Are you more like a Mexican, Russian or UK mum?

How much of a tiger mum are you? Is it more important for your child to be kind or to be honest? Mums across the globe have different attitudes…

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Kind, respectful or self-assured – which of these traits is most important to you when it comes to your child? It’s likely to be kindness for UK mums, whereas respect and self-assurance are higher for Mexican and Russian mums. And Russian mums rate athleticism highly, whereas in the UK, we believe individuality is more important. 

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These are the findings of a remarkable new study from Fisher-Price, the toy and nursery company who are industry leaders in early childhood development. For this study, 3,500 mums from 7 different countries were questioned.

The results were announced at Fisher-Price’s Early Development Forum in New York, which featured performer and child charity supporter Shakira plus a panel of mums and experts from France, China, Mexico and USA. 

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Shakira admits she’s a tiger mum

Columbian mum-of-two Shakira admitted at the conference that she was a tiger mum, “pushing my children to fulfil their potential”. And agreeing emphatically with her was panellist Martha Debayle, a Mexican author, who added, “Latin American mums are absolutely tiger mums.”

The survey suggested a similar story. While around half of the mums quizzed agreed that it was important to push children to reach milestones quickly and [here’s the biggie] before others, that number was an astonishing 97% of Mexican and 95% of Brazilian mums.

And the number 1 trait

As well as the differences, there are some big similarities. Across the globe, the top character trait that mums want for their children is… happiness. Everywhere that is, except Brazil – where honesty, respect for parents and elders and politeness, sit a little higher.

And of course, love

“Love is the most crucial thing,” Shakira echoes what mums in each country said. “I ask myself everyday, ‘Am I making my kids feel loved?’” she admits. “And play is crucial too. Play is how a child understands how the world works.”

The key thing that all the experts agreed on is that in those early years, the best (and natural) way for parents to help their children develop is to give them a happy, supportive environment in which to learn and grow.

All summed up rather niftily as EQ + IQ = healthy development. 

So which global mum are you most like?

Mexican mums

Rate highly in their children:

  • Self-assurance
  • Tenacity and perseverance
  • Success

Describe their children as: Intelligent, beautiful and loving

61% of Mexican mums agree that intelligence is an important trait for a child to achieve in life, while the next highest was Chinese mums – at only 40%

“In Latin America, we’re obsessed with education and giving our children the best,” says Mexican commentator Martha.  “We don’t have a great education system and we’re very aware that our children in 10-15 years will be part of a very competitive world, competing with Koreans, Finns and Americans. So we want to give our children a competitive advantage.”

Russian mums

Rate highly in their children:

  • Respect for parents and elders
  • Having a family of their own
  • Physical activity and athleticism

Describe their children as: Smart, cheerful and beautiful

57% of Russian mums agree that they have a natural instinct for parenting

UK mums

Rate highly in their children:

  • Kindness (2nd top personality trait)
  • Contentment
  • Being an individual

Describe their children as: Happy and beautiful

But UK mums appear to be less confident than in other countries about their parenting skills, with 45% agreeing that parenting is a very hard job

French mums

Rate highly in their children:

  • Politeness
  • Self-assurance
  • Curiosity

Describe their children as: Smiling, beautiful and curious

French mums were least likely to look for information to keep up to date with the latest parenting trends

“French mums know we make mistakes but it’s OK,” says French businesswoman Leslie Sawicka. “Every day we learn how to be a mum. To be chilled is important. If you’re stressed, your children will feel it.”

Chinese mums

Rate highly in their children:

  • Honesty
  • Tenacity and perseverance
  • Education

Describe their children as: Cute, lively, lovely

Chinese mums are more likely than other mums to agree that the best way for children to learn is through their own trial and error

“In China, happiness has much to do with personality as well as achievement,” explains panellist Dr Liu Chunyang. “It’s also important that children learn how to manage relationships with others. They need that skill to be able to work with people in the future.”

Brazilian mums

Rate highly in their children:

  • Honesty more important than happiness
  • Good personal hygiene
  • Being environmentally aware

Describe their children as: Intelligent, beautiful and smart

57% of Brazilian mums agree that parenting is all about common sense

US mums

Rate highly in their children:

  • Being an individual
  • Honesty
  • Good personal hygiene

Describe their children as: Happy and beautiful

US parents seem to be even less confident than us, with 50% agreeing that parenting is a very hard job but 52% feel they’re their child’s best role model.

“It’s so important that we listen to our children and respond to them, at their own pace,” says US child development professor Sara Harkness. “We have an obsession with fast development. We have to resist the pressures about getting our children to do things like reading earlier and earlier.”

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