Why French Parents Are Superior…

After my post entitled “I don’t want to raise a good child…“, i thought i would not be posting about parenting any time soon. But here i am with another article i read some time ago and just can’t get it out of my head. So here it is:

Why French Parents Are Superior by Pamela Druckerman – WSJ.com.

i have not been to Paris or been able to observe French parenting in action. But from what the article describes, that’s the sort of parent i would like to be – one who is calm and authoritative without screaming or yelling. i also wished i had read this when my boy was little. While i am very firm and strict with my parenting, it did not come without the loud shouting matches. Now my boy is getting older, and has learned the boundaries and rules, i am grateful as my discipline volume is no longer on loud, just on medium. i just need to get it down to speaking volume 😉

i fully agree that if a parent is firm and speaks with conviction, the child will listen. Children can indeed smell fear or at least know when their parent are likely to cave. Give them a tiny chance and they will challenge your authority, just because they are kids and are testing to see when the state-line ends. If one is clear as to where that line stands, then it will be clear to the child too and they will, quite amazingly, keep within those limits. The ‘big eyes’ with an accompanying firm and stern, “Child’s Name!”, usually works for me.

i also believe that there is no need to repeat the same instructions with the same threats again and again. If the kid chooses not to listen, then the threatened consequence should be carried out. That’s why one should always threaten with something one would be comfortable carrying out.

18 months, entertaining himself, feeding his toy cat water 🙂

The other thing i agree with the article is the need for children to learn to play on their own. i’m very glad that i read about this (in another parenting book) when my son was little. Even then, at 9 months old, he was already resisting playing on his own, insisting that Mummy plays with him all the time. It was tough but we now have a child who can go play by himself if we request that of him. And he does not feel neglected in any way. He understands that there are times when Mummy/Daddy need time to themselves. Time by himself also gives him space to unwind and relax. i completely understand that parents love their children and want to spend as much time with them as possible, especially when it is your first child. i felt the same way but resisting the urge to pay my son constant attention has its rewards 🙂

i leave you with these:

French Lessons

  • Children should say hello, goodbye, thank you and please. It helps them to learn that they aren’t the only ones with feelings and needs.
  • When they misbehave, give them the “big eyes”—a stern look of admonishment.
  • Allow only one snack a day. In France, it’s at 4 or 4:30.
  • Remind them (and yourself) who’s the boss. French parents say, “It’s me who decides.”
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Kids have to learn how to cope with some frustration.

Has this been helpful? Will you adopt some of the French parenting techniques? Or maybe you are already using these techniques without even realising it?


2 Replies to “Why French Parents Are Superior…”

  1. This is the kind of parenting that I think is best. My neighbour has two small children and she is constantly screaming at them. I’m convinced her problem is that she has not handed out consequences for their disobedience other than simply screaming at them, which loses its effect after awhile. I think if you tell a child to do something and they don’t do the first time they are asked, then instead of shouting, then it’s simply time to start handing out punishments or taking away privileges.

    I also agree about kids playing by themselves. Parents are not meant to be playmates or friends and children do need to learn to respect the boundaries adults set and realise that their wants are rarely the most important thing.


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