This article about French mothers has me thinking about the ways different cultures parent. Things like, the French are wonderful about teaching table manners. Jordan told us she was in awe when she visited a Paris pre-school and saw 2 year olds eating bananas — they peeled them without assistance, carefully sliced them with knives and forks, then ate each slice, also with their forks. At age 2!
Or how about Sweden, where there’s a focus on children spending time outside. I was blown away when I learned there are preschools held entirely out-of-doors! Then of course, there are my English friends, who talk about how commonplace the idea of boarding school is. But I don’t personally know a single American family that sends their kids to boarding school. My brain can hardly wrap itself around the concept. : )
Another example has been on my mind all week. Our daughter Olive, age 10, is on a school field trip. She left on Saturday morning, and won’t be back until Friday night. A one-week school trip! They are at a ski resort 9 hours away. Can you imagine? Our other kids have never done anything like this at her age, but here, no one seems to think it’s extraordinary at all.
We miss Olive like crazy, and as usual, the house just doesn’t feel quite right because someone is missing. But we get daily reports that everything is going swimmingly and I’m sure Olive is having the time of her life.
Please share. What parenting styles/techniques from other cultures would you like to copy? Have you ever changed your parenting style when you moved to a new state, or to another country?
P.S. — The article also has me irritated because it makes French mothers sound so mean. I’ve spent time around lots of French mothers this past year and have seen nothing but the typical, compassionate, in-love-with-my-kids mothering that you can find the world over. Also, the images of the very well-mannered Baby June were taken by Wendy.