Have you heard the controversy over the French Mom parenting book? Basically, an American named Pamela Druckerman, who has lived a number of years in Paris raising her three kids says that French parents have boundaries with their kids – while American families seem to let their kids rule their roost. She cites the family dining experience as the perfect example. American parents rush food orders and give their kids toys, snacks and iPads to get them to wait. French kids just wait.
Druckerman says that it seems to all come down to creating patient kids. French kids are not raised receiving instant-gratification, so they learn to entertain themselves. They play by themselves and wait for their parents to be ready for them. They're self-reliant at very young ages.
Druckerman's tips seem like common sense: give in to your kids' crying and whining and kids learn that it gets our attention. Don't give in – and you'll teach kids to be more patient and self-sufficient.
But for a lot of us – that's easier to say than to do. In this go-go-go culture, we are programmed to respond to emails, Tweets, FB posts, boss or client requests – immediately. It's only natural that the same goes at home too. It's very difficult to turn ourselves "off."
Because this article has weighed on my mind – and the minds of many of the parents on my staff, we decided to ask the Care.com Working Mom Message Board how they felt about the article. Here are a few of their answers:
"I, for one, can't disagree with the observations and the behaviors I see in my children. This article gives me the desire to re-look at how I'm interacting with my kids."
-- Rebecca H.
"I read the article to my mom (she is visiting) this morning. She thought French parents sounded like, 'old American parents' and said that, 'Parents today pay WAY too much attention their kids and let the kids run their lives.'"
-- Kimberly M.
"I think that while it works for the French, it wouldn't work for me. I would never expect to teach my baby patience by not responding right away. In my opinion, I don't know that it is so much obedience as much as it is learning their needs aren't as important."
-- Andrea A.
>> Join the discussion
Whatever your parenting style (French Mom, Tiger Mom, Take-Each-Day-As-It-Comes Mom), it’s important that you share all techniques with your nanny, babysitter or anyone caring for your child. Everyone should play by the same parenting playbook so you don’t give your kids mixed messages.
In the meantime, tell me and my staff what you do when your kids whine – and how you get them to sit still at a restaurant.