Russian drummer Lyonya Shilovsky is three years old, but he’s already a pro! Watch him play drums with the Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra. The song is Jacques Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld,” which most of just call “The Can-Can.” Lyonya only loses the beat twice: when he drops his sticks, and when his father interupts him to pose for a picture. How does that compare to your concentration when you were three years old? -via Daily Picks and Flicks

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Safe Baby Pregnancy Tips

Married couple David and Kelly Sopp (previously at Neatorama) wrote a book full of comic advice they call "Safe Baby Pregnancy Tips." The book, perfect for expectant parents, is a lighthearted look at a time when couples (particularly mothers-to-be) are often overwhelmed by solicited and not-so-solicited bits of advice on pregnancy and child rearing. See more at Trend Hunter.

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8-year-old Takes Disabled Brother on Triathlon

Noah and Lucas Aldrich are inseparable brothers. Lucas was born with the brain disorder lissencephaly, which affects his growth and development. Lucas does not walk or talk, but thanks to his parents and brother, he gets to do a lot of things able-bodied kids do. Eight-year-old Noah recently entered a youth triathlon, and he took Lucas along. He pulled him on a bicycle, towed him while swimming, and pushed him while running. Sing it with me now: “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” See more pictures of Noah and Lucas at Buzzfeed.

(Image credit: Lucas House at Facebook)

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6-Year Old Limbo Skates under 39 Cars

When he was 3 years old, Gagan Satish's parents gave him a pair of roller skates. He showed remarkable proficiency with them. They approached a professional skating trainer and asked for his help. Soon Gagan was mastering the art of limbo skating. That's skating very low to the ground.

Gagan can split so far that he can skate while rising no higher than 7 inches off the ground. Recently, Gagan, now 6 years old, tried to break a Guinness World Record for limbo skating under cars. He skated under 39 cars for a total of about 230 feet in 29.8 seconds!

Guinness has yet to confirm his new record, but it appears to break the current record of 158 feet.

(Video Link)

-via Gizmodo

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Visiting the Home of Safety

(YouTube link)

Chris Grava did a semester abroad at Cape Town University in South Africa. When his term was almost up, his brother Nick went there to spend two weeks. Nick ended up staying permanently to work at the Home of Safety in Khayelitsha, a foster home for orphans and vulnerable children, where he is now managing director. Chris and his parents visit when they can, and when Chris recently went for a visit, he was wearing his GoPro camera. The joy on the kids’ faces at seeing their old friend is a treat, and pretty soon the youngsters had to try out the camera for themselves. Learn more about Nick Grava’s work in South Africa at Intsikelelo. -via reddit

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The Power of Love

(YouTube link)

You know how they make video ads in Thailand, so go ahead and get your hanky ready. This one won’t tear your heart out over someone’s horrible plight, though -it’s a simple vignette featuring an adorable baby and his/her parents. And even though it’s from a mobile phone company, the tag line is killer. -via Boing Boing

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Ten-Year-Old Girl Left A Scathing Review Of Cinderella Themed Restaurant

(Image Via Orlando-Florida.net)

Contrary to popular belief, not every young girl is obsessed with Disney princesses, some have moved on to more mature interests, like fine dining and world travel, and these girls simply aren’t impressed by Disney royalty.

One such unimpressed ten-year-old left a scathing one star review on TripAdvisor after visiting Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant in Walt Disney World because she wasn’t there to get a pic with Cinderella and Prince Charming- she was there for the “highly recommended” menu.

(Image Via Brasil VIP)

She was appalled when the Prince and Princess insisted on a photo, mortified when the waiter tried to hand her a kid’s menu full of chicken nugget level fare, and downright irate when her dinner arrived “cold and relatively tasteless”.

And here’s how she felt about the clientele and staff:

"Let it be said that the entire time we spent there, [there] were little children running around screaming and yelling, chasing the princesses, and hitting each other with the little plastic wands."

"the experience was not what was expected and was a complete madhouse with a lackluster staff. Save your money and go to basically anywhere else in WDW."

Don't get on that little girl's bad side Disney, or Mickey Mouse is next!

-Via Grubstreet

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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Tech Fails - Twaggies by Twaggies

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