11 responses to “Why it Doesn’t Matter if Your Parenting is Superior”

  1. Josette at Halushki

    I think the goal is to raise a child that is civilized according the not only societal standards, but also to cultural (ethnic, personal, family) standards. And there is a lot of variation within that. A “good child” in one culture, does not necessarily look like a “good child” in another culture while the process toward the ultimate goal is happening.

    I’ve noticed that different cultures arrive at different “mini-goals” at different ages and stages, so while a rambunctious 5yo boy in one culture is a-okay since a “crack down” happens at a later age (and that’s the expected norm within that culture), while a rambunctious 5yo boy in another is not tolerated. Some lessons come sooner or later, but (anecdote/personal opinion alert) I honestly do think they happen.

    Anyway…I’m just seriously tired beyond caring what other people are doing with their parenting in comparison to mine. I ask for opinions from people whom I know and respect personally, and from all cultures. The rest is all bluster for all I know.

  2. me

    Teaching kids to be able to entertain themselves for more than 30 minutes is not the same as having them totally afraid of you.

    The same goes for teaching them to respect boundaries. Neither of these things excludes social awareness and ability to handle relationships.

    “The so-called French parenting method seems to make life easier for parents who want to socialize. How does either method help the kids cope as adults?”

    Being able not to be center of attention every single moment helps you cope with the situation where you are not the center of attention. For example, when the boss in work have something to do or if your spouse talks with a friend at the party. Basically, it makes you a much more pleasant adult. Those tend to have better and longer relationships.

    Anyway, there is nothing wrong with parents socializing.

  3. Ann Haaland

    Mais, oui! You nailed this one on the head. As a parent of full grown happy and successful daughters, I can tell you that it helps to never lose site of the adults your children are going to be. Being a superior mom or dad is not the point. The “grade” doesn’t go to us. It doesn’t go to anybody. It’s really quite simple. People need to survive in a not always understanding nor tolerant world. We have to help those little people we love grow up to be big people who thrive.

  4. Jennifer Fink

    God bless you, Jen Singer!

  5. Laura Laing

    Denise, you read my mind. I did read the article about French parents, and I found myself nodding my head throughout the entire thing. But the headline absolutely stinks. To me, the parents that the article describes have good boundaries and expectations of their kids. It’s not about superior parenting — it’s about that stupid Dr. Phil question: “How’s that working out for you?” I do think that kids respond well to clear messages that are repeated firmly.

    My favorite part of the story was when the French mom was on the phone. She didn’t scream at her kids or beg them to stop interrupting (as I’ve heard *many* of my friends do), and she didn’t try to ignore them. She took two seconds to calmly explain what she expected. I do think this approach works — perhaps not all of the time or with every single child on the planet but more often than not.

    For me, it’s not about who is the superior parent, but what techniques get everyone what they want — attention, a little freedom and a little bit of time alone.


  6. Denise


    I’ve not read that article/excerpt yet (it’s on my growing list of stuff to check out!). But as you might know I wrote about French mamans a couple weeks ago on my blog:


    I agree with you that (a) we have to prepare our children to leave us (a major theme of my book); and (b) we’re all way to judge-y of ourselves as well as other mothers, which is what, I think, leads to the guilt that we’re not doing it “right.”

    But I disagree that expecting respectful treatment from your children, or maintaining boundaries (such as sending kids up to bed at night so you can be YOU for a little while) are not detrimental to kids if done right, nor do they run counter to the (a) and (b) above.

    You quote a guy who says his kids are bored on long car trips, whereas it wouldn’t have occurred to him to tell his parents he was bored. I had it like that, too. But I was not terrified of my dad! Far from it — he was a loving, warm, nurturing father (in fact,he’s my biggest fan). But he maintained boundaries and expected respect. And he (and of course my mother) prepared me for adulthood by design and by example (did a good job, don’t you agree?!)

    Parents like mine just plain old didn’t worry about what other parents were doing. It wasn’t in the zeitgeist, it wasn’t on their radar.

    (I also don’t happen to think that either Amy Chua, or perhaps this other writer, are saying they are “superior.” I happen to think that’s the way the media’s framing it, and the way we, vulnerable as we are to parenting guilt, are taking it. IMHO, as always!)


  7. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)

    I love this!

    I find it ridiculous when people generalize cultures and parenting techniques and claim superiority. One country is not better than another country when it comes to parenting. It’s down to individual families to show love to their children. If all children just felt loved, we’d all be better off.

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  9. Christina

    So true, Jen! Parenting seems to be the new dieting these days.

  10. Monica Bhide

    Now this is what I want to read!! That story really annoyed me. Thanks for posting such a terrific and insightful response.

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