Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crouching Tiger hidden BeBe

Why it is that parents are so obsessed with what style of parenting is best. There is the Tiger Mom Amy Chua who was all the rage last year with a style of very strict discipline to the recent phenom of the French Mom Pamela Druckerman with her book Bringing up BeBe and her kids are not the center of a parents world approach.
I would like to give a few excerpts from an interview about the newest book Bringing up BeBe:
(taken from)
About a year and a half after having a baby in France, I had a kind of epiphany. I was with my daughter and my husband in a restaurant at a French seaside village, and I realized that she was the only child who was whining, throwing food and refusing to eat anything but white bread and French fries. The French kids all around us were sitting contentedly in their high chairs, waiting for their food or eating fish and even vegetables. And they weren’t being “seen but not heard.” They were chatting happily with their parents.
Once I started thinking about French parenting I suddenly had lots of questions. Why did most of the French moms I met claim that their babies slept through the night by two or three months old, but that they never let the babies “cry it out?” Why was it that when my American friends came over, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids’ spats? But, when French friends visited, the grown-ups had coffee, and the children played happily by themselves?

Behind this is an important philosophical difference. Americans tend to think that babies are helpless blobs. The French believe that even a tiny baby – though he’s needy and vulnerable – is also a rational person who can learn certain things, such as how to sleep. French parents are really gentle about teaching their babies this skill. If the baby keeps crying, they pick him up! But they’re sure that soon enough, the baby will learn how to sleep long stretches. And they think that having a baby who sleeps well is better for the child, and for the whole family. Any sleep-deprived parent can tell you that they’re right. 

What is the “wisdom of French parenting?”
The French believe that it’s important to be very strict about a few key things, but then to give kids as much freedom as possible about the rest. You can really see this at bedtime. French parents tell me that at bedtime, their kids must stay in their rooms. But within their rooms, they can do what they want.
I introduced this concept to my daughter, and she really liked it. She didn’t focus on the fact that she’s confined to her room. Instead she kept saying, proudly, “I can do whatever I want.” She usually plays or reads for a while, then puts herself to bed. The French don’t try to micromanage their children’s lives, and they aren’t scheming from the crib to get the baby into Harvard one day. They give the kid a lot of autonomy and free time; but what rules there are, the child has to obey. In my own experience, this fosters self-reliance and mindful behavior that, as an American parent, I might never have imagined in such young children.

I want to say that the whole "French Style" of parenting seems like it is all based on common sense to me and should just be called parenting.
I am new to this whole parenting thing and I am still learning but aren't "seasoned" parents still learning every day?
Karter is a happy baby.
I had good parents who were busy and may not have been able to go to every school event or make dinner every night, but it taught me self-reliance. Did I wish they were at my Karate tournaments or Basketball games, sure I do, but all the same I am a happy and well adjusted person who has an amazing family who are also wonderful parents.
I believe in the concept of letting my toddler cry it out at night, this does not mean I will not go check on her but I am going to give her a good solid 30 minutes of crying before I do. Most of the time, she falls back to sleep on her own, without being coddled. The other times when she keeps crying she may be wet or poopy.
I do the same with my 3 month old son as well but I may only let him cry for 10 minutes and usually that is enough and he will calm down. I think this is good for them because it does not spoil them but they know we are there when they need us.
Kylie playing in the cabinets.
Karen and I teach our children the value and meaning of the word wait. Kylie has even learned the sign for it and will use it when we do in conjunction with saying wait. We actually taught Kylie quite a few signs to use with her words and she always uses them to express what she wants.
Our children it with us at dinner and eat what we do for the most part. If we go to a restaurant, Kylie sits and eats with us and does very well in fact.
I encourage exploration and play time. We have the same adult time as the French while Kylie plays. Sure, she may come over if she is tired of playing by herself but she usually brings a book with her and wants us to read it to her which I see as a great thing.
I believe in discipline as well and that kids still need structure in their lives. Without it ours kids may grow up to be like a lot of children, spoiled and entitled. I do not want my kids to be like that at all and here is some of what I would like from my children (this list changes in my head a lot):

  • Be courteous and kind to everyone
  • Play
  • Explore
  • Be honest
  • Do not call people names or pick on them because they are "different" from you.
  • Find value in everyone
  • Respect your parents and teachers
  • Try your best no matter what you are doing
  • Use your imagination and be creative
  • Use common sense
  • Be the best you that you can be.
  • Do well in school
  • Never be afraid to talk to your parents about anything
  • Know that we will love you unconditionally

I know this seems like a daunting task of impossibilities, but over the course of a lifetime I think it is not too much to ask.

What kind of parent will I become? That I do not know, but what I do know is that I will be the best parent that I can be and hopefully have happy and well adjusted parents.
In the end, isn't that all any parent could want?


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