In their book, “The Happiest Kids in the World: A Stress-Free Approach to Parenting ― the Dutch Way,” Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchinson argue that Dutch children have freedoms that children in the U.K.and U.S. have never known. Acosta (who is American) and Hutchinson (who is British), both married Dutchmen and live in the Netherlands. Both moms note that Dutch children are allowed to play outside and ride their bikes unsupervised, they have no homework or standardized testing in primary school, and they enjoy simple pleasures with secondhand toys and time with family and friends.
Happiness — it’s a Dutch thing
In a recent article in the Telegraph, Acosta and Hutchinson explain that the happiness of Dutch children goes hand in hand with the overall happiness of Dutch people of all ages.
“Parents have a healthy attitude towards their kids, seeing them as individuals rather than as extensions of themselves,” Acosta and Hutchinson wrote. “They understand that achievement doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness, but that happiness can cultivate achievement. The Dutch have reined in the anxiety, stress and expectations of modern-day parenting, redefining the meaning of success and wellbeing.”
Acosta and Hutchinson elaborate further on how awesome the Dutch are: Children don’t compete with their classmates but rather aim to be friendly and helpful to one another; similarly Dutch mothers don’t compete or make each other feel guilty about their shortcomings.