Looking for positive methods to discipline your child? Learn how do Japanese discipline children to help your child grow into a kind, disciplined and mature being.
Japanese children are without doubt the most well behaved and disciplined children you can ever see. If you’ve always wondered how the children, regardless of age, manage to stay calm in the midst of so much distraction, you’re not alone.
I have done quite a bit of research to understand how the Japanese discipline their children, so read on to find out:
There is never a “one size fits all” when it comes to child discipline. It varies depending on the values of the family, the temperaments of the parents, the temperament of the child and the situation as well.
There are however certain things that most Japanese parents seem to follow when it comes to ensuring that their children are well behaved.
The Japanese do have the reputation of being very strict when it comes to disciplining their children, but not everybody lives by the stereotype.
Times are changing and modern parents are adopting methods that are the best of traditional and modern rules.
Here’s everything you should know about how do Japanese discipline children!
How Do Japanese Discipline Children
Learn the Art of Shitsuke
The Japanese word for discipline is “Shitsuke”. Roughly translated, it means, to prepare for something in advance.
The Japanese believe that children have to be corrected and taught discipline and manners right from the time they are very young, because as they grow older it becomes harder to train a child to behave a certain way.
Every little thing they do contributes to how they groom and discipline their children.
While the rest of the world stresses out on the behaviour of their children in public, it might seem to a newbie in Japan or a tourist that the Japanese actually don’t seem to be bothered much, even if their child throws a tantrum.
As with children anywhere in the world, you will come across a few who won’t be perfectly well behaved and have a moment or two of tantrum throwing.
In the West, it’s a common practice to see a parent immediately say something to the child to get them under control or to even scold them in public.
However, Japanese parents ride out the tantrum without so much as blinking an eye or showing an emotion on their faces. I later discovered that the children do get corrected, but only in private.
The Japanese Correct Their Children In Private, Not In Public
Their child, no matter how old, might be throwing a major tantrum in a park or a mall or any public place, for that matter. Notice how the parents stay quiet or go about their conversation without being concerned about the child.
They are not exactly ignoring the child, though it might seem so to a third person. The parents will take the first opportunity they get to privacy and use it to speak or scold their child for the behaviour.
I think this is fantastic because though the child’s behaviour is corrected, the pride of the child is not hurt.
Children, even ones as young as just a year old, have their pride and ego, and hurting this or damaging this in public will have adverse effects on their self esteem when they grow up.
These children often grow up with traumatised emotions, similar to physical abuse.
By correcting or even scolding the child in private, Japanese parents are not only addressing the behaviour of the child, but are also nurturing a secure child who will grow up to be a self confident adult.
Related: Best Japanese Baby Gifts to Buy!
Children Learn To Empathise From The Time They Are Young
This correction of their children in private teaches Japanese children another important quality – Empathy.
Japanese children learn to respect others the way they have been respected from the time they were young and learn to empathise as well. It is also quite common to see Japanese parents instill the ideas that things and people feel pain when it is inflicted on them.
For example, rather than asking a child to stop tearing a book, the parents might tell the child that the book feels pain and that’s why they need to stop hurting it.
This, again, routes back to learning to empathise right from the beginning.
Don’t Punish The Child, Punish The Behavior
Oftentimes, parents get emotional and punish the child. They give the child consequences but if you give this a little deeper thought, it’s because the parents have been embarrassed in public and want the child to “obey” them.
What actually works better is if the child understands that there are consequences to their behaviour, and for that, the behaviour has to be punished, not the child.
The Japanese understand this well and this simple formula is what they follow when it comes to discipling their children.
Related: Here are the best Japanese High Schools That Accept Foreign Students!
Forming Attachments When The Child Is Very Young
The Western school of thought involves parents encouraging independence in their children, and they begin this almost as soon as a baby is born. In many cultures and countries, babies have their own room while the parents have their own.
The Japanese differ when it comes to this. It is quite a common sight to see Japanese mothers walking around and going about their work with their child close to their body, using a sling.
Don’t be surprised if you get to know that the child sleeps with the mother in the same bed and they bathe together as well. Mothers also fuss a lot over the babies and toddlers, at least until the child is capable of understanding and voicing out his or her needs.
This helps the child form a strong attachment and bond with the mother and building these solid attachments is carried on at least until the age of 4 or 5.
Children become more emotionally secure, happy and have a trusting relationship with their parents. It is always easier to correct a child’s behaviour and to discipline them when such a bond is formed with the child.
Children also try to stay in line most of the time as they don’t want to disappoint their parents.
Family Comes First
Family and attachments are most important to the Japanese and children until the age of 3 or 4 years spend a lot of time with extended family.
While extended family (grandparents, uncles, aunts, older cousins) may not necessarily babysit the young child, they do play a role in teaching them good behaviour, role modeling respect for elders and disciplining them when necessary.
Parents of the child are more than happy when other adults in the family correct wrong behaviour as being disciplined is of utmost priority and a matter of pride to the parents.
The Culture Of Authority & Self Control
The Japanese in general, have the culture of authority and respect in their society. The older people are always respected and obeyed, and this culture is imbibed even in the children.
This is another reason why when there are many adults around, it is quite common to see children very well behaved. They also immediately drop whatever they are doing to listen to the adults who address them.
The culture of the Japanese also involves self control. It is a rare sight to witness Japanese adults behaving inappropriately in public. This is again something that is passed down to their children, and is part of the respect they pay to the people around them.
These are behaviours that are role modeled by the children’s parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts as well everybody else they come across in their lives. Watching this behaviour of the adults helps children follow it too, either consciously or subconsciously.
Discipling Japanese Children Is Carried Out In Schools As Well
As the children grow up, they are sent to schools, and as is the case with schools across the world, Japanese children also spend a majority of their waking hours with their teachers and classmates.
Japanese students also involve themselves in a lot of extra curricular activities and join clubs at school, which means they sometimes spend even part of their weekends at school.
Therefore schools and teachers play a very important role in disciplining children and conditioning their behaviour.
Japan is one of those countries that has banned spanking or hitting the children and children’s behaviour is only managed verbally. So the teachers in the schools role model good behaviour that the children are constantly watching, and they correct wrong behaviour without insulting or hurting the pride of the children.
Schools also follow the same culture of authority and self control that the children experience when they are at home or out with their parents.
This consistency reinforces good behaviour and discipline in the children.
Teach Kids to Clean Up After Themselves
Japanese children are taught to clean up after themselves, both at home as well as at school.
Many schools in the West have janitors or cleaners who clean the classrooms after the children have left for the day, but in Japan, in most schools, the children have the responsibility of cleaning their classrooms.
This teaches them responsibility and they grow to have respect for their surroundings.
Hiya! I’m the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You’ll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!