The word parenting makes me cringe. It must be because ex wanted to inflict parenting
classes on me when she put me on trial for child abuse; or perhaps because I had too many visits with my girls supervised by Comprehensive Family Slaughtering, which was in the business of putting me back on the right parenting track.
Since I have not seen my girls for so many years, parenting is a painful topic to me and I tend to avoid parenting articles in the press. This one – Why French Parents Are Superior (Pamela Druckerman) caught my attention. I told myself that there was perhaps something there to learn about “Frenchness” in parenting that the folks from Manhattan Family Court missed.
First, don’t let the title of the article freak you out. Druckerman wrote for the Wall Street Journal and this is a politically correct article in the Murdoch world, meaning solidly anti-French; Not the New York Post’s way (“a good French is a dead one”), but the Wall Street Journal’s way. Druckerman feels she has to tell the reader she is not sure to be willing to live in France (one wonders why such a thought would even occur to her); She surely does not want her kids to grow like “sniffy Parisians.” Oof! One never knows.
Besides well-known facts – French parents have a life as adults while Americans parents don’t- there are interesting points in Druckerman’s article, like her discussion of disciplining a child in the American and French parenting traditions. There is one thing missing in her piece though (I can’t help being a sniffy Parisian, even if I have been living much longer in New York than in Paris): the word “parenting” does not exist in French. It just ain’t. The French raise their children (“élèvent leurs enfants”). So what? Perhaps parenting in France is more geared towards kids and not so much towards being a “good parent,” meaning giving the kids what parents did not have and think they should have: a good neighborhood, a good school, a good career…
I wonder how France and the US fare on the parental alienation’s front.