Shakira: Spanish Parents ‘Speak to Their Children as Equals’

05/01/2015 at 01:00 PM ET

Raising her sons in Spain is having a positive influence on Shakira‘s parenting skills.

In a new interview with Parents Latina magazine‘s spring issue, the singer — and mom to Sasha, 3 months, and Milan, 2 — admits the country’s approach to parenthood has shaped her own strategies.

“In Spain, parents speak to their children as equals and I feel that the children respond in return,” she explains, adding that she primarily speaks to her own boys in Spanish.

But Shakira, 38, says there’s plenty of positives about each of the social environments she’s been exposed to, including her birth country of Colombia and the United States.

“In all three cultures, parents are attentive to their children,” she notes. “Their dad [Gerard Piqué] and I both grew up in very close-knit families and that has made us openly affectionate parents.”

Shakira Gerard Pique sons soccer
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However, Shakira’s not going completely old-school when it comes to her household. When asked how she’s ensuring her sons steer clear of the machismo stereotype, she says, “Growing up with a working mom is a start.”

She continues, “I also think their dad is a good example of a modern man to emulate. Gerard and I pretty much share all parenting responsibilities, although I’m definitely the disciplinarian.”

Shakira Gerard Pique sons soccer

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting , Shakira

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beth on

I’ve also watched Spanish parents let their little ones wander through busy stores unattended! Living in South Florida, I witness this ” attentive” parenting style all the time. Kids are not equal to parents. That’s one of the problems I witnessed as a teacher. These little “equals” have no problem challenging your classroom management, and those parents want you to just reason with little Tommy who just gave you the finger. Yep, no thanks. I will stick with old school parenting, where I’m the adult and they aren’t.

Sara on

“beth” you witness Spanish parent do this “all the time” in south florida? I think you mean south american parents. Shakira specifically differentiates the two here, talking about THREE seperate cultures. As a teacher who doesnt like to be told what to do in her classroom, perhaps you can understand a parent like Shakira not needing to be told what to do by you.

sally on

blah, blah! sounds like the “kids” get to rule the parents! which will produce spoiled, entitled adults who always want things their way! kids NEED discipline and parents need to lead the “pack”- so to speak.

editor on

People Magazine you need to be careful with your titles. Some readers clearly thought it meant Spanish speaking parents (Hispanics) instead of residents of Spain.

twinkle on

Hispanic is not the same as Spanish. She is speaking about Spanish people FROM SPAIN. There nothing wrong with commenting on different parenting styles, something which you must notice when you live and/or have children with someone of a different nationality.
“Treating them as equal” doesn’t mean letting them run wild. It’s just a differing parenting style.

glorifyed on

cute children but that teeth whitening crap she promotes is a ripoff and she spouts/embraces antiquated myths and superstitions; her kids don’t need those.

Jennifer on

I don’t even understand the comment treating as equals. What (for example) does that mean?

getabrain on

So “editor” how should the publication refer to people from Spain if the age old name of “Spanish” is no longer acceptable or created confusion for the moronic few?

Elouise on

Calm down, people. There is no such thing as a “perfect parent”. If she wants to treat her children as equals, that’s her right. If you don’t agree, then don’t do the same thing. Jeez. There are many different ways to raise a child. People need to stop getting so offended and upset over the smallest things. If you’re so great at parenting, then why are you so da&n sensitive to critique, hmmm?
Little Milan and Sasha are adorable by the way. 🙂

guest on

Wow everyone calm down lol she didn’t say she treats them as equals she said she speaks to them that way… I find when I speak to my children on a more mature level they understand and respond on a mature level… just cause they’re babies (or toddlers) doesn’t mean you have to speak to them like they’re babies (or toddlers) lol that doesn’t mean she lets them call the shots, make or break the rules or get away with everything…

Dee on

Treating your kids like equals doesn’t make you a parent. It makes you a friend, and that will come back to bite you.

Sara K on

Adorable babies!

And Ajah, don’t take it so seriously. What she’s saying is mutual respect goes a long way. This is actually a good parenting principle. Instead of treating them like inferior little dummies, you speak with them as young PEOPLE and they grow to have good minds and can take their place in conversation even among adults. She didn’t say anything about allowing disrespect.

