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The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  6,289 ratings  ·  692 reviews
What makes Denmark the happiest country in the world--and what are the secrets of Danish parents for raising happy, confident, succesful kids, year after year? This upbeat and practical guide brings together the insights of a licensed psychotherapist and a mom -- a Dane and an American married to a Dane, respectively -- on the habits of the happiest families on earth.

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Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by TarcherPerigee (first published December 17th 2014)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

Overall, the message was good, but this is less of a guide and more of a collection of anecdotal evidenced tied loosely together by some non-comprehensive research. I found some of the book patronizing and other parts oversimplified. Yes, it is easy and great to parent "The Danish Way" if you live in a society where that's the norm, but the book doesn't really address dealing with conflicting opinions of parenting.

I'd sum up this book as "Don't worry about other forms of parenting and d
Jenna Copeland
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an American who has lived in Denmark for 15 years and is married to a Dane with h whom I have a child, I recognize a lot of these behaviors. Nevertheless, it was nice to have them systematically spelled out and there were some insights that I was also unaware of. But, I can also say that while I greatly admire the way the way children are reared in Denmark, a reader should not finish this book and believe that there are no problems with being a parent in Denmark. The societal structures and p ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sooo.... it's possible it took me about a year to read this, but that's more to do with my short attention span than the book itself. I've read quite a few research articles about why the Danes (and the Scandinavians) are the happiest people on earth- and you know it's not because they're getting more sun than anyone else! I find it such a fascinating cultural concept, so I was anxious to see what pearls of wisdom this book had for me. The idea of being able to raise kids to be the happiest they ...more
Sharon Allen
I liked the main ideas of this book, which can be summarized as:
1. Respect play, and allow non-adult-led activities.
2. Be authentic and honest towards your child.
3. Reframe things to avoid labels and emphasize positive aspects of people, situations, etc.
4. Validate your child's experiences and demonstrate empathy.
5. Model the behavior you wish for your children to imitate and avoid ultimatums/corporal punishment.
6. Demonstrate prioritizing "we" as a family over "me" when creating a cozy family
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Regurgitates lots of the modern and en vogue research on parenting and very loosely ties it to Danish cultural norms. I think both are interesting, but didn't find a very compelling reasons for them to necessarily be linked together. ...more
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not exactly ground breaking content, but the book emphasizes the best in practical positive parenting strategies and ways of living. It is a quick read with simplified summaries with suggestions on application at the end of every chapter.

I was particularly fond of the chapter on "togetherness and hygge" or "cozying around." The Danes do have systematic things in place to help foster a sense of community and togetherness, but there are some practical ideas on how to implement the concept within
Trudy Brasure
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What makes the Danes so happy? They are raised to cultivate a mindset that allows them to be resilient, patient, and compassionate. I especially like the chapters on learning to re-frame situations and practicing cozy family togetherness.
This is a thought-provoking book that could be helpful for all social situations, not just parenting.
Ayu Lestari Gusman
"Happy kids grow up to be happy adults who raise happy kids and so on" ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
concise advice on treating your child like a human.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
“Happy kids grow up to be happy adults who raise happy kids, and so on.”

“Sometimes we forget that parenting, like love, is a verb. It takes effort and work to yield positive returns”

“it is so important to look at your default settings, study them, and understand them. What do you like about how you act and react with your children? What don’t you like? What are you doing that is just a repeat from your own upbringing? What would you like to change?”

“Is there a greater gift you can give to your c
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the two other books I read about Danish culture, and the parenting/healthy eating memoir called French Kids Eat Everything so I thought this might be up my alley. It's interesting but not nearly as engaging as the other books, and I think it's just because it's a straight up informational book and NOT a memoir. For me, I prefer a bit more of a personal narrative in something like this, I think.

Aside from that, the information wasn't ground-breaking if you've read anything about
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don’t actually have any kids yet so I can’t implement these things at the moment, but most of this seems surprisingly fairly obvious.

Treating kids like humans is ultimately the point of this book. Don’t shy away from emotions, make an effort to teach and explain, and don’t be a butthead.

That said, I think it’s good to have the reminder and I’ll keep this book on hand to remind me when we do finally have the kid. Thankfully my spouse is on board too so hopefully this will be an easy-ish transi
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
I always love learning about the Danes. This book is a lovely insight into the Danish parenting. Super cool and applicable to people without children, too. Great for people who interact with children on a daily basis or who were children once themselves.
Sarah Mackintosh
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I really appreciated this book. As I Christian, I would disagree with the author philosophically that all children are basically good; however this did not mar my appreciation of the book, nor did it influence my opinion of the usefulness of its principles. The book was broken down into six-parts (the acronym PARENT) as follows:

P is for play. This chapter emphasized the importance of unstructured play and a low stress lifestyle. While organized sports, music classes and good grades are great, th
Joe Flynn
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
A useful quick read that imparts wisdom and good practice, though without the depth or full scientific exploration that would make it a must read.

