The 'perfect parent'

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Media captionMothers often feel under pressure to be 'the perfect mum', as this comedy sketch shows

The idea of being the "perfect mum" whose toddler never wakes up at night, loves broccoli and can recite Shakespeare might sound attractive, but it can also cause of lot of stress. So when things don't go to plan, its worth remembering there's no "right way" to parent and different cultures do things differently.

"I tell my friends and family that I make all my son's purees but the truth is I buy the stuff at the store and I dump those jars into my own containers so it looks homemade," says one mum in the comedy sketch above, created for the BBC's 100 Women season by US trio The BreakWomb.

But not everyone agrees on what makes a perfect parent - there are many different ways to bring up a child, as these examples from around the world show.

Let children squabble

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Japanese parents say that letting children argue, over a toy for example, can be beneficial because it gives them a chance to learn how to resolve conflicts by themselves. Providing a good role model is encouraged but so is taking a step back.

Allow them to make decisions

Swedish adults try not to exert too much control over children, teaching them instead to practise good decision-making themselves from an early age. For example, some Swedish pre-schools have no fence at all - teachers instruct children on the concept of an "invisible fence" instead so they have a chance to practise self-control every day.

Children should eat what adults eat

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In South Korea, children eat the same food as adults. They have to wait until the family meal when everyone eats together and are expected to have a bit of everything on the table to encourage them to eat a wide variety of healthy foods.

Set goals at the right level

When it comes to encouraging children to work towards a goal, Chinese teachers and parents use the analogy of an apple held just out of reach - too far away, and the child is discouraged, too close and they won't be motivated enough.

Give children plenty of playtime

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Finnish children get a lot of playtime. The school day is short - sometimes just four hours - and there are plenty of breaks. They also attend a variety of non-academic classes, such as woodwork, sewing, cooking, music and art, and yet they still outperform children from many other countries in international tests.

Show love through actions

Bengali parents in India show love and affection indirectly rather than through open physical affection or praise. So instead of kissing and cuddling a child, a mother might convey her love by carefully peeling and segmenting an orange.

Address elders respectfully

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Across the African continent it is considered disrespectful for children to address an elder by their first name, whether it is a relative or a stranger. Names are always prefixed by a title such as Uncle, Auntie, Brother or Sister.

100 Women 2015

This year's season features two weeks of inspirational stories about the BBC's 100 Women and others who are defying stereotypes around the world.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram using the hashtag #100Women.

Sources: Christine Gross-Loh, author of Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us; Ronald P Rohner, Abdul Khaleque, David E Cournoyer, Introduction to Parental Acceptance-Rejection Theory, Methods, Evidence, and Implications

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