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Gender education of Russian children. Stereotypes of masculine and feminine roles in children upbringing

Russian historical tradition in children rearing and education. Modern parenting styles and approaches

Russian mother teaching her daughter to cook

Gender education. Russian historical tradition.

Parenting styles and patters in Russia have been developing based on the influence of Russian cultural tradition and modified though phases of Russian history. In ancient Russia children were raised by the whole family in accordance with the nature laws and community traditions. Child birth was considered to be sacral and certain practiced followed the beginning of a human life.

The focus on gender roles and gender development as well as stereotypes of masculine and feminine roles was made from the moment the child was born. When a boy was born his navel cord was ritually cut on the axe handle or an arrow so that he would become a good workman or hunter. The spindle was used for a new born girl as symbol of her future talents in handy work. Children under the age of 3 or 4 were fostered by mothers. In general a role of a mother was important and respectable.

When a child became 5, the boys were gradually taught the tasks performed by the family males, while a girls received their first instructions about household and caretaking. Russian families were big and the elder girls were busy nursing the junior childetn. In the mid adolescence stage boys were cared and tutored by fathers and learned military arts, crafts, hunting and farming, while a girl stayed under her mom’s and grandma’s tuition.

In noble families in tsar Russia boys were not only taken care of by a nanny but by a man servant. At the age of 6-7 male tutors were hired by the family to educate the boy.

Teaching a boy manual labor was always a father’s responsibility. In total the role of a father and adult males in the family was very significant. Women replaced them in very rare cases when there was no male in the family.

Children upbringing in modern Russian families. General approach.

The modern society experienced a critical shift in gender roles or parents. The role of a father and a male is losing its value. Some of the reasons are that in case of divorce in Russia children most usually stay with mothers. With the high divorce rate in the country there are currently 30% of single mothers. Educational institutions for children including pre-schools, nurseries, schools and extra curriculum classes and studios are staffed almost entirely by women. A male teacher or tutor is an extremely rare phenomenon. This certainly creates lack of positive male role models.

Russian parents inherit family practices from their own parents and modify them in accordance with their own experience and feeling what would be most beneficial for their children. Parenting styles in Russia are based on Russian mentality, way of life, traditions and current environmental situation and thus may differ from the parenting patters of other countries.

Modern Russian parents, learn a lot. They read books on raising children and exchange experience and effective tactics. They are often visitors to parent discussion forums and are generally concerned of their kids social development and learning news skills. The frequent issues are how to teach a child be honest and share things, reduce aggression, help adapt in preschool and school, interacts with friends, level the rivalry between siblings, prompt gender-appropriate behavior in society, smooth the jealousy to the junior brother or sister, behave with strangers and in public places.

Early development methods are on the top. It is a kind of obsession, especially among Russian mothers to teach a child letters, colors and shapes, poems, songs and even foreign language from the very early age. Language schools for toddlers are very popular. Russian Moms often train their kids for school on their own and are constantly participating in the school process doing homework together.

Regime, discipline and respect to the elders are viewed important and taught from the very early age. Russian children generally start speaking and using potty-chair quite early. After 3. y.o. almost all children are diaper free, the exceptions make children with special needs. Small kids in Russia are rarely taken to restaurant or adult parties as there is a line between the entertainment for kids and parents. Family restaurants quickly emerging in Russia are an exception.

Russians very often make public remarks on other children’s behavior and teach them what to do. Parents with children, especially mothers usually communicate much, attend public outdoor playgrounds and municipal parks. The private playgrounds are very rare in Russia, so most of the children play together. TV and cartoons are available for children from the early age, yet some parents set limits to time and quality of film and animation.

Formerly parents generally administered a beating, today however The majority tries to change their children’s behavior by shouting at them or telling them off. More than half Russians consider corporal punishment absolutely inadmissible. There are no laws regulating this though.

Children in Russia start staying alone at home and make way to school on their own early. An 8-year old home alone while the parents at work is an often situation. The grandparents are usually helpful and participate in life as well as take on child-rearing responsibilities quite often. Russians do not migrate much and many stay in the same city when they have own families or even share the same apartment or house with parents.

Russian parents often describe themselves as "overprotective" of their children due to the fear of crime, traffic accidents, terrorism, and – most frightening of all for parents – reports of kidnapping, pedophilia and other child-victim crimes and due to general instability of life in the country. On the other hand Russian children quickly obtain necessary skills, tend to be independent and are instructed to rely on themselves early.

Russian mom and daughter male a juice together

Modern gender education of children.

Western countries have a boom in same-sex marriages where own or adopted children are being raised. Gender roles of man and women in traditional families are being neutralized. This is totally unnatural for Russia and other post Soviet countries. Moreover the news that the gender identification and traditional family values are being shaken in the USA by banishing words “Mom ” and “Dad” in public schools and work flow shocked the Russian society.

Books on pedagogic and psychology, magazines and online publications in Russia always focus on gender education highlighting diffident approach to bringing up boys and girls. This is explained by the biological difference of the two sexes and therefore the way they comprehend things and react from the very early age. The key role of a male presence in a boy’s life is especially emphasized.

Bringing up a baby boy Russians always make his future role of a father, husband, and a defender very clear. Even toddles are taught to protect the girls. Hitting a girl back is a big no no. Parents usually understand the bigger space boys need to develop and try to arrange the comfortable playing environment even in small apartments by installing wall and chin-up bars. The first choice toys for boys are cars, guns and meccano sets. Ask a typical 5-year-old boy in Russia what costume he would prefer for the New Year party and you will know that it is a pirate, a cowboy, musketeer, a knight, Zorro, or a modern male cartoon hero.

Starting from the pre-school boys are well aware of what the Woman’s Day is and are encouraged to congratulate girls on the 8th of March, whereas girls follow their moms and prepare presents for the Defender of the Fatherland Day that is acknowledged holiday of all Russian men. Even though the prestige of the Russian Army is not that high as it used to be in the Soviet times, the boys are brought up to be the future defenders.

Girls are taught to be neat and behave modest and are implanted the roles of caretakers, mothers and princesses. They join their moms at the kitchen and learn basic cooking skills quite early. There are a number of extra-curriculum activities specifically for girls, like knitting, soft toys making, dances, adornments making, etc. School curriculum separates labor lessons for girls and boys. Girls learn to cook and sew while boy work in school workshops. From the very early age mothers are very considerate about the daughters’ clothes and rooms, choosing standard female colors like pink and white, flower patterns and numerous decorations trying to create a nice place for a little princess. Even the necessities for the new born are bough in traditional colors - blue for boys and pink for girls.

Russian literature is greatly relied upon for its educational influence. Boys are encouraged to read about lives and feats of famous commanders, explore Russian naval and military history, study books on science and math and technical books on various subjects, whereas girls are offered classics, fairies, books on growing up, books based on life of famous Russian women like Galina Ulanova and Sofia Kovalevskaya.

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