Saturday, February 25, 2012

French vs. American

I can't help but react to the article that pops up about everywhere in the Internet world. A big controversy that raised an eyebrow of countless American mothers, even though it was written by one. Pamela Druckerman has been living in Paris for many years with her husband and 3 children. While raising her daughter there, she started to realize that French kids behave a bit differently, that they have better manners than her own child, they don't throw tantrums in public places, sit quietly through dinner in a restaurant and play independently without even bothering their own mothers. She currently published her book "Bringing up bebe", where she describes all the fun stuff American moms are apparently missing.
As a European living in US, I think I have some fair share to express my opinion. I wouldn't necessary call it the French thing. There is no secret that kids in Europe are much calmer, more relaxed. Most of the things she says are in fact true. But, with every praise, there is also a downside.
I think the biggest problem of moms in US is that they focus their energy on reading too much material about how to raise their child. I did it too and stopped right after I moved over the pond. And boy, let me tell you, it made my life much easier. Media persistently put pressure on how to educate your child and make him smarter, but forget to add tips about how to let him be a kid.
Another problem is the constant supervision. Always making sure he or she is doing it the right way. After watching an intriguing document about babies from all over the world, I could just see how kids from different continents play and discover the difficulties on their own whilst still being watched by mothers, minus their nervousness.
And last thing is food. Unfortunately, we are not that lucky as French people and finding a real baguette might be a mission impossible, but the truth is, you can always try to do better. I cannot figure out the snack system though, my child would declare hunger strike without having them. But I keep trying every day and hopefully, one day there's going to be only an orange at 4pm.
Now, let's go back to Europe. Don't kid yourself, they are plenty of bratty kids over there as well, yet they do seem to have more peacefulness and most importantly, they act adequate to their ages. But I would also like to point out one thing European kids are missing. And that is a confidence. And I am not talking about the overconfidence effect most kids in US could give away, I am talking about the self-esteem parents in Europe don't support as much as it is needed. That leads to another problem, which is thinking outside the box. Children are not taught to go in different directions. American kids have a huge advantage since they've been learning this skill since their tiny age. That said, it really doesn't matter if your are French or not, being a good parent is about listening your own intuition, chill and have fun. Don't let your child being the boss but show him the right path he should follow. We are all in this together, so cheers to a universal child!

Picture above found here

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely agree with you Lenka. European children are brought up in a different way of living. In my opinion, brining up your child in the European, calmer, more relaxed way is better, however there are also bright sides to the US way, for example, not puting boys first and girls are pushed into the corner.
    So i guess every place has its good and its bad, but I know, that my child will be brought up as a Eruopean.

    great article !