Child upbringing is not a genius art but a practice of guardianship and mentoring which is directly influenced by the society. Just as a Western society would applaud handshake as an ethical greeting gesture between olds and youngsters, the Japanese society would chastise the gesture, and both scenarios would still be regarded as normal. Hence, there is no single means to positive child upbringing as society dictates a larger part of rights and wrongs. In summary, as per parenting, the dictates and ethical conducts a society marks popular should not only be viewed as suitable and limited to that society, rather, it should be researched, harnessed and exploited to fish out its positive impacts on child upbringing. Resultant from this, we have picked a handful of positive parenting points practiced by one of the world’s oldest civilization; the Persians. Let’s have a peep!
Praising kids in front of visitors
It is not impossible that this practice is a bye product of the Iranian ‘taroof’ system (taroof: an ethical culture of trying to please one another by hiding the real intent and interest).
Read more on taarof : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taarof
As popular as this practice is to the people, it can seem so unreasonable and annoying to an average immigrant. Yet, I have discovered the positive effect of the practice of praising children in front of guests. Well, for one, nobody (kids inclusive) likes his honor being stained in public. An Iranian parent would say for instance: “Zahra is very obedient, she wouldn’t do anything to upset mummy.” The unsolicited information is usually communicated to the visitor in the presence of the girl. In reality, the girl might be a trouble maker especially when overstimulated at gatherings. But the praise serves as a cautionary measure to put her in check.
When children are defined and robed in good portrait, praised for their brilliancy and skills or qualified in exalting terms, the visitor is likely to commend them. That commendation means a lot to them. Such children tend to protect their images by playing on the side of caution, being more mannerly while trying not to refute their parent’s remarks. Now that’s a better tactic than fagging out your energy on a “you better behave yourself” that is forgotten as soon as heard.
Leisure to the rescue
Iranian parents are used to taking advantage of parks, amusement centers and natural touristic environments like forests, beaches, mountain tops and hills to wear off their children’s boredom. I know a couple of Iranian parents who would blame their children’s tantrums and naughtiness on boredom and consequently take them on sight-seeing or to the playground. Actually, this is better than letting the kids make you loose control. What’s more? The kids usually retire to bed or go into a relaxation mood after returning as they would have used up their energy running and playing around.
She called you ‘‘jan” or “joon” so much that people actually thought your name was John or June. _ Minou Clarke: 31 signs you grew up with a Persian mum.
Though that expression was meant to be funny but it is a reality for many Iranian kids. Both Jan (pronounced John) or Joon (pronounced June) in the Persian language means life. Most commonly used is Janam or Joonam meaning my life). Not only parents, but teachers, relatives and neighbors are so used to attaching endearing terms like Joon, Agha Pesar (similar to the English use of ‘Master’ as an appellation for boys), Azeez (meaning: ‘Dear’) to kids’ names that one would have thought that it was their real names.
The positive side to this act is enormous but we’ll make do with two. Firstly, it gives a feeling of being loved and respected to the children. Imagine being told that you are a dear each time your name is mentioned. Secondly, it imbibes love, compassion and respect for others in the hearts of the kids. More than twice, I have heard my child’s mate refer to him as Agha Pesar Seyyid! And it was so endearing.
Sons are salts, daughters are sweet.
To appreciate the point here, you may need to put aside the erstwhile information you’ve heard concerning forced/underage marriages, child trafficking and all sorts of child abuse in Iran. This happens almost everywhere and almost every time. Our focus here is on the positives, so? Let’s read on.
In recent times, Iranian parents, especially those living metropolitan lifestyles express more value and adoration for their children. Boys as well as girls are cherished and cared for as evident from the expensive toys and gadgets bought for them, proper education, lavish vacations and parties planned for them. More recently, owing to the government encouragement and support for family planning, an increasing percentage of parents’ population birth not more than 3 children.
It is possible that the decrease in the number of children per household has positively affected the love and care for children irrespective of their sexes. Also, owing to the rights, privileges and recognition the constitution accords women, the Iranian society is fast leaving behind the idea of male child favoritism as common in most societies. Resulting from this, there is an increase in the appreciation, care and honor of the girl-child as compared to the old times.
The positive side to this is that not only parents, but children too have learned to accord mutual respect to one another irrespective of their gender.
A great percentage of Persian kids are often subjected to loving corrections rather than outright punishment. You will hear an Iranian mother correct her warring son in this manner;
Arya Dear! I know you were angry, but it wasn’t right to strike your brother, will you make up with him with a kiss or an “excuse me”?
I swear if someone would adorn my name with the ‘dear’ prefix before correcting me, I would be more heeding (Lol). These kinds of corrections make the children tender hearted and more willing to be corrected. Oftentimes, the icing on the cake of these corrections is that children, after being subjected to discipline are reassured with the expression duset daram juunam (I love you my Life!). Isn’t that awesome?
Snacking on vegs and making herbs into flavors.
Whether by design or by intent, Iranian people relish vegetables and other consumables derived from plants. They would munch on bread and a number of raw leafy greens called sabzi khordani (I translate this as ‘eatable greens’) as the first course of a feast. Saffron, cinnamon, ginger and dried peppermint leaves, rosemary, thyme and other spices and herbs are used in flavoring ice creams, teas, salads, soups and snacks. A special delicacy at almost every dinning is the pickled veggie (a sour tasting preparation of different vegetables, herbs and spices soaked in vinegar).
What would astonish a foreigner is the way and manner the Persian children would eat these vegetables prepared in different tastes and flavors. There sure is something to learn from the Persian women as regards how they make their children eat these veggies when we are struggling to make ours eat simple ugwu. The secret is not far fetched; it is the parents vegetable oriented cuisine that does the trick. So? If you’re looking for a way to make your kids eat those greens, embarking on a vegetable-does-it-all revolution just like the Iranian mothers may be the surest bet.
It is a sin
The Persian people of today have evolved from and survived different episodes of civilizations, sanctions and historical events which could have wiped out another race’s existence. Maybe as a result of their historical experiences, they have devised a beautiful culture of honoring foods by never allowing them to waste. Bread; the people’s staple food is not considered spoilt on the second, third and even fourth day after production just as spoilt foods are accorded a separate dump away from the dustbin and gathered for other meaningful uses. I don’t mean to say that there’s a 100% mechanism to prevent food wastage. But when you consider the fact that their cooked rice always comes out in a complete whole from the pot and the brownie scorched part of the food is demanded by, served to and enjoyed by every eater, then you know they have sure passed our own jollof rice must burn mentality. The specially prepared golden crust of food at the base of the pot is called tahdig (scorched rice) and is the most creative method of avoiding food burns and wastage.
Here’s a takeaway! If you are bent on preventing your kids from wasting their foods, just tell them it is a sin. In Persian, gunna dareh means: it is a sin (in this case, it is a sin to waste foods) popular among the Persians is a nice way of controlling wastage.
Etiquettes: A priority
One of the unique ways Iranian parents upbring their children is instilling customary ethics and practices in them from a very tender age. Children are taught to greet visitors, friends and relatives with the three kisses, the taarof culture is inscribed in their manners as soon as they learn to relate with people, children of guests are obliged to help the host do the dishes and clean the house after a feast, goodbyes and welcoming formalities are not to be hastily done and so on. Little wonder why feasting and dinner invitations is popular among the Persians.
I consider the ‘it is a sin’ point as a tactic I should urgently imbibe in my home. Which of the points do you think you really need to adopt in your parenting tactics?