French Parents Do It Better? (Video)
French Parenting Advice
I first heard about the book, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman from a journalist friend, Liz, who recently moved with her husband and two small boys from Nashville to Paris.
Her observations on French life often leave me in stitches as I read her Facebook posts. Finally, she has started a public blog: I am Carla Bruni’s Neighbor. (Go read it.)
Liz’s most recent post is basically a rebuttal of Druckerman’s thesis: that the French are fabulous and genius parents, that they “educate” their children by teaching them to wait and that they feel no parenting guilt. Here is a Wall Street Journal book excerpt, if you haven’t seen it.
Liz, who hangs with an international group of expats, writes:
“…they are much more willing to wage emotional and physical warfare with their children than my friends and I are (and remember, I’m representing not an American perspective but an international one). It obviously can’t be said that all French parents are the same, but what passes for acceptable here as a means to make children compliant is unacceptable to every expat parent, no matter the nationality, I know.”
If you have any inkling to go out and buy into Bringing Up Bébé, go read Liz’s essay first. Lots of first-hand look at what parenting in France looks like to an American raising children in France.
On Dominican Parenting
All this on the heels of the The Tiger Mom Amy Chua, who told us Chinese-style parenting was superior…and which many American parents bashed for its strictness.
Bringing the Latino perspective to the topic of the potential French parenting craze, is Carol Cain, in an essay titled: “Are French Parents Superior? Not More So Than My Dominican Ones.”
Carol says she sees similarities between the French method and the way she was raised by her Dominican mom.
We never spoke out of turn. We understood and accepted our place in a room full of adults. Though I remember being loved and nurtured by my mother and know she cared for us deeply, I don’t recall her ever sitting down to play with us or help us do our homework. My siblings and I would have never dared to throw a tantrum in a restaurant or anywhere, and if we did, once was all it took.
Carol says she’s taken the best from her upbringing, but modified it in her own family and she advocates getting rid of the parenting guilt.
…from where I stand, the only difference between the French – and Dominican – way of parenting, is that Americans are riddled with emotional guilt. So much guilt that we look to our children for guidance in how to raise them and give them what they need to be happy and fulfilled.
Cuban Parenting DNA
And me? I did a video (see above) and post a couple of years ago about the push and pull in my own little cabeza between Modern American Parenting and the more “traditional” Cuban-style I grew up with.
Time out? Qué es eso? You’re getting the chancla.
Do you want the pink sippy or the blue sippy? Ha! Te doy lo que te doy, y no jodas.
OK, OK, I exaggerate a tiny bit…but there was way less coddling on some stuff and no real room for negotiation y nada que una buena paliza wouldn’t fix. I would bet my family felt little guilt after discipline was handed down.
I’ve taken the best stuff from the parenting I got (and I include the discipline I got from abuelos and tias and tios) and melded it with what feels right in my heart, and what works best with my own kid.
We don’t spank, we try not to scream and we allow for some conversation and negotiation. But, we’re firm and we take no caca. Sometimes I cave, but ask personal friends and I will likely get voted the Hard Ass Mami — hard ass in comparison to them, I will say.
The longer I am a mother, the more I know I have no idea what works best for other families.
But, I will say that the “real” French way Liz describes gives me the willies.
Are you attracted to the French style of parenting Druckerman describes?
What parenting ideas did you keep from your own upbringing?
What are the benefits of cross-cultural parenting: Taking a little bit of the old and blending it with the new?