Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 52150
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2022/05/27 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2008/12/2-7 [Politics/Foreign/Europe] UID:52150 Activity:low 85%like:52148
12/2    for sodan parents: []
        \_ OH yes I believe this. American parents are TOO laxed and spoil
           their children. This is reflected with the fact that American
           people are loud and self absorbed and it's always about
           ME ME ME have it my way or no way. Lame. French >>> Americans.
           \_ Can't agree more.  --- parent of 4-yr-old and 2-yr-old
        \_ Why would I want my children to grow up and be Cheese Eating
           Surrender Monkeys?
           \_ For one, you'll have a more enjoyable parenthood for the first
              20 or so years of their lives.
              \_ and be bitterly wondering in a super cheap retirement home
                 why your kid is such a rank and file lower middleclass java
                 monkey too quiet to be noticed and too scared to speak up to
                 make it into mgmt.
2022/05/27 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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WIDGETS FEATURE FOCUS back forward Is Maman mean or magnifique? Janine di Giovanni Last Updated: 12:01am BST 15/06/2007 Living in the heart of Paris, Janine di Giovanni sees daily evidence that French mothers are strict with their children to the point of cruelty. A New Zealand friend, a mother of three, recently texted me: "I am in the park and just saw a French mother kick her son hard then go on talking to her friends while he cried. Living in the heart of Paris, Janine di Giovanni sees daily evidence that French mothers are strict with their children to the point of cruelty. Parenting French style: civilised behaviour is drilled into children from the moment they can speak A few days before that, sitting in a caf near the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, which is unabashed baby central, with my (French) husband, I saw something even scarier. A tiny child, just walking, was trying to catch up with his chic and slender mother, who was furiously pushing the buggy deliberately too fast for the baby to get close to her. The child was crying frantically, red in the face and holding up his tiny arms begging her to carry him. "Don't say it," my husband warned seconds before I nearly said, "what is wrong with these people?" Instead I muttered, "well, that kid will be in therapy for the rest of his life." I joke about these things, but it's not altogether funny. One of the toughest things I have had to get used to in an otherwise idyllic Paris is the huge gap between Anglo-Saxon (or Italian American in my case) parenting and parenting French style. advertisement But as a result, you find beautifully brought up children, and many of my French friends who are parents will argue endlessly that instilling discipline and setting boundaries is the way of showing the utmost love. Dr Caroline Thompson, a French child psychologist and family therapist who was educated in America until the age of eight and had a British father, agrees to some extent that children should not be completely indulged. Although Thompson favours the early educational system in America, which is more loving than in France - where children start strict, all-day school at the age of three - she recently wrote a book entitled The Violence of Giving Love about how dangerous it can be to make children the centre of the universe. She points out that in Anglo-Saxon cultures, certainly in American culture, children are generally thought of as being the centre of the world, whereas in France, they are most certainly not. In Britain, new mothers read the gentle and loving Penelope Leach; But in France, mothers read one of the gurus of French child development, Franoises Dolto. Dolto was an authoritarian who believed that children should be separate from their parents and live their own lives. "Dr Spock would be too lovey-dovey for a French parent," laughs Thompson, who adds that this all filters down to the educational system. Which is not altogether a bad thing if you have spent time in America and observed the phenomenon of spoilt-rotten American children. I will never forget my husband's horror when some visiting Upper-West-Siders I barely knew arrived at one of our dinner parties with their uninvited nine-year-old son. except that Seth was one of these precocious Manhattan kids who had to sit at the table with adults. He completely took over the evening, interrupting adults' conversations, and - to the delight of his besotted parents - performed a 10-minute hip-hop routine between courses. The child would have been paraded out to say bonsoir, peck cheeks, and then scurry back to his or her room to read or study. "Children in France are seen, but not heard," says one American friend, Katherine, who is a mother of two. "Except on the playground, where the parents don't get involved and then it becomes Lord of the Flies." Because I am accosted with a version of French parenting every day - I live in front of the Luxembourg Gardens, and see the endless parade of mummies - I do an informal survey of my Anglo girlfriends in Paris on their view of French parenting. She tells of a mother of two whose youngest child was in hospital for a week. When he was released, the family immediately left on a beach holiday, along with a nanny the baby had not met before. The mother wanted to go to the beach and instructed the nanny to feed him. When he would not eat with the stranger, the mother sent him to bed hungry and screaming. He ate when he woke up, ravenous, and this time, he let the nanny feed him. Another American, Mary, also the mother of two, blames it on the French educational system, which does not encourage creative interpretation. She also believes that child rearing has not progressed beyond the 1950s. "What has always puzzled me is why generation after generation of French women raise French girls to become French women - bitchy, competitive, anti-fraternal, unsmiling, the preternatural Froide-ness." An English friend, Sophie, wrote of seeing a French child eating sand in the park. When she politely informed the mother, the woman - who was deep in a book - retorted, "Maybe she will get sick and it will be good for her. Sophie's explanation is that France has one of the highest percentages of working mothers in Europe. "I am amazed at how fast they dash back to work, leaving three-month-old babies in the crche," she adds. But other friends rushed to the French mother's defence. One English woman, a mother of three who has lived in France for 20 years, said the hardest thing she had to get used to was how schools and hospitals shut out parents. "You leave your children there, and voila," she says, "you don't see them again." But she explains that it is purely a cultural difference. So if you take your kid to school or the hospital, you have no say in the matter. It's up to the teachers and doctors to decide what's best, not you. That is why you see children alone in the hospital all the time. It would do their heads in completely if they had to think out of the box." An American friend, Susan, who grew up in Paris and is the mother of three boys, explained: "It's always shocking for Anglo-Saxons to hear the shrill 'a suffit' that is the refrain of all French mothers. They speak with sharpness that is alarming to the uninitiated." "They think they are doing their children a favour, which is to civilise them. Teaching your children proper behaviour from the earliest age is of almost moral importance." She recalls taking her five-year-old son to the park and telling him repeatedly not to do something. An elderly woman was eavesdropping and suddenly reached over and pinched the boy's ear until he squealed. "I know she, and every other French grandmother, would think that is for the good of the child. Anglo-Saxons tend to see children as charmingly thick savages who can be taught manners in a superficial way. The French grasp the deeper meaning of civilised behaviour as soon as they can speak, and drill it into them." My son's godmother, who is French, also believes in discipline (though she is a highly loving and supportive mother and godmother). She says, "there is something called l'heure de l'adulte". "The big difference is that the French believe strongly in creating those divisions. Look how well behaved French children are, compared to American children." When I see my six little French nieces and nephew, lined up neatly with plaits, scrubbed freckled faces and pinafores, parroting "Bonjour, tante Janine," and "Merci, tante Janine," and going off to their violin and piano lessons, I know she has a valid point. But the hippy, earth mother part of me still wonders about originality, creativity and free thinking. I worry that all this repression and enforced manners will kill any creative drive. But then I think about Seth, the kid from the Upper West Side who invaded my living room and destroyed my dinner party. On that note, I am very happy to live in France and follow the French model.