Today, I will write a little more about how Dr. Dolto impacted the way I raised my kids. Did you know that in France, there is a “before Francoise Dolto” and an “after Francoise Dolto?” She did so much to influence a whole generation of parents. Her books were addressed to all and, in her late years, she had a radio show answering listeners’ letters with general knowledge, helpful to many.
But, back to my own experience. One thing I remember that was very important to me was to inform my children about my moods. I was often stressed or anxious. I would tell the children that their mother was not in a good mood BUT that it had nothing to do with them. This created two great solutions: one was that I had to admit (become self-aware) that my mood might impact others; the other was that it helped liberate them: they could enjoy their day without feeling anxious that they were causing my distress. Acknowledging my mood helped me get a little distance from it and it helped the children separate, not feel implicated in their mother’s status.
Francoise Dolto in her later years.