Let me preface this post by saying, I think it’s fantastic that parenting styles of other societies are being written about and discussed. By examining our own norms and reflecting on the practices of others, we arrive at new and hopefully better ways of doing things. I was a philosophy major, I thrive on these types of conversations.
I bristle a bit when we are led to blindly revere new ideas and denigrate our own. I’ve been seeing articles from the illustrious Wall Street Journal titled, “Are French Parents Better?” and “Why French Parents Are Superior.” I’m sure there are kernels of wisdom in the book and I may even read it someday, but dammit I hate being told someone else is better than me! Especially when it comes to my family.
I trust my gut in almost everything. I know my kids better than anyone, especially the French. On the permissiveness scale, I fall a little more on the side of strict. Still, my oldest is reserved, cautious, well-behaved in most situations, so he gets a little more leeway when exerting his independence. My two-dler, on the other hand, is proving to be more adventurous, less hesitant, and… he bites. So he’s on a tighter rein. For me, parenting is situational, not an absolute.
Patience is a virtue, no doubt, and it’s a hard one for kids to practice. American society values independence, ambition, and a level of self-confidence that borders on cockiness. Is it any wonder we aren’t good at teaching patience?
You love your kids. You’re doing the best you can. You want to do better. Everyone’s healthy and happy. Don’t doubt that you’re a good parent.