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Meet the Germans

Parenting issues many Germans feel strongly about

Although parents of young children worldwide are all confronted with these topics, here's what you need to know before you start debating them at a German playground.

The German expression "Rabeneltern" - literally "raven parents" - does not have a direct translation in English. It's an insult used to refer to negligent parents, derived from the original "Rabenmutter" (raven mother) that already appeared in 14th-century texts and even in Martin Luther's translation of the Bible.

The metaphor refers to the fact that raven chicks leave the nest before they learn to fly, and even though their mother still keeps feeding them there, they seem abandoned and vulnerable when they're left on their own.

Nest of ravens (picture-alliance/WILDLIFE/H.Schweiger)

A delicate question: What's the definition of a "good" parent?

The term was therefore used pejoratively to describe working moms who weren't always around to take care of their children.

Nowadays, parents ironically describe themselves as "Rabeneltern" to precede any outside judgment, for example, when they - exceptionally, of course - let their children overdose on sugar in front of the TV while the adults sit around and drink beer.

Click through the gallery above to discover a dozen topics that are a source of sensitive debate among parents in Germany.

For more about German culture, language and lifestyle, visit  dw.com/meetthegermans.

 

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