Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us


A primer on the world's best parenting strategies—with eye-opening research on the surprising disadvantages lurking in the typical American childhood.
Research reveals American kids today lag well behind the rest of the world in terms of academic achievement, happiness, and wellness. Meanwhile the battle over whether parents are to blame for fostering a generation of helpless kids rages on. Christine Gross-Loh (who raised her young children in Japan for five years) exposes the hidden, culturally determined norms we have about “good parenting,” and asks, are there parenting strategies that other countries are getting right that we are not? This book takes us from Finland and Sweden to Germany, France, Japan, China, Italy, and more, and examines how parents successfully foster resilience, creativity, independence, and academic excellence in their children. Revealing the surprising ways in which culture shapes our parenting, Gross-Loh also offers objective, research-based insight into what strategies are best for children and why.

Among her eye-opening findings:


  • Co-sleeping, typical in most of the world’s families, may promote independence in kids.
  • American-style “hoverparenting” is unique in the world and can damage a child’s resilience.
  • Finnish children, who rank among the world’s highest academic achievers, enjoy multiple recesses a day.
  • Our obsession with self-esteem—a concept that doesn’t exist in many countries—may limit a child’s potential.


At last bringing empirical research to the debate, Parenting Without Borders offers new and provocative thinking on the secrets to raising a confident and capable generation.


North American publisher: Avery

Foreign rights sold: Japanese to Kashiwa Shobo; Taiwanese to Ping's Publications, Ltd.; Korean to Bookie Publishing House; Russian to Sindbad

Foreign rights contact: The Marsh Agency

Jessica Woollard ( for the United Kingdom

Camilla Ferrier ( for Arabic World, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy*, Japan, The Netherlands**, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Jemma McDonagh ( for Baltic States, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Rupublic, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy**, Korea, The Netherlands*, Poland, Romania, Scandinavia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Turkey


Film rights contact: Gillian MacKenzie, (


“An intriguing look at parenting paradigms in countries where children are deemed to be the best adjusted…Gross-Loh’s patient, grounded explication and engaging personal anecdotes make this a much more positive, culturally expansive contribution to the discussion than most parenting books.” —Kirkus Reviews


"What an eye-opening tour through parenting practices the world round! Gross-Loh brings balance and perspective to complex issues, with wonderful results. Her lucid and balanced book will help parents see their practices anew, and ground their everyday decisions in something very like wisdom." —Gish Jen, author of World and Town


“You don't have to move to Finland—even though your son would learn how to sew his own bathing suit and duffel bag in school—but you do want to read this book. Parenting Without Borders takes the reader on an eye-opening, fascinating, and vital tour of time-tested and effective parenting practices. With great armchair traveling thrown in for free.” —Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessings of a B Minus and The Blessings of a Skinned Knee


“Our hovering/helping/worrying way of parenting feels so ‘instinctual’ that it is astounding—and freeing!—to read how odd it appears to other cultures. Better still, this lovely book brims with examples of things parents in other countries do differently that could make our lives (and our kids’) so much nicer. Love it!” —Lenore Skenazy, founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids


“The dilemmas facing loving parents regarding how best to ‘raise’ their kids can be vexing and entrapping. Christine's book offers clear and effective release for parents from their anxieties, by revealing a rich landscape of effective multicultural parenting practices and experiences. A balanced, factual, fresh book." —Stuart Brown, author of Play and founder of the National Institute of Play


“Christine Gross-Loh offers a global perspective on parenting that’s practical, reasoned, and fascinating. Parenting Without Borders helps all parents take away greater compassion, simplicity, confidence, joy, and balance by sharing best practices of parents around the world. A must-read for these globally connected times.” —Homa S. Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global


“This book should be required reading for any parent or anyone thinking of becoming one.” —Marianne LaFrance, professor of psychology and women’s gender and sexuality studies at Yale University, and author of Why Smile?


“This even-handed, fascinating, well-researched book takes the reader on a journey to so many different cultures and countries. On every page I learned something to make me both a better parent and a more thoughtful educator.” —Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, and author of The Business of Baby


“Young American parents including myself are plagued with the feeling of making it up as they go along. Cultures around the world contain so much wisdom on parenting—and it’s far past time that we harvested the best of it. Christine Gross-Loh couldn’t be a better guide to lead us on a grand world tour of parenting styles and practices.” —Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us


“In this valuable book, Christine Gross-Loh asks us to broaden our view of what constitutes good parenting; she challenges us to go beyond the limitations of our borders. This is an overdue approach to the future of the American family, demanding both intellect and humility.” —Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods


“A deeply moving and incredibly insightful study of parenting practices from around the world. Christine Gross-Loh does a superb job of breaking down the stereotypes that have blinded us to the insights we can learn from other cultures, and of helping us to hold a mirror to ourselves to see the potential dangers of some of the practices we take to be natural. A beautifully written, tremendously inspiring, and extraordinarily important work.” —Michael Puett, professor of history at Harvard University


“Gross-Loh’s findings ... identify parenting practices that American parents can benefit from.” —The Bellingham Herald


“You may not agree with each point Christine Gross-Loh makes, but there's much food for thought here. It's a rare book that invites readers to step outside themselves and view their culture from the outside in.” —Pittsburgh Post Gazette