Sunday, February 12, 2012

French Parenting

I always wondered, when in France, why the children and the pets were so well-behaved...AND they seemed happy! Now I know why......
Soon it became clear to me that quietly and en masse, French parents were achieving outcomes that created a whole different atmosphere for family life. When American families visited our home, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids' spats, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build Lego villages. When French friends visited, by contrast, the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves.

By the end of our ruined beach holiday, I decided to figure out what French parents were doing differently. Why didn't French children throw food? And why weren't their parents shouting? Could I change my wiring and get the same results with my own offspring?

Driven partly by maternal desperation, I have spent the last several years investigating French parenting. And now, with Bean 6 years old and twins who are 3, I can tell you this: The French aren't perfect, but they have some parenting secrets that really do work. (Read entire article.)


Divine Theatre said...

Utterly asinine. Anecdotal at best.
She thinks the French are better parents because she has been around two or three? She thinks French are better parents because they receive welfare?
I am annoyed that I read this, but, much like a car crash, I could not turn away.
I have seen my share of Welfare parents "(okay, just mothers) and their skills are somewhat lacking.
The problem in America, as I see it, is that women have marginalized their children. Most women I know are only part time mothers. The rest of the time thy complain about how busy they are and how their children don't appreciate them.
Here's a novel idea. Plan ahead. Don't have kids you cannot afford. This means stay at home with them and BE their mothers. Geesh! Prioritize. How can American kids have any discipline if they are under the care of two or three entities? There is no stability. The trash article isn't very scientific. I'll wager that the children of working and single mothers in France have the same negative outcomes as the children of working and single mothers in the US.
I'm going to do my own demographic research. Anything is better than this trite attempt!

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

This aticle might interest you:

What a Jewish Father!

The North Coast said...

I was raised by a divorcee who had to work not only one but sometimes two jobs to keep us housed and fed, and let me tell you, my mother had no problem setting boundaries or conveying authority. We had a lot of freedom within those boundaries, but we knew we could not step beyond them.

And it's not the kids of working moms who are necessarily the most demanding, undisciplined, and ungovernable.

The fact is that American children are SPOILED ROTTEN. Even during the brief time my mother was able to be home with us, she never spent anything like the amount of time hovering over us that mothers do now. She did not interfere in every spat and get out the child guidance manual every time we cried. And she surely didn't worry about "traumatizing" us by denying us something we wanted.

I have never see kids so over-indulged, hovered over, fussed over, and obsessed over as I do now. Notice how the more obsessive the parental attention is, and the more unnecessary material possession are showered on the kid, the more unhappy and peevish the child becomes.

Kids want and need boundaries and limits. They want to be told No. And they want parents who they can respect and who are bastions of stability and authority as a bulwark against the peer pressure of their friends. They want you to stay on your pedestal, not be their buddies.

Divine Theatre said...

Kudos to your mother but research has proven that children of divorced parents do not fare as well as you seem to have.

The North Coast said...

I agree that divorce is not good for children,and it would be better if it never happen. It always does damage, but sometimes it is inevitable, as when one parent deserts and makes it clear that he is no longer interested in being a mate or parent.

It is terrible for a child to know that one of his parents does not love him or care about him. A major mooring in his life is pulled away, and half his family is lost to him. His trust is destroyed.

Oftentimes, a parent raising a child after divorce will try to overcompensate by overindulging the child in other ways that aren't good for him, and unfortunately will all too often use the child as the bone of contention in quarrels with the other parent, or allow the child to "play" one parent off against the other. This is very damaging to the child. Parents who are divorced really need to make the effort to stand united on matters pertaining to child rearing and discipline, but that's impossible when they're so engrossed in their battles with each other that they forget about their children's needs.

Brantigny said...

Elena-Maria You had more fortitude than I did to post on this on you blog. It only got an honorable mention on my FB.

My wife would have loved to stay at home a monitor our children, but my constant campaigning took me away from home too often. Pretty much the kids turned out ok.

We payed attention to our children's and grandchilren's religious devotions, make time for them when they needed it and insure that in our presence they act right. It will remains up to them how they act in life.

We must have done something right, they have continued on with our example. In atghe end that is all you can ask.

The exception of some divorced families does not define the rule. Children need two parents, My case load proves that. 85-90% of the men on my case load come from broken families or familes where the father is absent. Many of my fellows were raised by an aging grandmother. At least 50% of these have brothers and sisters by different fathers and half of that have different mothers. Worse yet, these men have continued the cycle by having multiple children by different "baby mommas".

The ipitome of a family is a mother and a father, and children.

lara77 said...

I remember many years ago my sister and her husband were travelling in France with their son Graham. Graham was about 4? He has limited vision and was a bit rambunctious. This older Frenchwoman jumped up from her seat and grabbed Graham with both arms and screamed at him to settle down. Needless to say my Leo sister jumped up and almost tackled the woman. Both were speaking languages that the other could not understand. I thought the story was amazingly visual. Graham at that age was a sweet and very precocious child. He was a child; not an adult. The Frenchwoman in my mind crossed the line by grabbing my nephew. Different ways of parenting in France and America? I wonder.