Twelves Tips from French Mothers about bringing up children

A dear  friend is becomng a mother in February for the first time. Exciting times. The little one will have had enough of nine months in a warm, safe and cosy environment. It is time for an adventure, to be on the move. My friend will be engaged for hours in some intense mindfulness of breathing to facilitate the journey of the little one into the big world. I read last  weekend an interesting article on the role of the mother in England and France.  The role does vary even in neighbouring countries.I gleaned from the magazine article these 12 points. Some points might be relevant for mothers anywhere.

I know.  It is a generalisation.  Far too many English mothers show daily anxiety levels around their children and thus lose their way in relaxed parenting.  There is the veneration of anxiety as if anxiety shows that one loves one’s children. Some English mothers have been looking across the channel to French mothers to see what they can learn.  Here are 12 pointers from the other side of the Channel.


  1. Vegetables serve as the basic food for French kids at mealtime
  2. Mother chooses what her children eat
  3. French kids drink water at meals. A jug of water is put on the table
  4. Children must not interrupt parent(s) and vice-versa
  5. Best cakes and biscuits for children to eat are the ones made at home with the help of the kid (s).
  6. Give children meaningful chores
  7. Mother lets her child (children) know she has a life as well
  8. Don’t dress like a mum
  9. Children cannot barge into mother’s bedroom at any time
  10. Never argue with partner, family or friends in front of children
  11. Say Yes often and give reasons but should not be afraid to say NO and explain why.
  12. A French mother knows the power of staying calm as proof of skilful parenting.

There are limits to every culture. A thoughtful person acknowledges the benefits within a culture but also looks outside the culture to see alternative ways of responding to situations. A growing number of us have seen the cultural limits, as well as the dogma within our culture, and enquired elsewhere . The search  includes spirituality, religion, philosophy of life, mind/body harmony, medicine, exercise, music, sustainable living and so on. Parents have been told zillions of times, due in part to the views, if not dogma, in psychoanalysis and pyshotherapy that the roots of all our problems are in our upbringing.  No wonder so many parents become so fearful bringing up their children.

It is changing the causes and conditions that make for problems, for unhappiness. We don’t even have to make a single reference to childhood for that. Enough said.

 May all parents and children live in peace and harmony

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