I don't want this:
I apologize for the video quality, it is the best I could find.
In the video above the media has illustrated the type of parent-child relationship that I do not want with my child, it is ugly and embarrassing that this is considered normal in America. I would go so far as to say that this commercial is intended to be cute and relatable. Is this what the world sees when they look at American parents?
Keeping in mind Druckerman is an American commenting on another culture, she seems to have carefully observed and researched some of what is different about American and French parenting. I enjoyed the fact that this book was a personal story with one mom's perspective about the good and the bad of parenting here and there.
Reading Bringing Up Bébé was encouraging for me, validating my instincts and encouraging me with the things that I thought I was compromising on. I would choose to be a stay-at-home-mom if I had the choice, and as an American I feel very guilty that I am in a position where I will be working and using daycare, according to Druckerman nearly every mom in Paris works, and they seem to have found a way to balance family and work, meeting the child's needs and their own.
So here is what I am taking away from the book (in brief):
- Children can and should learn to be patient and occupy themselves - for example when I am making a phone call it is within reason to expect my child to wait until I am done before I attend to minor needs.
- Children should be treated with respect and can be expected to treat others with respect, even if they are shy it is reasonable to require a child to say hello, goodbye, please, and thank you.
- Food does not need to be dumbed-down for children - serve them what you are eating, plan meals that are flavorful and interesting, do not expect or allow them to only eat nuggets.
- Parents and children need autonomy - it is OK to take a child to the playground and monitor from the edge while visiting with other adults, children do not need to be followed around and entertained by a grown-up at all times.
- Create a framework of boundaries and allow for plenty of freedom within the boundaries - Have rules, be firm about those rules, but don't have too many.
I highly recommend this book to any parent who watches the commercial above and must stop herself from hurling, I would also encourage any working parent who is struggling with guilt. Take courage, our children can grow and thrive and develop into amazing people, even if we can't be there 24/7.
What actions do you take to help your child(ren) learn to be amazing?