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Traditional Japanese Child Rearing Techniques

author image Debra Pachucki
Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.
Traditional Japanese Child Rearing Techniques
Japanese mother feeds her daughter with chopsticks. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Japanese generally think of children as innately innocent and virtuous, and they see the outside world as the only element that causes youngsters to stray from their nature, according to a 2004 University of California-Riverside study. The Japanese have historically approached parenting as one would care for a plant that requires careful nurturing, training and pruning for it to grow.

Teaching Dependency

Japanese child-rearing techniques are fundamentally based on notions of children’s dependency on the mother. As noted in an article titled "Discipline in Early Childhood," a cross-cultural scholarly examination of child rearing practices published by the Kansas Association for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health, Japanese parents traditionally approach child rearing as carrying out basic tasks for them as opposed to teaching children to be autonomous and independent. In the U.S., for example, a mother might encourage her youngster to dress himself, pack his lunch by himself or choose his own play things. But in Japan, parents handle those and many other tasks and responsibilities for the child, even into adolescence. Japanese moms will determine the education, hobbies, and even career paths that their children will develop and pursue. From that child-rearing technique, Japanese children learn to diligently obey and rely upon their parents’ guidance and direction, according to scholars at Southern Utah University.

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Intimate Parenting

In Japan, parenting and intimacy go hand-in-hand. From birth, mothers establish an intimate bond with their babies and continue to reinforce that connection throughout childhood. According to the Kansas Association for Infant & and Early Childhood Mental Health, the Japanese mother’s ultimate goal traditionally has been to establish a relationship with her child wherein mother and child share the same mentality, as opposed to having two separate minds. Developing this extreme closeness is preferable to modeling, negotiation and disciplinary techniques when it comes to raising children with social and moral values in Japan. It is tradition for Japanese moms to rely on the intimate bond they’ve established with their children instead of punishment or other forceful methods to persuade and obligate youngsters to behave appropriately.

Feeling Parenting and Nest Building Techniques

Feeling parenting and nest building are two common techniques for practicing dependency and reinforcing intimacy in Japanese families. According to a 2008 survey of the parenting styles of modern Japanese women, parents who implement those approaches spend most time at home with their children and carefully plan and monitor their youngster’s communication, nutrition, education, recreational activities and even fashion styles. Children remain at home for most of the day and are taught to communicate frequently, honestly and exclusively with their mothers. Mom’s role is to be extremely careful and selective when making exclusive decisions about where children go, what they will eat, what activities they engage in and what they will wear. These techniques reinforce intimacy and reliance upon parents.

Rational Parenting Techniques

Rational parenting is another steadfast Japanese parenting child-rearing technique. As noted in a 2008 survey by the Japanese media company Hakuhodo, Japanese parenting integrates outside parenting approaches and practices from a range of resources. Japanese moms who practice rational parenting techniques frequently consult an array of family members, friends, behavioral professionals and educators when making decisions for their children. The difference between this child-rearing technique and other traditional parenting approaches is that rational parenting relies heavily on external sources, while feeling parenting and nest-building techniques rely exclusively on mom’s wisdom and authority.

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