French mom vs American mom?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2004
French mom vs American mom?
6
Wed, 01-13-2010 - 11:18am

I was reading an article in a parenting magazine the other day while sitting in my OB's office. It was talking about an American woman who married a French man and moved to France and raised two children there. She was talking about the differences between how American's raise their children and the French. A couple of things that I found interesting. . .


1. Her first child at 3 or 4 I want to say was in preschool and they wanted to take them on an over night trip. I don't remember where but most of the French mom's were completly cool with the idea and most of the American mothers (she said it was about 50:50) took their children home for the weekend. That the French mom's enjoyed their weekend without baby while she and others were at the park in the rain. The second time around she let her children go.


2. She had a close friend and how when you walked into her home in the living room you couldn't even really tell that she had small children. That the children had rules and lived by the adults way. Where many times in America we alter everything to work around the kids instead of the kids being part of the adult world. She said that her house was not even really "child proof" like some people consider with locks on everything and plastic bumpers on the corners of the coffee table.


What do you ladies think of this? Would you let your 3 year old go on an over night class trip? How about your living room not being covered in baby gear? Or little to no baby proofing?


 Cassie 

     

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Wed, 01-13-2010 - 11:46am

My three year old is likely going to fly down to Atlanta and spend 3 or 4 days with his Grandparents without me this summer. I have no issues with it. If he was in school I also won't have an issue with his going on a trip overnight, if I trusted everyone there.

As for baby proofing, we baby proof some, but not a ton, no rubber bumpers, we do have plug covers, but since the almost 3 year old has been able to remove them for 9 months or so they aren't really that useful. We have gates, but DS was climbing and going down the stairs without me supervising him by the time he was 18 months or so. That being said we live in a small house so our living/family room is covered in child toys and stuff since that is where we all spend most of our days. We make the room safe for the child, but we don't remove all hazards necessarily.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2006
Wed, 01-13-2010 - 3:14pm

I think it's always really interesting to see how child-rearing norms vary from among cultures and countries. Actually, our Bringing Home Baby instructor just reccomended this book about different practices for raising children around the world: http://www.amazon.com/Our-Babies-Ourselves-Biology-Culture/dp/0385483627.


On the two points you raised...


A field trip for a 3 or 4 year old? The first question that comes to mind is what would be so interesting or meaningful to

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-17-2007
Wed, 01-13-2010 - 3:28pm

I would probably not let Ry go on an overnight class trip at 3, but I would be fine with him staying overnight with a trusted family member or friend - heck I'd be fine with that now!

As far as babyproofing goes, the only thing we've done is bolt the bookcases to the wall. We don't even have outlet covers or cabinet locks on anything. I think we are going to put cabinet locks on the cupboard under the bathroom and kitchen sinks this weekend, because Rylan has started opening and shutting the cupboard doors, but honestly, if you're watching your kid, it's pretty easy to pull them away from something that could hurt them, and Ry's at an age now that if I say, "NO!" really sternly, he stops immediately. Bolting the bookcases to the wall was a must because he's a climber and I have some seriously overloaded, top-heavy bookshelves.

That being said, I see the reason for some babyproofing if you have a more curious child, but I think some parents do go way overboard.

As far as children working their lives around the parents instead of the other way around, I'm not sure I totally agree with that. I am not a slave to Ry's schedule, but I know what he can handle and what he can't without melting down. Our living room is definitely covered in baby gear, but we have a small house so there's not enough room for all of Ry's stuff in his room. I'm not sure what other choice we would have...

-Megan

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wttg
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2006
Wed, 01-13-2010 - 4:22pm

I wouldn't let my 3 year old go on an overnight trip with school.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Wed, 01-13-2010 - 6:13pm

Well Cassie... I don't know if it's a nationality thing or just personal preferences of each mom...

1- I would not let a child so young as 3 or 4 go on a field trip with the school/daycare. No way! But I would probably leave them for a couple of nights with grandparents.
2- I think you need to have a big house or a very disciplined child (or be a neat freak), to have a home that looks like there are no kids living there!!!! I mean, there are homes where the baby's toys are literally all over the place, and that is not ok. But you can't expect to have everything organized either.

About baby proofing... there I see a difference... we do baby proof stuff around here, but only critical stuff like plugs or locking away toxic substances and cutting tools. You don't see the bumpers and special kiddie locks you see in american homes. In fact I grew up in a house with stairs, and besides teaching us how to climb up and down safely, my parents let us roam free (they didn't put a gate or anything). And none of us fell through them!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-28-2005
Wed, 01-13-2010 - 7:52pm

someone on one of my other forums posted about this.

i don't think i'd be comfortable leaving my child over night for a "field trip" at 3 or 4...unless the daycare was a trusted friend or something.

i'm also not sure about having a house that you wouldn't know had a child in it. HOWEVER, i do think that these manufacturers scare us into baby proofing everything so we spend a lot of money on that stuff. in reality, i feel like baby will not be able to learn to respect adult spaces with everything baby proofed. locks and covers on everything only keeps them out, it doesn't teach them not to go in in the first place. think of it this way...if we baby proof everything, how is the child supposed to know how to behave when you take him/her somewhere, perhaps to a childless friend's house?

i think our current plan is for outlet covers in the beginning (and pay attention obviously, so we can tell tadpole "no" when we see him going for an outlet, even though it's covered), a lock on the cleaning chemical cabinet, and a gate at the top of the stairs (since we live in a raised ranch and have living spaces both up and downstairs).








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