I finally read Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe. Initially, I planned to read it for Europe in my International Literary Project. Since that is on hiatus, I decided not to wait. I’m glad I didn’t! This book is fantastic and I’m convinced I was meant to be French. My strict parenting philosophies were affirmed and I picked up a lot of great tips. I’m careful to avoid making assumptions about parenting; however, we do use Gwen for quality practice and so far so good. Here are a few points that really hit home.
Patience IS a virtue
French parents say yes more than no but that doesn’t mean kids get everything they want immediately. Letting a child know that they have to wait introduces good habits (less snacking or wasteful spending) and creates a more realistic sense of self. When kids receive everything when and how they want it, they are being set up for later disappointment in life. The key is understanding that you can have a treat but you have to wait until the appropriate time. This concept is made possible by the cadre…
Leaders are essential to avoid chaos. In a family, the parents are the leaders and the cadre sets the course of leadership. When parents create a world that’s predictable it gives the entire household the ability to be confident and comfortable with expectations. Leadership isn’t dictatorship. Parents have to let children live life and make decisions for themselves; however, the number of options they have to chose from must fit within a structure to keep life manageable.
The 4 Magic Words
Americans are taught the importance of please and thank you but hello (bonjour) and good-bye (au revoir) are considered bonus phrases. In France greetings recognizes someone as a person and are imperative. When children are excused from saying hello or good-bye they are given a difference set of rules that separate them from adults and create a new set of expectations and behavior. These short acts of recognition set a tone of mutual respect and reinforce the aforementioned cadre.
The most important thing I took away from the book is that parenting isn’t a plan. I can’t decide this is how I want my kids to be and train them to be that way. It’s an assimilation process. I have to do these things now. Namely, points one and three – bossiness comes natural to me. So here’s to more thoughtful life choices!
- Eliminate snacking and eat at the dining table every night
- Don’t whine to Danny to get him to do something (although it’s very effective, I HATE it when children whine)
- Greet people when I see them and be attentive in saying good-bye