after having my son i became interested in the many different types of parenting styles. i don’t believe in reading books to tell me how to be a good mom or anything like that, but i’m open different perspectives. that said, i’ve been reading a book for many months called Bringing up Bebe, by author Pamela Druckerman. i love this book for many reasons. first of all, the author is a working mother in France. secondly, its in FRANCE! okay, there is a third reason; its tells of the difference in parenting theories from the US and France.
more importantly than where it’s based from, is the fact that i’ve learned of different people in history (France) that have made an impact on how society has changed in its parenting styles, mainly based on location and culture. there was a woman named, francoise dolto, who was passionate in understanding children and babies. as i’m reading this book, and learning of dolto’s work, i’m becoming more and more intrigued about parisian parenting. this isn’t to say that i agree with everything that’s done elsewhere or not. its more about the ideals shared in the reading that made me ponder if its worth trying with my own kids.
dolto believed that children, even babies, were more intelligent than given credit. she also thought that by talking to kids (even at 6 months of age), they understood what they were being told and could comprehend earlier. this makes perfect sense to me. think about it…if you want what you’re saying to be heard, then you have to speak it to the person, right?! so, why would it be different due to age? i understand that there is a difference in age when it comes to what is being comprehended, but there has to be a starting point. if you talk to children as if they aren’t intelligent from the start, then you’ll see those results in the years to come. on the flip side, if you speak to a child as if they will understand what you’re saying and explain whats happening in the world around them, they’ll begin to see what you’re saying is true and fair. that all leads to a better understanding of themselves and their surroundings. i’m totally loving this!
you all know that i have two kids; a 2 year old son and a 11 week old daughter with down syndrome. as his mom, i think my son is extremely bright. he loves to read, build things, “pretend” fix his toy cars, etc. i am completely biased since he is mine, but he knows his ABC’s and can count. this may be nothing special to some, but he’s special to me.
now, my daughter is different from my son. she is petite, dainty, and tenderly loving. she is such a beautiful little girl. again, biased, but knowing that she will face challenges that my son won’t leads me to believe that she is going to maintain the sweet & tough girl personality that she has already shown. ingrid is still quite young. she hasn’t reached the milestones that we’ve gone through with brixton, but she is well on her way. she is doing wonderfully, given the rocky start that she had faced.
this brings me back to dolto’s theory. if by treating children like little adults (i say this with serious sensitivity..not all situations are appropriate for kids to be treated as adults), then they could potentially become more resilient and intellectual earlier than a child who is “babied”. there are so many ways that this can be taken and taken wrong. i hope i haven’t confused anyone with my own point of view. i just think dolto has a lovely point. so, i’m trying it with my kids. my husband and i have never talked to our kids in baby talk. we use our regular voices to speak to them. more so because we’re desperately trying to avoid whining (even if it’s not possible, its worth a try!), but if it has multiple benefits, that’s even more comforting. personal gain isn’t our objective. its to raise our kids to be the best they can be in this life. i want them to understand that they aren’t the only ones that are on this planet and that there is a whole big world to be explored, physically and emotionally.
by becoming a bit more familiar with the parenting philosophy in France (Paris), i have a new respect for other opinions and styles. again, not to say that i have to agree with them all. i just think it is very useful information. a new outlook on any aspect of life, such as parenting, is always refreshing.
if you get a chance to read the book Bringing up Bebe, please do. it’s a great read. the author is an extraordinary writer and gives her own personal experience of raising her child in Paris. also, you may see it from where i am..trying to be a great mom, but a unique one at that.