Those French, or Put Your Children Last

So, apparently the French don’t put their children first.

Those French!

I heard about a magazine article written by an American woman raising her child in France and discovering that the parents there expect their children to learn to accommodate them – not the other way around. Which means:

  • – no sippy cups
  • – no childproofing
  • – walking strollers in high heels
  • – no toys all over the place
  • – going to bed on time so parents can have their adult time

And more.

Wow! What a good idea! Certainly, this doesn’t just sound like some random invention of those cranky Europeans; it reminds me of ‘how things were done in the old days’ on this side of the pond.It used to be like that here – but in the last thirty years or so, we’ve gotten into this mindset that we ‘do it for the children’ to the point where things are pretty out of balance.

The outcome?

1) Our kids grow up with an inflated, egotistical sense of entitlement. With a “soccer mom” around, who needs a servant or a slave? Kids learn that their whims, needs, get catered to; they get cell phones and rides on demand; the family schedule revolves around their schedules; the family vacations, the house location – all of it is about what’s “best” for them.

2) Women become identified as “mothers” only – which, here, is tantamount to second-class status / near servility. Harried, exhausted, stressed, and completely banished to the sphere of children (playgrounds, PTA meetings, soccer practice, playdates, dr visits) whether working or ‘stay-at-home,’ the mother/wife/woman is a domestic servant. Her life, her needs, her friendships, her sexuality, her career, her hobbies, are LAST on the list. Not only does this ruin her as a person, but it sets up her sons and daughters to believe that this is the predictable status/end of every woman.

Let’s re-prioritize and re-balance our homes and our lives. Without a solid identity, a solid marriage or romantic partnership, without friends and a life and being valued as a person first, a woman-mother can’t be the example to her children for how to live a happy, fulfilled existence.

So: Let the kids struggle a bit with the regular glass. Teach the kids not to interrupt you when you’re on the phone. Make your children adhere to a sensible bedtime. Instill in your children a sense that they are part of a community, a household, a world – not that they are the driving center of it.

And they will grow up to respect you, others, and eventually themselves – and the world! – and you, likewise, will respect – and not dislike – your grown, adult children. If this doesn’t work: Send them off to France.


3 Responses to Those French, or Put Your Children Last

  1. I love this post. Love it!! This is what is wrong with so much of this generation. Parenting is a “hobby” or a “lifestyle”, not merely a part of who you are. I can’t stand so many parents these days because they are so emotionally invested with every.little.thing their children do – and I’m talking about grown children. My co-worker won’t speak to her 22 year old so because he wants to buy a house. If my son is capable of buying a house in two years when he is 22 years old, I will have a freaking party!!!

    I am happy to say that my sons never saw me as anything less than an equal to their father!

  2. Holly says:

    Love this, I wish I had understood how valid it was earlier in my parenting adventure.

  3. Kylee says:

    You have such an informative and well written blog. And I love your tips! great stuff! Kylee

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