Amy on

They are my (couple) friends in my head. I love them – out kids are both a few months apart and I think she is an intelligent, cool and down to earth person. Pique seems mature beyond his years. Call me for a play date.

Amanda on

Spanish = from Spain

Just thought I would clarify that for the people who think every hispanic person is spanish. Personally every hispanic person I have met in the US has been from Central or South American…making them American rather than Spanish 😉 I am sure there are plenty of people in the US from Spain but my bet is they are not the majority.

I think Europe in general tends to treat their kids more like equals. That doesn’t mean they don’t discipline when needed, it’s just something you notice if you really notice how they talk to their kids. Lots of people in the US seem to think their kids are their possessions and forget that eventually those ‘kids’ grow up and need to know how to act, talk, behave like an adult. It is why people look at 18 year olds here as ‘kids’, because they still act like kids leaving mom and dad’s house until they get a good dose of grown-up reality.

K.B. on

I’m not sure “equals” is what she really means. She says she’s the “disciplinarian”. You don’t discipline your equals. So, I’m not sure what “equals” means in her mind. That having been said, kids need limits and boundaries to learn respect. They need consequences to learn responsibility. Being “equal” to your children just teaches them entitlement, disrespect, and irresponsibility.

Emma on

I think this article should refer to Castilian parents or Spaniards- not Spanish parents. I also think th person who used South Florida as an example is incorrect to compare apples to oranges. I grew up in S Florida- I’m am Puerto Rican- and there are probably no less that 8 Latin American countries and territory of PR represented in South Florida- not merely Spaniards. Personally what I think that Shakira means when she uses the words “equal” is that she raises the children to know they matter, that they are worth just as much. Important as much as adults. But definitely think People Mag needs a better headline. As for people on this thread lumping all Hispanics together- I was raised to know Mom and Dad were in charge and that’s no different from any othe American child.

digal704 on

Simply absurd. If it works for them great. The word equal apparently has a different definition in Spain.

sfmom on

Those of you hating on this idea should look at the book “How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm” by MeiLing Hopgood. It’s a great series of essays on how other cultures raise children. The book includes several essays that talk about the different ways in which South American cultures (which I understand are totally distinct from Spanish-in-Spain culture, just before the editorial nazis jump down my throat) incorporate children with much more grace and tolerance than we do here in the US.

I am not sure exactly what Shakira means specifically when she says Spanish parents (from Spain) talk to their children as equals, but in general, I find that American attitudes towards children are incredibly condescending and belittling. This INCLUDES the over-sensitive helicopter parent who gets outraged whenever their little kid is criticized or has to deal with a little adversity. These are the parents who are so afraid their kids feelings might get hurt or their self esteem will get damaged that they never discipline, don’t teach their children to respect others (and frequently don’t even model respect of others in their own behavior), etc. In my mind, speaking to a child as a equal means respecting them as separate individuals with their own souls, their own individual needs and their own free will. This means many times that parents who “talk to their kids as equals” expect a greater level of maturity from their children and expect them to learn to fit in and roll with the punches just like the rest of us grownups. It doesn’t mean treating a child like an adult, it means mentoring them as an adult in training as opposed to infantilizing them, sheltering them from all hardship and making sure they never have to do anything hard and don’t learn to respect those around them.

I don’t know…that’s my interpretation of it anyway.

Anonymous on

Geesh, people! She says she SPEAKS to the children as equals, not that she TREATS them as equals! Two different things!

nu on

Hey guys! I’m Spanish (not far from where she lives) and a teacher there, with very young children under my watch (3 to 6).

I completely understand what she means, because this is exactly what I do.

When I teach my children I talk to them as adults, that doesn’t mean they get to decide or be the bosses, it’s just I ask their opinions or their thoughts on a particular matter. I don’t ban any question they ask either, it doesn’t matter if it’s appropriate or not. I’ve talked to my children about life and death, racism, cultures and all sort of things they were curious about. You only have to simplify the things enough for them to understand.

Some studies say involving the children in adult conversations as political or cultural at the dinner table, for example, makes them more intelligent, since this makes them more aware of the reality and the world they live in, no matter if they understand the content or not, it’s just part of their life. We don’t separate kids life of grown ups life.

To be fair, I didn’t know this was a cultural thing, I thought it depended more on the kind of family values one has.

Anonymous on