Struwwelpeter Parenting: The Hot New 1845 German Parenting Style You Have To Try
MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD’S ENTERTAINMENT IS APPROPRIATE:
Struwwelpeter, or Shock-headed Peter was written by a psychiatrist named Heinrich Hoffman for his three-year-old son when Hoffman decided that most of the books available for that age range were too sentimental. So Hoffman went about writing and illustrating the book as a Christmas gift for his son (note Hoffman’s thriftiness and DIY spirit—let it guide you in your choice of crafting appropriate entertainment that teaches your child a lesson).
LEAVE ROOM FOR HUMOR AND FANCY:
The subtitle of Struwwelpeter is “Merry Stories and Funny Pictures,” so the child reading the book knows immediately that it’s in for some fun!
MAKE SURE YOU’RE FIGHTING THE MOST IMPORTANT FIGHTS:
Each of the ten poems in Struwwelpeter contains rhyming couplets describing in detail the gruesome downfall of children who misbehave. Some teaching moments Hoffman includes address grooming, animal welfare, fire safety, gun safety, eating healthily, and white supremacy.
SHOW YOUR CHILD THAT ADULTS ARE THEIR ALLIES:
It’s important for children to know that they can rely on adults for help navigating the world and growing into fine, upstanding adults themselves if they don’t die first. Parents in Struwwelpeter model proper adult behavior. For example, they are absent in order to create an environment of self-reliance like in “Harriet and the Matches” and “The Story of Flying Robert”; or they save a drowning boy like in “Johnny Head-in-Air”; or they hire tailors to exact a swift and harsh vengeance against the sin of thumb-sucking like in “The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb.”