When Just Being Present Is Not Enough

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“… the study found that what’s especially crucial is the mother’s ‘sensitivity’ – how attuned she is to her child’s experience of the world.”

“Kids fared better with a caregiver who was sensitive, whether it was a nanny, a grandparent or a nursery worker.”

The above quotes were taken from pages 140 and 141, respectively, of Pamela Druckerman’s French Children Don’t Throw Food. I bought this book when I was at a stage where I was doubting my own beliefs and principles in parenting, due to various external pressures. I was hoping that this book would give me some insight into raising well-behaved human-beings and in some ways, that it will confirm what I have always believed to be true. I am glad that I am reading it, because it seems that my understanding of how parenting should be is extremely similar to what the French believes in. I am beginning to fall in love with France.

Being a stay-at-home mom, I hope that my consistent presence in my children’s lives especially during their early years make a difference to them. That is one of the main reasons for me to choose the diaper bag over the laptop bag. However, as I spent my days changing soiled diapers, washing milk bottles and trying to persuade a toddler to take his bath every single morning, I began to doubt if my choice was a wise one, if not a practical one. There were times when I know that I would have reacted differently to my children’s behaviour if I were a working mom. And I began to realize that by just being present is not enough.

I find Druckerman’s book engaging because it doesn’t tell me what I should do to my children. Instead, its message is more on what I can do for myself in order to be able to provide the right “framework” for my children to grow up in. Yes, I like that word – “framework”.

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