The art of being a parent in the 21st century as seen by Jean Epstein (52)

On the occasion of professional meetings of early childhood, Jean Epstein, a psychosociologist, gave two conferences, one for professionals and the other for parents, on changes in the family. The second was less followed but just as listened to.

For two years, the professional meetings of early childhood, in Chaumont, are open to families, for a specialized conference. This Saturday, September 10, at the A l’ Affiche cinema, interested people gathered to listen to the experiences and advice of Jean Epstein, a specialist in early childhood for 48 years.

The theme of the day was “Family mutations and the evolution of parenthood in society”. Throughout his speech, the professional tried to make parents feel guilty, while explaining all the changes that have taken place over the past thirty to forty years. These are mostly revolutions that have changed everything about families and the way they are seen from the outside but also from the inside. For example, in the 1970s, three quarters of mothers did not work. Twenty years later, it was the opposite. Three quarters were working.

Another big change: the composition of families themselves. They are now homoparental, single-parent, blended, without forgetting the children adopted or conceived by medically assisted procreation (PMA). On this, Jean Epstein is clear and quotes Françoise Dolto: “It is never too early to talk to a child about his story, but it may be too late”. All situations need to be explained because a little one needs to know his identity and know who his parents are.

Communicate between parents and children

“For example, it should not be said that he does not have a father. This is almost never true. It is the result of a love story, if only for one night. The child needs a few elements: a first name, a character trait, a passion for motorcycling or the guitar… He needs positive information because he identifies with this person. He will have time later to get an idea of ​​​​this parent. In the event of a divorce, it is also necessary to make your child aware that he has nothing to do with it. He tends to blame himself. “And we also have to assure him that as a father and mother, we will always be there for him.”

Jean Epstein touched on many topics, explaining that even the place of grandparents has changed because they are more active than before and live longer. He also affirms that it is necessary to constantly fight against the isolation of parents, increasingly distant from their family, thanks to friends, associations, discussion groups… Concerning the child, he also insists: “We must leave him his role as a child and not let him choose everything (holidays, first name of the little sister, etc.). “It’s important to be the child of your parents!”

Wishing to make families feel guilty, Jean Epstein concluded by saying that all his words are theories. “When it happens to us, it’s not the same!”

Laura Spaeter

l.spaeter@jhm.fr

The art of being a parent in the 21st century as seen by Jean Epstein (52)