What is the downside of living without a parent

City or country: where do children live better?

"You can't say that across the board," says Dr. Christian Alt, genealogist at the German Youth Institute in Munich. "Both variants have advantages and disadvantages." The most important thing for the child is that there are many people of the same age around them. If they are missing, it doesn't make much difference whether it grows up in an unadorned high-rise estate or in a secluded house on the edge of the forest.

Children need people of the same age to be around

"Children acquire social skills best when there are no hierarchical differences," says Alt. "At first, their parents tell them how to behave - but later on, friends become more and more important." If children play independently of the influences of adults in the group, they have to join forces and deal with others. In this way, they develop social skills outside of the family of origin. According to Christian Alt, in rural areas there is often closer cohesion in the extended family and the neighborhood. In the city, however, children would often go to care facilities earlier and meet their peers from families with very different life plans and manners. "I would argue that children benefit to the same extent in the city as in the country."

Nature is creative space - there is a substitute in the city

And the meadows, streams, wild strawberries - isn't such an idyll perfect for the little ones? "Nature is important to children in a different way than it is to adults," says Alt. "It does not mean rest and relaxation, but is primarily a space that you can design yourself." For example, when children build a tree house or a bridge over the stream from materials they have collected themselves, they become creative and implement their own ideas.

Something similar is also possible in the city: There they look for an area in the park that interests them, for example, and occupy it with their group. Children also do not primarily develop motor skills in nature, but through being with others. "First of all, they learn things like zipping up or tying shoes, with their parents instructing them to do so," says Alt. "What they can't do then, they quickly learn from other children."

Children should be able to try out a lot

And: the smaller the child, the smaller the radius in which it moves. "Up to the age of two it is still bad when the mother disappears from view," says Alt. "At first the child tends to move in the living room, then in their own room, later friends come and the whole apartment becomes a play area. " With increasing age, the distance to home increases.