Can you ask Druckerman why she so negates French governmental policies when talking about French parenting?
Wouldn't French-style parenting be easier if we had 16-36 weeks off, too, instead of just 6? Or if we knew that we had just a few short years until they began a free, quality childcare?
by superturbo edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:01:40 PM
I second the comment about govt. policies. I have lived in Europe, and there is more time off, more day care, maternity leave, paternity leave, e.g. more support policies... as an American parent, I have to do TWICE the work balancing kids and work that my European counterparts do... culture matters, but so do policies.
When will Americans stop simply paying lip service to family values and actually provide more family supportive policies? I'd love to give my kids a 5 course meal at noon for two hours, finishing with a fruit plate and cheese, but this is never going to happen even if I wanted to do it...
by jens edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:16:43 PM
Pamela Druckerman, Kerri's guest, looking very cosmopolitan.
by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:18:11 PM
@KerriMPR Ah, the arrogance of the French! My kids do all that they claim
Francoise Dolto, little known in America, a titan in France.
by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:22:52 PM
I've got two well adjusted and wonderful late teens--we basically raised them as your author suggests, and we got a lot of flak in Minnesota for not including our kids in all of our social events and making them the center of our existence.
We did not 100% reconfigure our home or our lives when we had kids, and we had (and have) great sleepers, eaters, and patient, well behaved kids who know how to interact with adults and their peers. I have loved the teen years and I think our approach to them as youngsters has contributed to how great our kids are turning out.
by Terri edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:23:46 PM
All of this parenting talk sure sounds a lot like my Montessori education, would the guest link the two?
by Daniel3/5/2012 4:24:00 PM
@stephcurtis she is conflating her parenting skills with ALL americans' parenting skills
Listening more to Mrs. Druckerman I do agree in part on culture; American parents are so focused on more, faster, better, instant gratification and that we don't teach children to be patient and work things out themselves, but isn't this in part due to the prevailing culture of parenting in America where parents are chided if they aren't constantly engaged with their kids? With "quality time" and always "being there" for their kids?
by jens3/5/2012 4:28:59 PM
How do French parents handle teenagers differently? Is there the same obsession with having their kids being super busy all the time? (sports, volunteering etc. outside of schoolwork).
How are American parents supposed to teach "patience" when a majority of American parents don't have patience themselves?
by rice3333/5/2012 4:30:36 PM
I completely agree with Ms. Druckerman. I feel guilty sitting on the bench at the park.
There are so many other mothers that I know that are giving so much to their children that they seem to lose themselves. Often times I feel like it's wrong to pursue my own interests like music & work.
by Lisa edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:31:38 PM
This style of parenting just seems like common sense to me, but I do agree the Europeans make it much easier for parents with paid maternity leave, better benefits, etc.
As a first-time mom of a 5 week old, there is so much contradictory information on parenting. Interesting subject, but I think you still need to go with your gut.
by Kerri B3/5/2012 4:33:25 PM
Lack of routine is my main challenge. When I grew up, dinner was @ 5:30 EVERY night and kids were expected to help w/ weekly chores every Sat. before they were free to "play".
Now, with 3 children, all in different activities, dinner can't possibly be at 5:30 each night (if we want to eat together), etc.
If there's no routine to stick to, chores don't get done and kids don't feel responsible to "pitch in". This feeds into the narcisism of the child and frustration of the parent. A tough balance to figure out ...
by Cheryl edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:33:39 PM
I think this is not only French parenting, but a lost art just the same. I was raised and raised my 2 children that the world does NOT revolve around them.
This is an adult world and we need to raise children to function in it. Now I work in a High School and there are so many kids who have never heard the word NO.
by DPardo edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:33:49 PM
Can the author comment on exclusive breastfeeding and French parents?
Research definitely supports exclusive breastfeeding is BETTER than formula and I'm having trouble seeing how this "French style" of parenting would incorporate breastfeeding on demand? Thanks.
by Melissa edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:34:04 PM
I'm wondering if Ms. Druckerman has any comments on Polly Platt's theories that French parents believe they are raising a citizen, a subject of the state, whereas American parents are raising individuals.
To the comments regarding French work ethic, the author is gravely misinformed. The French are 4th/5th economy in the world when it comes to per capita GDP.
by Madeleine Craig edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:34:21 PM
I'd like to understand the working siutation of French Families better.
Are both parents working? My husband and I both have pretty successful careers, we're working to save for retirement, save for college, and have a preschooler and an infant in Montessori.
We have little time to spend with our kids and when we do there's pressure for it to be quality, peaceful time. If I was at home full time, then maybe I would be napping at the merry go round.
by doublebirdmn edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:35:01 PM
(Limoges, France- Assistant English teacher in a public high school) I would say there isn't only support with in just the family unit but a large majority of children are taught life lessons from their community here. Many parents and children aren't on their own.
Tradition is also a large factor. Sitting in a park on a Sunday afternoon will show that bondage. From children learning to walk to grandparents trying to keep up.
by Tanner edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:35:17 PM
as regards food, if we do not offer "kids food" our kids will eat real food. It's not a mystery!
by katie3/5/2012 4:35:25 PM
Is this a basic difference in philosophy? Some people feel the kids needs come before their's and the kids lives take priority, others feel they are first and the kids second.
by Bilbo3/5/2012 4:37:11 PM
I lived with a French family with small children for a full year and have been back many times.
