A discussion/analysis ofthe differences between raising children in different culturesby: Rosanna Amato and Melissa Jurado
Idea of Parenthood France United States of America French believe the baby fits into the American families typically family, not the family into the baby want to change their life around The families do not have to change to adapt to the new baby their normal routine just because a new baby has come into it. Parents feel overwhelmed They want to buy parenting books, Parents are happier research, and read about parenting Make time for themselves techniques. Do not devote all their time to They feel as if there are not enough children hours in the day Parents do not get frantic about having a They devote many hours to their baby children They have a more calm approach Very panicked something will go preparing for a baby wrong Druckerman says: ““French parents are very concerned about their kids… but are not panicked about their children’s wellbeing” (3)
Idea of “Tough Love” in FrenchCulture• French children experience tough love from their parents from the very beginning.• Parents will allow children to fuss and cry in the crib. In comparison with American parents who immediately go to their child when they hear crying.• French parents teach their children how to sort through problems on their own until the parent is really needed, such as feeding/changing diaper.• French parents think this idea of having kids who need “instant gratification” makes life unbearable• Druckerman explains this idea as the:“Let it be principle” - Let the children entertain themselves - Do not make child’s life constraining for the parents (Druckerman, 143)
Lack of “tough love” in the U.S. Parents want to meet every demand of their children to make their children happy. They will sacrifice much of their own time for the sake of their children . This is seen by the use of sophisticated technology where American parents have to have the latest baby video monitors so that they can see and hear the baby at all times to see if the baby is safe and needs anything.
Discipline in France Stricter Children are taught to be respectful, especially in front of adults They do not act out in public Children have expectations instilled in them from the very beginning. “When I ask French parents how they discipline their children it takes them a few beats to understand what I mean. ‘Ah, you mean how do we educate them?’” (Druckerman, 7) French view “discipline” as educational, not as punishment Druckerman found that discipline is a seldom used category and “education” is something they imagine they do all the time as parents (Druckerman 7) “American children have no boundaries, their parents lack authority and anything goes. This is the antithesis of French ideal. French children have very strict limits and the parents strictly enforce those limits but within those limits the children have a lot of freedom” (Druckerman 68)
Discipline in United States Parents in the United States use negative re-enforcement which makes the child learn that when they act out, they can get what they want. Children act out in public Tantrums in stores when the child doesn’t get what they want We can see how in the United States children are spoiled, children are picky eaters, children are obese, watch excessive amounts of television, etc. Parents feel guilt because they are working many hours and do not spend enough quality time with their children and so they overcompensate French mothers recognize this guilt, “but the difference is they don’t valorize it. To the contrary, they consider it unhealthy and unpleasant, and they try to banish it.” “Guilt is a trap” (Druckerman, 146)
French children adapt to adult routine Children in France are taught to act like an “adult” at an early age. They are not picky eaters, they do not throw food, they eat in an adult manner. Expected to behave while parents are mingling with other adults. French children begin to sleep throughout the night much earlier than American children ( 2-3 months old) French parents can not explain why there children sleep throughout the night, but the speculate that it is because they expose children to light during the day keep them in the dark at night French parents put their children in a certain “rhythm” for bedtime The fact that in American we have TVs, nightlights, and other distractions in the bedroom, it can ruin this rhythm for children. Once the children begins his or her education, they are taught that speaking properly is important “The French logic seems to be that if children can speak clearly, they can also think clearly” In the United States, parents are too focused on buying baby-literacy DVDs, and everything else, not focusing on the children’s thinking, cognitive skills, and rationalization.
Differences in cultureFrance United States of America Culture is not work-based Work-based culture Does not have a competitive nature American culture is such that parents are very Siesta – children and parents eat lunch busy working, as a result it causes parents to and spend time together. not spend as much time with their children • French parents do want their children to and parents feel guilt for this and want to be stimulated spoil their child in an effort “to make it up to • Such as talking to them and taking them to them” tennis lessons, but are not as obsessive 1980s – started a stigma that children need about overstimulation as Americans are. more stimulation, now Americans over • French mothers realize the perfect stimulate children. mother doesn’t exist and they say it to Signing children up for soccer, ballet, each other to reassure themselves. violin, etc. • “While some American toddlers are They over pack the children’s schedule in getting Mandarin tutors and pre-literacy an effort to be successful within the training, French kids are –by design- competitive nature of American society. toddling around by themselves”(Druckerman 7)
Pamela Druckerman Interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGk5NvZZfRM In this interview, Pamela points out very interesting facts she discovered while raising her own child in Paris, France.
Our Thoughts after Research We were both found the topic to be interesting and our research helped us open our eyes to a different approach in child rearing. We think that some of the ways the French culture chooses to raise their children are very effective. However, we understand the cultural differences and believe these ideas just might not work in the work- based competitive culture of the United States. We believe that being made aware of these suggestions and the differences of child rearing in these countries can offer parents ideas to think about when they are raising their children.
Bibliography Druckerman, Pamela. Bringing up Bebe. New York: The Penguin Press, 2012. Print. This books focuses on the differences that the author saw in French parenting versus what she saw through her experiences or friends experiences in the United States. "French Parenting? Thats good ol American Wisdom."Charlotte Observer. N.p., 27 002 2012. Web. 3 Apr 2012. This website comments on the book listed above and well as comments on our cultural differences and how times have changed. Sealey, Geraldine. "Supermom Smackdown." MarieClarie. N.p., 22 002 2012. Web. 3 Apr 2012. <http:// www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/pamela-druckerman-interview>. This website provides a written interview between Marie Claire and Pamela Druckerman. It provides information on what Pamela Druckerman to become interested in observing the differences between French and American parenting. Druckerman, Pamela. Internet Videoconference Interview. http://www.askmen.com/video/sports/pamela-druckerman-bringing-up-bebe-interview-video.html This is the reference to the video interview that we have provided as part of this presentation. It contains additional information on observations that Pamela Druckerman writes about.