Unveiling the Treasured Japanese Maternal Wisdom: Nurturing Obedient, Astute, and Quick-Witted Children

In this article, we will reveal the secrets behind a Japanese mother named Hideko's success in raising two exceptionally well-behaved, intelligent, and quick-witted daughters. We will delve into the seven time-honored parenting techniques that have been passed down through generations, empowering Hideko to nurture her daughters' growth and development. These proven methods offer valuable insights into effective parenting, fostering a positive and nurturing environment that allows children to thrive and reach their full potential.


1. Teach Them to Share, Be Patient, and Problem Solve

Hideko would often buy only one popsicle for her two children. They would inevitably argue over who would hold it, eat it first, or have the bigger bite. Hideko would not intervene, silently observing until one of them became too out of hand.

When they went to restaurants, she would also order only one dish, whether it was a hamburger, steak, or a piece of pudding. She applied the same principle to toys.

Some may question this approach, calling Hideko stingy. Why make her children fight over things? Wouldn’t it be easier to just keep them happy?

Hideko could easily afford to buy multiple popsicles or order several dishes. Material possessions are abundant in this day and age, but not everything in the world is always readily available to us.

When people want something that is in limited supply, how should they handle it? Is throwing a tantrum effective? Although children are treated with equality and respect at home or school, opportunities to share are often rare. Therefore, Hideko intentionally created a slightly deprived environment to help them learn to share, be patient, and figure out how to solve problems on their own.

Japanese mom shares “valuable family secret” to raising 2 well-behaved, intelligent, and quick-witted daughters. (Illustrative image)

2. Allow Them to Fight: Understand Society’s Fairness Through Struggle

Besides food, toys, and seating arrangements, children also need to learn how to compete for other things, such as their mother. For example, who gets to sleep on the left side of Mom tonight and who gets the right side? Even though both sides are the same, they must still compete.

Sometimes they could not reach an agreement and would resort to fighting, with one crying hysterically while the other refused to stop. Hideko usually did not intervene and did not force the older sibling to give in to the younger one.

Parents may enforce equality at home, but there is no perfect equality in society or at school. From a young age, we should allow our children to discover their strengths and weaknesses and to find their own places in their small social circles. Teach them to abide by the rules of society, even the unwritten ones. If they are not happy with the rules, they can try to change them.

3. They Can Skip Meals but Not Lose Focus: Don’t Damage Their Concentration

Nurturing children’s reading habits is essential. The house might be neat and tidy, but books can be scattered around within reach of the children.

When they find a topic that interests them, they will naturally want to read more about it. Do not call them to dinner when they are engrossed in a book. It will break their concentration on the material.

Skipping one meal is not a big deal, but if their concentration is broken repeatedly, they will never develop the ability to focus.

When children are reading, do not ask them questions like, “What are you reading, honey?” Your concern can become a hindrance to their ability to concentrate, and then later you might complain that they can’t sit still or focus on their reading.

4. Let Children Love Dogs as Family Members: Learn to Cherish Life

Hideko’s family had a dog, two goldfish, two grasshoppers, and ten tadpoles. They kept animals not just for the children to play with or simply to observe, but also to teach them to value all life.

Her six-year-old daughter was responsible for feeding the dog and grasshoppers, cleaning their living spaces, and walking the dog (including picking up its poop). The four-year-old was responsible for taking care of the fish.

When they were first brought home from the hospital as newborns, the first thing they did was meet the family dog. They were told that it was a member of the family and that they must love one another.

If the children were being noisy, the dog would bark a few times as a warning. The sisters would then tell each other, “He’s mad. Let’s quiet down.”

5. Make Them Do Chores: Learn to Help Others

Do not think that young children are incapable of taking care of themselves or helping others. All children have a sincere desire to help people. As adults, we need to know how to foster this desire.

To us, these tasks may seem insignificant, but for children, they are major accomplishments that build their confidence. Most importantly, they promote children’s physical and mental development, making it easier for them to enter society.

6. Teach Them “Thank You” and “Excuse Me”: Avoid Being Mocked by Society in the Future

Some may find Japanese etiquette to be overly complex and fussy, yet those who have experienced its benefits do not feel that way. Children who are kind and diligent with others are bound to have bright futures.

Children who do not know how to apologize tend to blame others, which will lead to a difficult life. It is not enough to simply feel grateful or apologetic. We must encourage our children to express those emotions verbally and through their actions.

7. Encourage Them to Take Risks and Face Challenges: Learn to Deal with Pain, Hardships, and Setbacks

Children who are prone to taking risks and facing challenges tend to have higher IQs and are always trying to do things, even if their parents forbid them. Overcoming challenges can help them mature. Overly harsh criticism can stifle their natural potential.

Even if you know that something is dangerous, if your child wants to do it, allow them to try within reason. Parents must also learn to…

Frequently asked questions

Hideko allows her children to compete for various things, including their mother’s attention. She doesn’t enforce equality in all aspects, recognizing that society and school won’t always be equal. By letting them discover their strengths and find their place in their social circles, she teaches them to abide by societal rules and strive to change them if they’re unfair.

Hideko ensures that books are easily accessible to her children and doesn’t interrupt their reading by calling them for dinner when they’re engrossed. She understands that skipping a meal is better than breaking their concentration. She also avoids asking questions while they’re reading, as she believes that such interruptions can hinder their ability to focus.

Hideko’s family has various pets, including a dog, goldfish, grasshoppers, and tadpoles. Her children are responsible for feeding, cleaning, and walking the dog. They are taught to view the dog as a family member and to love and care for all life. This approach helps them develop a sense of responsibility and learn to cherish life.

Hideko believes that young children are capable of taking care of themselves and helping others. She assigns age-appropriate chores to her children, understanding that these tasks build their confidence and promote physical and mental development. By fostering a desire to help, she teaches them the importance of contributing to the family and society.

Hideko wants her children to express gratitude and apologize when necessary. She believes that children who don’t know how to apologize tend to blame others, leading to a challenging life. By teaching them manners like “Thank You” and “Excuse Me,” she hopes to prevent them from being mocked by society and ensure they have bright futures.

Hideko allows her children to take reasonable risks and face challenges, even if she deems them dangerous. She understands that overcoming challenges aids in their maturity and doesn’t want to stifle their potential with harsh criticism. She encourages them to deal with pain, hardships, and setbacks, fostering a resilient mindset.
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