I've been a mom for nearly twelve years and even though I feel like I've read every parenting book and magazine, I am still searching for answers. I realize that being a parent is a constant learning game and what works for one child doesn't always work for another. So with three children, who are all very different, I feel like this parenting thing is just one big experiment!
Since my move, I no longer have my Young Mothers Group to assure me that what I'm going through is normal and I needed a fresh persepective. I saw an article in a local paper about a woman who did some research on French parenting. After settling in Paris she noticed that the children there were so well behaved. Toddlers in restaurants would sit patiently, waiting for their meals and then they'd happily eat fish and veggies. While at a park she'd notice that children played quietly, without tantrums, and without demanding the constant attention of their mothers. She also found that most babies slept through the night by the age of 3 month and she decided she needed to get to the bottom of French parenting.
I have a love of parenting and a love of all things French so I was curious to learn more about this. The main secret to French parenting success is that rather than structuring their lives around a new baby, French parents expect a baby to fit smoothly into the life they already have. They set firm boundaries but allow great freedom within those boundaries. They discipline using "big eyes"...you know the ones, I'm sure you've seen as a child or tried on your own children. They also use "the pause" - where they take a moment, or a minute, before responding, to teach patience and restraint.
I'm not saying that these tricks will magically cure all of your parenting problems but they might be worth looking into. BRINGING UP BEBE by Pamela Druckerman explores French parenting and is said to be a fun read. I'll be reading this book, hopefully next week, and will be sharing other helpful tips.
Reading the article about French parenting got me thinking about how other cultures parent their children and what works and what doesn't. I plan on writing more about this and it should be a fun way to learn about other cultures and maybe walk away with a parenting trick or two.
“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.”
- Haim Ginott