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My family moved from the US to Argentina. Kids make the rules here, and I feel much more supported, even by strangers.

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  • I love raising my American kids in Argentina because there aren’t as many rules for them.
  • Kids keep themselves occupied and have more independence.
  • Kids are fully integrated into society, which means parents have more support, too.

My family and I were on the last leg of an exhausting trip between New York and Salta, Argentina. I was bone-tired but couldn’t sleep, because the kid behind me kept kicking the back of my seat.

He wasn’t just kicking. The two strangers holding him had allowed him to pull out the tray table, and he was bouncing up and down on it. Occasionally, small chubby fingers reached forward and grabbed tiny strands of my hair. It hurt.

This 18-month-old baby was doing literally the worst thing any child can do on a flight, but I couldn’t be mad. After all, he was my youngest kid, Charlie.

As we were waiting for our flight in Buenos Aires, we struck up a conversation with a couple sitting beside us. They talked about their grandkids, and when they heard we’d been traveling for 40 hours and that Charlie had just woken up from a long night’s sleep, they offered to watch him. Listo, we had borrowed grandparents for the rest of our trip.

This is one of the things I love most about Argentina. Kids have a central role in our lives, and the adults have an abundance of patience for them, a stark contrast compared to kids in the US.

In Argentina, kids join us in restaurants, where they run around and play whether or not they know each other. They celebrate with us at midnight on New Year’s Eve as we watch fireworks and send flaming lanterns into the sky. Their only goal is to be silly and enjoy life, which in turn allows us, parents, to enjoy life more, too. 

Argentines expect kids to take up space

Almost every weekend, we get together with other families for asado, an Argentina barbecue. The adults cook, eat, and then sit chatting over bottles of wine and beer. I don’t really know where the kids are most of the time, to be honest. They appear at the table when hungry or thirsty. We give them what they want and off they go again to play.

People in Argentina expect kids to run around, make noise, and take up space, so hardly anyone is ever bothered. You don’t see as many kids here zoned out on an iPad during family dinner, which is something we do far more often than when we’re in the US.

I feel like my kids have more attention and cariños than they did when I lived in New York, because I have parenting support from the people around me, even from complete strangers.

Parenting in the US can be lonely

My older child, Lila, was born in Brooklyn, where our upstairs neighbor had 15-month-old twins. The neighbor once told me how it was “such a shame our kids weren’t the same age, otherwise, they could play.” So there we were, two moms with young children, living one floor apart, and we never hung out. It’s such an isolating way to be a mom. 

Here, there’s a culture of caring for kids — not just by adults, but older kids taking responsibility for younger ones. When Charlie was a baby, I watched him crawl after the others. Now that he’s 7, he makes sure the little ones keep up with the rest. When disagreements pop up, our kids generally resolve them on their own. 

The pandemic clinched it for me. Parents, teachers, and school administrators understood that we had to focus on family life. Learning would come later. Releasing that pressure made it easier to put our kids’ — and our — well-being first. 

Courtesy By INSIDER

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