These are lovely people, but the French parenting style can be difficult to watch. Corporal punishment, yelling, very authoritarian, distanced/cold. I've seen it often in France in other families as well. I think the author is idealizing the French way to critique the worst of the American ways.
by Katie edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:37:36 PM
I am a mother who was living in Europe for several years while my children were small. I think that Druckerman's book is fascinating.
I experienced the same observations which she explores in this book. American mothers AND fathers need to loosen up, take a leadership role in parenting and not be so dominated by their young children.
This doesn't mean being bullies or abusive; it does mean being more confident in themselves and not to think of a child as the center of the universe. Children need to learn that others have feelings and they need to be respectful. Parents also need to let their kids be kids and not micromanage their children. I think that American parents would enjoy parenthood more if they just loosened up.
by Susan from La Crosse edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:38:17 PM
in my limited experience- French families don't seem to see any value in what I would call community spirit or the idea you would do something to accomidate someone else just because it would be polite- I've had to walk around french kids becuase they won't put their legs down in an isle, I've been stuck on planes as the French famliy slowly packs up, blocking all passages- there seems to be an attitude of "it's all about me- you just deal" (or maybe that's a refection on my American lack of patience : )
by kate t3/5/2012 4:38:30 PM
"To the comments regarding French work ethic, the author is gravely misinformed. The French are 4th/5th economy in the world when it comes to per capita GDP." What is the US ranking?
by Bilbo3/5/2012 4:38:34 PM
I think kids in High School in France have limited freedoms compared to the US and the french system is very strict so eventually it creates what the first caller's talked about. Personally I was a quiet student until I reached 14 but after years of sitting down and being silent there was a point where I became rebellious...
by Gaetan3/5/2012 4:38:50 PM
The "french" parenting described is the way our house has operated. We are not French. I think you are describing some parents but certainly not most.
Our child has always eaten bleu cheese, attended concerts (quietly), never asked for treats in a store. As with many parenting books, I think the author is describing herself and some of her American friends. You know the saying "I never woulda seen it if I hadn't believed it."
by Eunice edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:39:14 PM
I agree with most of this... and think I raised my child this way. But I also witnessed similar parenting in Norway so I suggest that the author has not researched this widely, as it may be more of a western or perhaps just a non-American approach.
I do not belief it is only a french thing.
On the other hand, I had a wonderful french 16 yr old live with me for a year and she behaved perfectly. I had another french 11 yr old for 3 wks and she and her french classmates misbehaved the minute they were unsupervised. I had another 20 yr old french person live with me for several months who was very not self-sufficient yet very strong-willed and independent.
So although I am sure all she writes about in her book is true and well-analyzed, I think similar parenting in other places.
by tlp edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:39:34 PM
When I was a child - my parents taught us to eat with this same grace. Once a month we practiced good manners and dining on new foods. We had to dress up and sit at the table and engage in conversation while trying several courses with my parents adult guests. We've tried the same with our children and feel that they are very well prepared to be in various social situations.
by Sonja3/5/2012 4:39:47 PM
Pamela Druckerman recommends having children bake REALLY young. 4. Here's a recipe similar to the one she has in her book.
by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:41:57 PM
I quick google; wikipedia says France is 20th in per capita GDP and another web site say 35th. Where did you see 4th or 5th?
by Bilbo3/5/2012 4:42:00 PM
I don't want to be rude but the author sounds like a naive, perhaps "ugly American" her first years in France: e.g., eating out with the kids and leaving a mess. Even in America that is bothersome and should not be acceptable but poor decision-making by parents has become the norm.
by tlp3/5/2012 4:46:30 PM
Our children eat what I make. I'm always reminded of the ramifications of becoming a short-order cook when the girls have friends over for dinner. They tend to not eat anything other than pizza and mac-n-cheese.
by Shannon3/5/2012 4:46:38 PM
I wonder: Do French parents (as a general term for this conversation) lather their children with hand sanitizer? I remember basically eating dirt with a mid-afternoon snack when I was younger, really only having to wash my hands before dinner. Pretty sure my immune system has always thanked me for it.
by Tyler3/5/2012 4:46:49 PM
Oh, we are such "francophiles" and even have our 5 year old loving to wear his beret. I am, however a little perplexed as to what age should I introduce smoking to him. He rolls cigarettes for me now,... I'm so proud. If only I could totally trust him with matches, then we could light up together!
by Don edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:46:59 PM
I have two sons, one is 8 the other 6. My 8yo is very polite and would sit in front of a marshmallow for days if asked. His 6yo brother is just the opposite, they have been raised the same...how is this explained?
by Jan3/5/2012 4:47:19 PM
I LOVE this conversation.
I had my 1st of 4 daughters in the 1990's when attachment parenting was supposed to be the "best way." About 6 months in, I just couldn't do it anymore.
I was sick of her stuck to me all the time, not being able to sit down, ever, and not being able to sleep (we co-slept) or have my own personal space.
Unfortunately, I guilted myself into continuing this crazy lifestyle for another year until I had a miscarriage.
It really affected my relationship with my daughter. We had so few moments that we enjoyed, and I think it is because we were always in each other's faces and both of us are introverted people. She's 14 now.
by Jess edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News3/5/2012 4:47:44 PM