Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Do French Parents Do It Better?

The latest volley in the debate over which nation’s approach to child-rearing is best, the French way of parenting has received a strong vote of confidence in a new book, Bringing Up Bebe [1], where an American mother of three has found many things about the Parisian way of parenting preferable.


Remarking on what she learned after reading Pamela Druckerman’s book -- subtitled, “One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” -- the Huffington Post’s Debra Ollivier [2] said she too noticed stark differences between American and French child-rearing when she lived in Paris.


“Sixteen years ago, when my first child was born in Paris, I baby-proofed our apartment with rubber edge liners, covers on electrical sockets, latches on windows, locks on drawers and toilet seat guards,” Ollivier wrote. “The parts of our living room that weren’t bound and shackled were filled with happy, fluorescent kiddie toys. My French neighbor Genevieve took one look at our place and said: ‘Your apartment looks like a psych ward.’”


Lessons Ollivier drew from Druckerman’s book: “Kids are not king in France -- and if you treat them as such, they quickly become tyrants with a sense of entitlement that sticks around well into adulthood. Though they love their kids passionately like everyone else, the French generally don't subvert their identities to the lives of their children.”


Plus, Ollivier said there’s no mommy guilt and families don’t place their offsprings’ needs ahead of everybody else in the family, specifically, the mothers'.

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