French parenting is the new, hip parenting technique that helps you raise better-behaved children that actually do what they are told to and don’t throw tantrums in public places. It’s tres chic, super popular and much talked about, but before you order a book and vow to raise your kids like a true Frenchwoman, let’s see what French parenting is all about.
French parenting is not about acting like a drill sergeant but calmly letting the child know who is in charge. Your “No” has to be non-negotiable and you’ve got to believe it, too! No yelling, no freaking out, no lengthy explanations – be kind and composed but remember that you’re in charge.
This parenting technique stresses the importance of self play, meaning that you shouldn’t fall over yourself to make sure your kid is getting all the attention, all the time. Your child should be able to play quietly when mommy has things to do and not go postal whenever your attention has to be turned away from him or her.
Becoming a parent doesn’t mean you stop being everything else and French parents apparently benefit quite a bit by practicing what they preach. Family time is dynamic and enjoyable but they also enjoy adult time and believe that it teaches the children to be respectful family members instead of self-centered despots.
Teaching children that they can’t have everything right away is a pretty big deal. Parents teach their children to wait for their turn, refrain from interrupting conversations, enjoy their sweets in moderation and honor a certain eating schedule. It brings peace to a dining table, makes eating out with kids an actual possibility and, hopefully, prevents kids from turning into real-life versions of Joffrey Baratheon.
French parents are the decision-makers in the family but that doesn’t mean their children are denied a chance to be independent. Au contraire, loves – children are encouraged to be independent. French moms don’t hover over their children on playgrounds, nor are the children kept in a protective bubble until the age of 18.
No kiddy food here because the children will eat whatever the family is eating. And, being raised to eat my soup, peas and all the gross veggies only a caring mom can make, I don’t find this terribly odd or wrong. It saves time, builds healthy habits and, hey, let’s talk about eating out some more and just try to imagine how much easier life could be if you could actually pick something off the menu and know your kid will eat it.
The French don’t overburden their kids with extracurricular activities, shuttling them from one practice to another until the poor dear is too tired for anything family-related. They like to spend more time together as a family and consider it a problem if family members can’t find time for each other.
Overly liberal parents might think French parenting is a sort of a boot camp for kids but I’m pretty sure most of you will recognize this concept fairly easily. Don’t you think it’s just good old-fashioned parenting with a new, fancy name? Fancy or not, would you care to try any of these things?
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