Mon, Nov 04, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Collaborative discipline

Parenting classes take France by storm

By Catherine Fay De Lestac  /  AFP, PARIS

Among the tools suggested to ensure a “balanced life” for the child is to draw up a schedule that plans out activities down to the half hour: homework, football and violin practice, without forgetting time to read, dawdle or be with friends.

“Parents wonder how to be as effective as possible with the little time they have. They are under pressure from society to succeed in everything,” said Emmanuelle Guilhamon, the architect of Temp’O Jeunes.

“Parents don’t trust themselves anymore. If they listened to what they have in their hearts or in their gut, they would know how to solve the problems,” said Guilhamon, who has four children.

‘My mother’s a drag’

“The bond with the child has become the most precious in life, because the love bond is fragile, ephemeral,” said psychologist Beatrice Copper-Royer. “You expect a lot of it, and many parents are afraid of approaching it badly, of not being up to raising the ideal child that they want.”

She added: “The boom in the coaching market reflects the disarray we see in parents. It’s very revealing of our society’s performance cult. You have to train yourself as much as possible to have the best possible child.”

A mother who gave only her first name, Celine, took her seven-year-old son to a number of professionals including a speech therapist to little avail.

But “thanks to ‘positive discipline’, I put myself in my child’s place: ‘Brush your teeth, do your homework, hurry up!’ ... I thought, ‘My mother’s a drag.’ It was a shock.”

Since taking the course, she said: “My son cuddles me all the time. It’s magical again to be a parent.”

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