Last year, many American moms who read Amy Chua’s book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” felt inferior to Asian mothers who, as Amy Wilson puts it in the Huffington Post, make kids "do arpeggios till their fingers bleed.” Now, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal about the newly released book “Bringing Up Bébé,” by Pamela Druckerman, this year it’s the French to whom American mothers are comparing themselves.
Druckerman, an American who moved to Paris with her British husband 10 years ago, says French parents teach their kids how to "delay instant gratification" by refusing to cater to their every whim, and as a result, they bring up kids who don't binge on snacks, don't interrupt and don't throw tantrums. Among her lessons for American parents: “Children should say hello, goodbye, thank and please,” and, “when they misbehave, give them the ‘big eyes’ - a stern look of admonishment.”
Wilson isn’t buying that les mamans françaises have a superior argument.When Druckerman asserts that French children receive only one snack per day, at 4pm or so, Wilson responds sarcastically, “Have you ever heard of such exotic meal planning? Nothing like American kids – every last one of them an obese embarrassment, ‘snacking all day’ like they're on one long Willy Wonka Cruise.”
But others argue that there are some important lessons in Druckerman’s book. Baby Center’s Samantha Schoech writes that French parents seem better at saying “no” and notes that French parents make conversations between adults possible by forbidding children from interrupting at their every whim. Lastly, she agrees that, “teaching your kids to play by themselves is generous and important.”
But where is the need for a worldwide mothering competition coming from? Since when are we obsessed with figuring out who churns out the winning kids? Or is a little healthy competition between mothers a good thing? Weigh in here.