A friend recommended this story about how French parents bring up bebe differently.
“Sixteen years ago, when my first child was born in Paris, I baby-proofed our apartment with rubber edge liners, covers on electrical sockets, latches on windows, locks on drawers and toilet seat guards. The parts of our living room that weren’t bound and shackled were filled with happy, fluorescent kiddie toys. My French neighbor Genevieve took one look at our place and said: “Your apartment looks like a psych ward.” This was one of several lessons I’d learn about how the French parent differently from us….”
“Now author and French expatriate Pamela Druckerman brings us her soon-to-be-published “Bringing Up Bebe,” a book exclusively dedicated to this comparative parenting turf. Druckerman, 41, has three kids that she’s been raising in Paris. On the origins of her book, she told the Daily Mail in a recent profile: ‘My French friends didn’t have to hurriedly end phone calls because their kids were shouting for something…They were, overall, just more relaxed. It was a cumulative effect, which lead to a ‘hang on, maybe they’re onto something,’ So I decided to look into it.’ ”
Here are a few of the differences Druckerman found:
- While childhood trumps adulthood in the States, the opposite is largely true in France.
- French parents have boundaries particularly in protecting the sanctity of parents’ private life.
- French women don’t suffer the same guilt about everything.
” ‘The French are absolutely not draconian about their own rules. 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 it’s a process — you don’t suddenly arrive at being a brilliant parent.’ “
There are a bunch of other examples in the article as well as another funny story at the end.
I would love to relax and act more French with my kids. I am thinking I will try to implement some of the ideas at home – mainly the one where I don’t let the kids in my bedroom anymore.
What do you think? Are the French better parents? How can Americans mimic their laissez-faire attitude?