We follow branches from the anagram

(P)lay importance of , rules and growth
(N)o ultimatums
(T)ogetherness and hygge

While juxtapositioning Danish and American norms (some people in both countries of course would beg to disagree).

There are thoughtful, useful, and scientifically backed sections in each. There are also f
Julie Lindsey
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very common-sense approach to raising kids who are emotionally resilient. I don't normally read a lot of parenting books, choosing to follow an initutive approach that seems to fit my child (and tailored to her stages) but I think this book speaks exactly to that type of parent by emphasizing really tuning in to the relationship and setting parameters that work and focus on communication. I really liked the synopsis at the end of each chapter with specific tips you can implement to put the les ...more
Jamie Hatch
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don’t usually read parenting books, but this one came highly recommended and so I thought I’d give it a try. I loved it. Wasn’t so much that the ideas were new to me but it was a good refresher and I liked learning a little bit of the history behind the theories. Overall has helped me be happier, and to realize those things that I can do make me a more positive mother and then pass down to my children.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Gave me a lot to think about in relation to my parenting technique.
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This lines up with so many things I have learned or read, and with so many values I try to instill in my family.
Leslie Lindsay
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I came across THE DANISH WAY OF PARENTING (Tarcher Perigee/RandomHouse, August 2016) I knew I had to read it. Voted #1 happiest people in the WORLD for over 40 consecutive years, I figured they had to know a little something about raising well adjusted kids, right?

Well, yes.

There's one specific thing that stands out in the Danish culture that others may not employ, the concept of 'hygge,' simply translating to 'cozy togetherness.' Now, if that doesn't have you running for your fluffy
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Most of the book (only 146 pages in this edition) is chatter citing studies (pages 149 - 177 provide further information about these). If you don't need the studies material, each chapter finishes with an at-a-glance summary. The book can be skimmed in an hour or so. It's like reading seven magazine articles plus some introductory material.

Their "P A R E N T"mnemonic works nicely --
P = Play (explaining why free play creates happier, better adjusted, more resilient adults /
A = Authenticity (exp
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book so much that I listened to it two times in a row. More than looking at single types of parenting practices the author's looked at an entire societies typical parenting practices to see how they where different than others.
Re-framing and cozying around where such interesting ideas. I particularly loved the idea of cozying around. The idea of everyone pitching in to make a cozy environment and leaving behind the arguments and contentions in order to have an enjoyable relaxing tim
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the principles highlighted in this book, in short:

No Ultimatums
Togetherness and Hygge

In a lot of ways, the more democratic, process-oriented, and authoritative approach taken to parenting reflects a few things I am working on in my own life, so this was a good reminder of refocusing my own perspective, which I hope will be a natural segue into parenting in a similar way.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
Mostly common sense, but I always enjoy learning what other cultures do well when it comes to parenting.

My favorite ideas were reframing (bad weather? "At least we're not on vacation this week!") and Togetherness. I liked the idea of hygge (hoo-ga), which the author describes as lighting candles and having a relaxed family dinner at home.

Note to self: must light more candles and relax with my girls. Just don't let them burn the house down.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mostly skimmed this due to lots of generalizations about parenting by US and Danish parents in which US parents are getting it all wrong and Danish parents can do no wrong. I was hoping for an in-depth look at another parenting culture, but it mostly seemed like the author was working out some frustrations from her family and glorifying her husband's Danish family. There were some good points, but no real evidence backing the claims or realistic parenting tips. ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The only thing in this book that I found new and different from almost every other parenting book out there right now is the chapter on hygge. I don't know that that's enough of a reason to recommend reading this whole book though. ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Like Mamaleh Knows Best and Mormon Parenting this book totally fails to join the genre of "what parents from other cultures are doing and what we can learn from them." Bringing Up Bebe, Tiger Mom, Amish Parenting, Swedish Parenting, German parenting, Preschool in Three Cultures - these were fantastic, super fun, super interesting. This book takes the current parenting dogma coming out of the universities and claims that all Danish people are doing that, so rather than fun stories about Danish pe ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 ⭐️
As a soon to be step parent to a 6 and 2 year old I thought this was insightful and interesting.

I personally think it is a good, simple book to start with on my “how to be a parent” journey. It is easy to read and understand and contains advice I will genuinely try to follow.

That being said, I do think that it is a bit idealistic in an unrealistic way. It sort of throws you advice and situations that may work in some families, but gives you little direction for what to do if the methods d
Christopher Pope
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This book is half as long as it should be. It's like the editor took out everything about actual Danish culture and just left the principles they wanted to reach. They're really good and important and insightful principles and make this worth the read and probably re-read. But theres not actually a lot about Danish culture here. Nor is there much of a huge deep dive into the principles presented. There are many other books that cover these ideas with more depth and rigor. But if you want some gr ...more
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52 likes · 19 comments
“Children are constantly focused on their parents and will mirror them. Therefore, what they experience in the home will be crucial for their empathy development.
Parents have a big responsibility because they are the primary example of empathy and must practice being empathic themselves.”
“By not being authentic, you undermine your child’s ability to sense what is true and false. Kids” 3 likes
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