Countercultural parenting

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Hello there, I live in Brooklyn, NY, which is pretty much ground zero for bananas parenting (and I say this as a total leftie artsy type). Your work really resonates with me - I think a lot of people would be surprised at how many of the basic messages resemble those of the whole French parenting craze :). My question to you is this: We have a 17-month-old that will soon have to be shepherded out of the center of the universe. I was raised in the Northeast but my family is Southern - when we visit I'm consistently impressed with the manners on most children there. I don't see much sense in insisting on "sir" and "ma'am" as a rule if those things aren't culturally reinforced - I like the custom but, grown-ups here don't expect it and are sometimes discomfited by it. However, things like not interrupting while I'm talking to another adult, not making herself the center of attention at all times - these are things I plan to work very hard on, but where we live most parents fall on the other end of that spectrum (lots of explaining to 20 months old why they have to give the next kid a turn; lots of "do you think you can give mommy that toy?", etc etc. Well-meaning, good people, but it seems a bit senseless to me). I foresee situations in which, say, I am trying to train our daughter to wait until I acknowledge her when talking to another mom - but then that other mom lets her kid bound into the conversation whenever, for example - I hope that doesn't sound like I think I'm better than anybody, I just wonder if scenarios like that are confusing for a small child. In short - do you have any advice for parents trying to raise a well-mannered child in a context where those manners are not necessarily the norm? SIncerely, Emily

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