Taking care of our children makes Mongolia more competitive

A father teaching his children

Mongolians say that taking care of a child well makes them become a better person; training a foal well makes them become a better horse. Mongolians have a lot of good ways to take good care of their children, such as teaching them to respect elders, teaching them good habits, teaching them to be patient to overcome challenges, teaching them to look at something in many different ways to make wise decisions, and teaching them to protect the environment, but these ways rarely appear among us.

Some people say that traditional Mongolian ways of raising children don’t fit in with modern ways, because traditional Mongolian ways come from nomadic life and culture. In contrast, some people believe that Mongolians have to pursue a compounded and comprehensive version of traditional ways and modern ones to maintain Mongolian values. There are a number of challenges facing parents raising children.

Most parents have no time to spend with their children because of their busy schedules. Many wealthy Mongolians hire foreign or domestic nannies to take on the responsibility of child rearing. Most children grow up while they are in kindergarten and school, and most of their time without their parents is spent with numerous hours staring at the screens of cell phones, computers, and televisions.

Kindergartens, schools, and other community centers are very good places for children to open their eyes to learning, but they have to listen to their parents’ opinions when they are outside of these environments. Another big problem facing parents is divorce. Mongolians say that children learn patience, resilience, determination, bravery, and intelligence from their fathers; and they learn compassion, mercy, humanity, and self-management from their mothers.

Fathers and mothers are like two wheels of a cart, and divorce makes a family incomplete. Of course, a cart can’t move forward when its two wheels don’t go forward together. Children who are well cared for become good and educated people who take advantage of the opportunities in life. If parents do not focus on how their children (especially teenagers) spend their time, their children are more likely to be influenced by bad people.

Parents’ responsibilities are to lead their children down a good path and to encourage them to do good things to become good people. Some parents persuade their kids to do things they aren’t interested in, and the parents push their kids to do these things. This is usually a mistake, because kids don’t always feel like being exactly what their parents imagine and are interested in doing different things.

Punishment is not a good way to teach kids, but many instructors and adults don’t spend time figuring out ways to let kids learn what is right and what is wrong. Letting kids think for themselves is the best choice, but the most important thing is to come back to them to show them how to figure things out.

Feedback circles are the most important thing in a relationship between children and their parents. Many parents have no experience in how to educate their kids, they just tell their children to study and work hard, but they cannot teach their kids how to do those things successfully; where to find answers, how to work together, how to succeed, and how long it can take to see achievements fulfilled.

Parents need to prioritize what their kids should do to take control of their environment. After setting these priorities, parents should encourage their kids to do things which will help them become good people, but there should be a strong focus on avoiding things which could negatively affect them. In my opinion, challenging our kids is one of the best ways to help them become more educated and independent.

Therefore, we need to encourage our kids everyday to use timelines and to-do lists, to ask them challenging questions when they face an unexpected obstacle, tell them true stories to make them feel strong and empowered, debate them, teach them what they want to know, and motivate them to be eager learners.

I think this kind of environment for raising children makes them more competitive, and parents who have grown up in this kind of environment will educate their kids to be smarter people. Competitive Mongolians will determine whether or not Mongolia is strong. In order for us to be competitive, we have to make some smart choices right now, so taking care of our kids by educating them on how to follow a good path is a smart choice.


  1. In the list of ‘good things to teach kids’ you put ‘respect for elders’ first. And that is exactly what stops this country from taking steps forward. A stiffening yearning towards the past, glorious times. Stop living in the past, that is over and will never come back.

  2. Lots of good points but the part about divorced parents is a bit backwards in thinking. First of all, those qualities listed as specifically taught by the mother can just as easily be taught by the father and vice versa. Your gender does not determine what qualities you are able to teach. (Also the world is rapidly changing, sure enough in the future there will be gay couples adopting children.)

    Secondly if a couple gets divorced it means both parties were not happy in a relationship. Divorce is usually is the last resort meaning that the couple must have had big problems to be filing for it. Trust me, children that grow in supposedly “complete” family that have fights and tears everyday do not have happy childhoods. Many studies show that children are better off with a single happy parent than two parents that only fight. Of course society is more discriminatory towards single parents but that’s a topic for another day.

    Otherwise, yes, parents should spent more time with their children. Being a parent is a full time “job”; it takes effort, time and love.

    @froit, I do not think the comment about respecting your elders is saying you should live in the past. It’s probably more of offering your seat to the elderly in the bus. As long as it doesn’t develop into a crazy age hierarchy system (like in South Korea) I think it is fine.

    • @Just my: Mongolian kids use the polite form of speech even for their older brothers n sisters.
      That hierarchy is chiseled into the minds from 2-3 years old. It’s suffocating. For instance, if you have two siblings working in your company, it is impossible to have the younger one working at a ‘higher’ position than the older one, or even the married partner of the older one! Older always trumps.