6 Foreign Parenting Practices Americans Would Call Neglect

#3. Vietnamese Moms Train Their Babies to Pee on Command

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Unless you've tried to figure out what to do with a pair of poop-filled Underoos in an Olive Garden bathroom, don't assume you know the first thing about potty-training toddlers. It's hard and messy and you will touch another human's fecal matter at some point. Which is why we're both fascinated and horrified by the Vietnamese method of getting kids to pee on the toilet -- by treating their kids like one of Pavlov's dogs, only with whistles instead of bells.

Here's how: As soon as Vietnamese babies are born, their moms give a special whistle every time they notice their newborns urinate, which can be up to 12 times a day if they're paying attention. So walking in a Vietnamese newborn nursery must be like walking through an aviary at sunrise.

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Without the blankets, the nurses make them do that Coke/Mentos fountain thing.

Here's where things get a little weird. In the same way that the famous doctor Ivan Pavlov trained his dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell, Vietnamese moms train their babies to piss at the sound of their whistle -- and it works.

By the age of 3 months, the moms hold their kids over toilets, give a little whistle, and their kids urinate on command, like magic. By 9 months, they're done with diapers altogether, like some kind of goddamn pee prodigies. By contrast, it takes American kids two and a half years or longer to shake the diaper habit. So if you ever want to have some fun in Vietnam, whistle at kids on the street and find out what happens.

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Actually, don't. Forget we ever said that.

#2. Some Chinese Moms Abandon Their Newborns for a Month

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Right after you give birth, you've got a dilemma on your hands. On one hand, you might feel some level of affection for your baby, encouraging you to spend time with your newborn. On the other, pregnancy was hard, you want to relax, and the baby kind of gets in the way of that. So what's the solution?

Try zuo yuezi, the Chinese practice that lets new moms recuperate from the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth sans their new baby -- for a whole month or longer. Traditionally, new Chinese moms spend the month after birth confined in their homes following a prescribed set of dietary and hygiene rules to get back to their old selves. No showers or teeth brushing so you don't let extra water or bad wind into your already loose skin folds. "Cold" foods like fruits and vegetables are avoided and "hot" protein-rich foods are encouraged.

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"Wait, what?"

Moms are ordered to avoid housework, sex (that one makes sense), and leaving the house during their confinement, so relatives take on the more stressful duties associated with taking care of a newborn. Soooo, house arrest, but with a screaming baby.

That's the traditional version of zuo yuezi, but today's woman has a few more options, like checking into a resort that pampers you for weeks on end while your baby is tucked away safely out of sight. The moms who patronize these new confinement facilities can chill out, watch TV, enjoy the spa, and eat specially prescribed food from a cart brought to their rooms, all while their brand-new babies are cared for by nurses down the hall.

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In a month, boobs are going to be so confusing.

While the old-fashioned version of zuo yuezi recommends breastfeeding to bond with the baby and get the mom's body back to normal, modern resorts are totally "whatever" on the breastfeeding front. During your time at the luxury confinement center, you can bond with your baby, or not, and just watch the tyke remotely on your TV monitor. Totally your choice. There's no such thing as sleepless nights for these new moms. And at the price of $330 a day, you can bet your ass the moms are taking advantage of every amenity they can get their hands on. Can you blame them?

#1. Kenyan Mothers Refuse Eye Contact With Their Babies

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No one really has to tell you to try to make eye contact with your baby. You just want to. For one thing, you need to make sure he or she doesn't have the mailman's eyes, then you just want to bond with your child. It's as natural an instinct as screwing the mailman.

The Gusii people of Kenya feel differently about bonding with their babies. In fact, Gusii moms actively turn their gaze away when they see their children trying to connect with them. Their reasoning kind of makes sense when you look at their culture.

Via Fectokenya.org
Where badass dudes drink their beer right out of kettles. Nope, not a joke.

In the Western world, avoiding eye contact looks like guilt or shyness. In the Gusii world, eye contact has power, and there are very strict rules about who you look at. And when it comes to kids, you don't want to give more power to them than they already have. For Gusii moms, their babies are already demanding their time, their attention, and their boobs, which is a lot of energy in a culture that needs the mom's labor. Giving babies the ultimate sign of respect -- eye contact -- is like saying "You're in charge." And babies clearly aren't in charge. They're babies. No one who poops on himself should be in charge.

Here's where the Gusii eye contact thing almost makes sense: Researchers have discovered that Gusii kids are conditioned to not seek attention from others when compared to kids from other cultures. That's something to remember the next time you're around a gaggle of American teenagers vying for the most eyes they can get. Twerking.


Yosomono writes for Tokyo's English blog, Gaijinass.com. Support their quest to reverse Japan's lack of babies by liking their Facebook page. Ryan Menezes is a writer and layout editor here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter.

Related Reading: Parenting actually gets worse than this. There's a man at Georgetown university who refuses to speak to his son in anything but Klingon. And that sounds downright rational next to teaching kids how to use stripper poles. For the flipside of all these careless parenting shenanigans, read this article!

If you're looking for a way to raise your kids right, wearing a Teddy Roosevelt shirt in front of him couldn't hurt.

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