6 min Read

On the Same Page: So you think you can parent?

We asked Jean-Marc Généreux, head judge on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and his wife and choreography partner, France Mousseau, a series of questions – separately – to see how well their parenting styles mesh. You be the judge! 
Parenting tips - parents canada
At the age of nine, Jean Marc knew he would marry France. As ballroom dance partners in Quebec, they quickly created a bond, competing all over the world. They married in 1987 and now have two kids – Jean-Francis, the 15-year-old hockey player/ballroom dancer, and Francesca, their 12-year-old daughter who suffers from Rett Syndrome. As well as leading the Canadian series, Jean Marc has been featured as a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance in the U.S. His next move? Heading to Paris to judge the French version of Dancing with the Stars, while France holds down the fort at home.

Q: In your family, who is the disciplinarian?

France: Oh, that’s Jean Marc. He is more tight than me. I am pretty soft.
Jean Marc: It is me. France is also very strict, but I don’t really buy into whining or excuses. It didn’t really work for my parents and it doesn’t work for me.

Q: When you do discipline, what works best?

France: Jean-Francis is an easy kid. If he does something wrong, I will try to say “No computer for three days,” and he will just go and draw and do other things. It is really hard to punish him – but that is how I do it, by cutting things out.
Jean Marc: The problem is that you can’t punish Jean-Francis. If you take a book away, he goes to the computer. You take the computer away, he goes for the video games. If you take the video game away, he takes his bike. But, this kid has never really had to be disciplined. He is not a troublemaker. When we have to make a point, we take away his food, he can’t use his bed, we throw him in the jungle, and we leave him there for a couple weeks (laughing).

Q: What is your biggest parenting obstacle?

France: Being alone. Jean Marc is so busy and because my daughter is handicapped, it is tough. Jean Marc is doing really good, because he is trying to come to Montreal more often to help me.
Jean Marc: My schedule. I love my work and I love my family. Thank God that France is there, or I would never be able to do what I do. We do a lot of Skype and try to stay connected.

Q: How do you and your family play together?

France: There used to be a time when we loved to play ping pong. We liked to go mini-putting, go to water parks. But now Jean-Francis is 15, so he’d rather be with friends. I am starting to let him go with his friends, but it’s tough. We still watch movies or bicycle during the summer.
Jean Marc: Whenever I played with my kids, there was a form of education behind it. Jean-Francis has an issue with it. There is a lot to learn just by playing and keeping score – because you are introducing numbers, and the values of how to win and how to lose.

Q: Now that Jean-Francis is older, does he ever get embarrassed by you?

France: I don’t think so. We are the cool parents. This year he is playing hockey and I had three big parties at home for the team. Even his friends say, “Wow, your parents are cool.” My house is always open. He is proud of us, I think.
Jean Marc: Probably! He is a dancer too, but he can get embarrassed when I teach and I do the lady’s part. He is okay when I just teach the step, but when I start doing the style, he’s like… wow…that’s too much.

Q: If you could offer advice to new parents, what would you say?

France: Make sure you accept help. Sometimes, when you are a new mother, you want to do everything on your own and you don’t want anyone to take your kids – I think you need to have help. Take it. Take time for you. Sometimes, I don’t do it. Francesca needs lots of work and Jean Marc says I need help, but I say I can do it myself. But I get stressed.
Jean Marc: Know that your life will change. And if it doesn’t, you don’t care and you aren’t willing to sacrifice. Being a parent is a sacrifice, but it is a beautiful sacrifice. I can’t stress it enough – parenting is such a beautiful thing in your life. Kids keep you focused. Be ready and know your life will change to a certain degree. It’s a good thing. It’s a great thing.

Q: How would you describe your partner in one word?

France: Passionate. He is so passionate about everything. Another word would be optimistic. I get stressed, but with him, even if something is wrong, he will make something good come of it. He has a really good inside…and outside too!
Jean Marc: It is impossible…but if I have to it would be between passionate, intense and love. If you can make one word out of those three, that is what it is.

Related Articles