Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'American' parenting - Stop generalizing!

In a new trend, Americans are being compared to other countries in terms of parenting abilities and techniques.  We've all heard of Tiger Mom, now we are hearing about Le Tigre Mom.  In a new book entitled Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, author Pamela Druckerman claims that the French are better at raising children than Americans!

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

Now, we all can learn a thing or two about parenting.  But we all do what works for our family, and what is best for our children (right?!).  When can we stop judging each other and just BE GOOD MOTHERS!?! The things that are 'better' about French parenting- discipline, delayed gratification, children sleep through the night, children are not as picky with healthy food, and the mothers lose baby weight faster. Really? Now, I have not read this book yet- but it sounds to me like the French have less parenting guilt than Americans.

They tell their children 'no', they put them on a schedule, and they expect them to behave. Well, I'm not French, but I tell my children NO, my children are not picky eaters and they sleep through the night. Many American mothers are challenged with working full time and feeling guilty about it- which can lead to less discipline. But that is not all of us! Not all of us let our children misbehave in public, without doing anything about it. I resent that generalization. I'm sure there are wonderful French mothers, but there are also amazing super-moms over here in America!

[caption id="attachment_248" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="image source: http://amusingyou.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/no-complaints/"][/caption]

I have to agree with Meagan Francis, author of The Happiest Mom. "There's no more effective mom than one who is true to her own principles and is open to new ideas, without jumping on every new fad just because somebody said it results in better kids." AMEN to that!

Disclaimer: I am not claiming that I am, or ever will be "super-mom."


  1. I like what The Happiest Mom said. I definitely think that Americans are way too lenient on kids these days. Thankfully you've raised yours to be manageable in public :)

  2. I think that generalizations are just that, generalizations. American v. French parenting is a generalization. There is no ideal (or at the very least no agreed upon) way to parent, but as a whole there could be something "Americans" (in general) could learn from "French" (in general) and vice versa (pardon my French).

    The trouble is that the people who would need the parenting model aren't the people who are reading this book, just the moms like you who are concerned, which is basically step 1 in any parenting manual anyway (written or unwritten).

    Now how you show your concern is a separate issue. Pam is (presumably) just saying she was able to channel that concern in a way she had not previously been open to, not that Americans are bad parents. Also, I'm not sure "French" parenting or "Tiger Moms" are a trend/fad. They are seemingly just other cultural norms. Incorporate the parts of it that work for you and leave behind what you decided is not beneficial.

  3. That's it, I'm becoming French! :)

  4. I agree with everything you said, but I would add this focus on other cultures and how they raise their children may be a reaction to the past generation of American children- and the fact that everyone thinks their parents were too lenient.