According to Caroline Chirichella, an American mother from New York City who has been living in Italy for the past 10 years, Italian parents seem more relaxed and enjoy life more than their American counterparts. With her Italian husband, they have a bilingual daughter who is almost 5 years old. Chirichella says, "Italian and American parents couldn't be more different in their parenting approach."

In their household, Caroline is the stricter parent, while her husband is much more relaxed. As you know, in the US, parents tend to get their kids involved in many after-school activities. Even though Caroline thinks it's necessary to encourage kids to practice sports or music, she doesn't understand the benefits of overloading them with activities.

In Italy, children play soccer with their friends or take music lessons, but joining groups or clubs is less common there than in the US. Since schools are closed in the hot summer months, kids usually don't stick to a schedule. Due to the heat, the best time to go out is in the evening, so many kids stay out very late compared to their American peers. Italian kids are allowed to be kids and can go to bed whenever it pleases them.

The New York mother says that in Italy, people are generally more relaxed, not just the parents. In fact, it seems Italians are less career-focused and less obsessed with money than their American contemporaries. In enjoying their days and family as a way of life, they may have it all figured out.

Picture: An American mom living in Italy (Caroline Chirichella with her husband and her daughter)