. . . At least, according to this book on child raising over there. I was reading this article on Yahoo today, Are French Women the New Tiger Mothers?:
"Parents used to look to doctors for advice on raising kids. Now they look to other countries. The latest contender for the world's best mom is from France. Author Pamela Druckerman's new book, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, asserts that the Jerry Lewis-loving culture is better at raising children than Americans."
Needless to say this book must be filled with generalizations, but I admit I find the premise intriguing. According to the article, the "French" way seems to be perfectly in line with my idea of how I would raise my own children, were I to have any (and I'm not planning on it anytime soon).
I've always believed in the philosophy of my mother and grandmother, which is pretty much the old-fashioned adage that children should be "seen and not heard." In other words, children should know their place and never, ever talk back to adults. But, to be honest, I would simply settle for teaching them good manners. Wishful thinking, I know, since I don't yet have children and have no idea what it's really like to wrangle them in. Yet I've watched my sis-in-law with hers, and I'm impressed by how well my nieces and nephews are not just in public, but at home when we come to visit as well. And she's definitely not into this new-agey "let's be friends" style of parenting I see in the parks and on the sidewalks of posh neighborhoods here in NYC.
"But there are some things we can teach the world, too. 'American parents are known for putting their children first,' says Newman. 'As a result, children overall feel and know they're special.'"
Uh, yeah. I don't much care for this line of thought. I think kids are coddled too much these days. And if you make them feel *too* special, chances are they'll just grow up to be entitled dick wads expecting the world to fall to their knees at the slightest command. No thanks. We already have enough dick wads in this country to begin with. Let's not feed that, m'kay?
Anyway, yes, my views are easy to hold for someone without children. I've already established that. But what do the rest of you think? I'm eager to know.
I'm also kind of intrigued to read this book now. I don't for once buy into the conceit that the French are better parents than Americans. Or that you can even judge such a thing to begin with. But I would like to read more about what these differences are. I do believe in teaching children a more realistic view of the world, which is that life is pain and suffering and full of assholes.
Hey, it's how I was brought up. And I turned out okay. Uh . . . right?
Yeah, it might best if no one answers that! :)