There has been a lot of talk lately about parenting practices in other cultures. Remember Tiger Mother?
The newest culture on the scene, the French. A new book called Bringing Up Bebe introduces us to the wisdom of French Parenting. It is clever and funny and a great read.
Bringing Up Bebe was written by Pamela Druckerman. As an American raising her children in Paris, she quickly realized that French children and parents have it all together.
-French children sleep through the night by the age of 3 months. (Boy that would be nice)
-They eat their vegetables without complaining.
-They play at the park unassisted while their mothers chat on the park bench.
-They are patient, which means less temper tantrums.
What is great about the French way of doing things?
- For starters, the French don't believe in catering to a child's every whim.
- French parents are not push-overs
- They make consequences clear and then follow through with the consequences
- The French Let go - The do not micromanage their children's every move
These are all positive parenting practices that we can and should implement. The French do so many things right. I love "The Pause" and the way the French teach their kids to sleep through the night, and I love the idea that children are given freedom amongst guidelines.
But... the French can also take these practices to the extreme and appear somewhat cold in their relationships with their children. You will not find a French mother playing with her little one at the park or going down the slide, rushing in to pick up a crying baby, or on the floor playing Candy Land.
So, should we emulate the French, or American's? The answer, we should learn from parents of all cultures and do what is best for our children and our families.
We should remember...
Moderation in all things. Avoid the extremes. Never playing with your child is not right, but neither is constantly catering to their every request. There are times when our children need to learn to entertain themselves, and times when we should be right down on the floor playing with them.
Avoid Being Selfish or Lazy. There is a fine line between teaching our children/what is best for them, AND, selfishly avoiding doing things for our kids because we are too busy thinking about ourselves. Do we instruct them to get their own drink of water because we are too lazy to get up and help? Or because we see the need for our child to learn to solve their own problems and learn to take care of themselves. It is important to assess our personal motives for how we are parenting our children.
There is one thing that the French understand very well. Our children are capable of feats of understanding and autonomy that we as parents often overlook. Time to see our children for who they really are.
At what age do your babies sleep through the night?
Do you like learning about how other cultures parent?