So since I’ve been blogging I’ve learned a lot about American parenting. I’ve happened upon blogs pertaining to a certain parenting style and its effectiveness. For example nowadays someone might question your parenting style or ask you what kind of parenting style you have, to which one could answer, I am a Free Range Mom, I am an Attachment Parent or am a Natural Parent. For me, while I’ve read all information about each type of parent, I am reluctant to stick myself into one particular category. I guess if I had to, I’d stick myself in the Natural Parent category. While I am guilty of baby wearing because it is comforting for baby and convenient for me, I wouldn’t consider myself an attachment parent, because I believe in teaching self-soothing. But While sipping my coffee this morning I was watching a program that was featuring this book called “Bringing Up Bebe“. This is a book written by Pamela Druckerman about how the French parent their children. There is no “type” of parent in France. You simply educate your children on how to be little people. In fact most of the French don’t even recognize the word “Discipline” in English, it’s simply education. I’m not sure if the word doesn’t translate correctly, but according to Druckerman the french call raising their young “educating” their young. Now I have no idea if Druckerman just had a blind eye to any tantrums children threw in France, but I like the philosophy behind her book. So I downloaded a sampling of the book on my iPad.
I too think Americans (myself included) worry about what people think of us and in turn “over parent our children”. And I think more and more of us are Helicopter moms. Basically not letting our children experience what we probably experienced on our own as children for fear our kids will get hurt. Part of the problem with over parenting I think is not wanting to do the same things our parents did or didn’t do. We’ve all heard stories of when Uncle Billy came home from school, his mom heard him say a bad word and he had his mouth washed out with soap. If you ever did that to a child today, that would be considered child abuse. But we laugh and listen to the stories our relatives tell us of when they were young and got whooped for disobeying. Or we hear about all the freedom kids had back then. The whole town was free for a kid to ride their bikes everywhere, but today, we don’t even let an eye wonder when our kids are playing in their back yards. What has caused this paranoia, this helicoptering effect? Are we robbing our kids or just protecting them from eminent danger?
Has this helicopter effect taught our kids to be whiny with the inability to play by themselves and self entertain? Do we always have to hover over them and be their entertainers? According to Druckerman, french little kids play pretty well by themselves and don’t need their parents to entertain them. For me, I love getting on the floor and playing with my kids, when I was a child care provider it was my job to entertain and stimulate their little minds. But since baby number two has come along and I’m no longer a child care provider, I tend to want to have a lot of my own time. I want my son to learn how to play by himself and to entertain himself. He’s usually pretty good at that. I will sit and listen to him role play with his toys at the age of two, pretending to be different people and I would get excited knowing he was using words he had been taught or had picked up, in his playing. I felt like I had done good. But it has been a hard skill to teach him since I have been his entertainer since he was a baby. He’s doing better and better at it each day.
Back to my point, I think American parents are too worried about what others think of our parenting that we have developed all these “methods” of parenting, and French parents simply raise people. They look at their children as little people who you can rationalize with, and I have to agree. Now I’m not in any way saying that any particular “style” or “method” of parenting is wrong, I’m just saying I do what is best for my children without sticking a “style” or a “method” behind it, and I do agree mostly with “Natural Parenting”. I think there are probably some truths behind this book, but also just the French Culture plays a lot in how kids are raised in Europe in general. I think, in America we “infantize” our children until they are adults and then when they are ready to be on their own we automatically think they should know how to be responsible, how to handle money, expenses, etc. It’s a process that should start when they are little. Treating our kids like little people, instead of infants until they leave home, helps them to be better, more responsible adults.
So what type of parent am I?
I don’t know but I have some personal beliefs. I think all mothers should breast feed for at least two weeks before quitting, I think parents should read and be teachers to their children from birth and prepare them for their first year of school and not expect the school or teachers to do it. I think parents should be involved with their child’s education. I think that spanking should be a last resort when all other methods of discipline have been exercised, I think that everything a child does can be a learning experience and it is a parent’s responsibility to stimulate that learning environment. If you child asks a question expand on that, get them thinking about their world and environment. Some parents are too busy, they do just what is essential for their child’s survival and their children fall behind in social and behavioral skills.
What kind of parent am I? Not sure, but I will tell you that I am in the “Business of Raising People”. What kind of parent are you and do you think certain “methods” are better than others?
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