Raising our Children Properly…pour élever ses propres enfants
This week I have been fascinated by the reviews of a new book on parenting…it is reminiscent of how I felt when I read Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” last year.
Quite a few articles have been stimulated by this new book…”Bringing Up Bebe”
Parenting styles differ so much in various cultures. I imagine it to be a fascinating experience being an American mom trying to raise a family overseas particularly in Paris.
The French do not agree with our American obsession with parenting. Unlike their American counterparts, they seem to manage to get their children to sit still through a meal which is hard to come by here in the United States. We seem to be raising a generation of wanderers who graze on their meals. Generally, we do not expose our children to multi-course meals that are paced for enjoyment and conversation as is typical in France. We seem to be a generation of eating on the run…running to activities from the beginning of the week sometimes through the weekends.
French parents have also learned the art of saying the word “NO”. We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time talking to our children explaining why we are saying no and discussing why a child should not be doing something that is clearly bad behavior….oh and we never say the word “bad”…we describe the behavior as not being nice or acceptable and something that we should not be doing. “French experts and parents believe that hearing ‘no’ rescues children from the tyranny of their own desires”. via New York Magazine
Another interesting comparison is how French babies learn to sleep throughout the night at about 6 weeks of age. They practice “La Pause”. ‘La Pause‘ is a period of about 5 minutes that a parent waits to attend to a crying infant. It is somewhat reminiscent of the “crying it out” method of sleep training which teaches a baby to self soothe and not to expect instant gratification when he/she cries. I am totally not in favor of crying it out…a short cry perhaps…I also do not expect an infant to sleep through the night until at least 8 weeks of age for many good reasons. Co-sleeping is not something that is practiced with any regularity in France. For many families in the United States it is very typical for parents and kids to sleep in the same room, sometimes mom sleeps with one child and dad sleeps with another. Babies may sleep next to the parents or at least in the same room for an extended period of time.
French children are typically not the center of the universe, their parents are good parents but they do not hover over their children. They also do not feel guilty about their parenting practices. Weekends are not spent wrapped up in children’s activities…like the overwhelming, over done birthday parties, sports practices and games.
According to Pamela Druckerman, French parents are not as anxious as their American counterparts…they tend to be a little more relaxed and realize that learning to be parents is a process.
“The French are absolutely not draconian about their own rules,” Druckerman added. “They actually believe that children are more capable, in some ways, and believe in their autonomy. They just give a clear framework in which they can learn and see its a process — you dont suddenly arrive at being a brilliant parent.”
In doing some reading before writing this post I came across the following statement which adds a touch of humor to all parenting styles…I hope you have a laugh…
I think what the French do well is rely on common sense when bringing up their kids, and perhaps the support of mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers, rather than gimmicky books by childless gurus. Why British women are so attracted to bizarre methods of childrearing rather than relying on common sense and a sensible book of essential information is a mystery. But whatever the method chosen rest assured that a mothers place is in the wrong, and our parents fuck us up whatever their nationality.
PHILIP LARKIN – THIS BE THE VERSE
They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.
via St Bloggie de Riviere: French Parenting
Hi Loretta – thanks for the mention. Pam’s book has engendered a lot of discussion in cyberspace.
Thanks for reading…this is a good discussion on parenting perspectives.
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