Why French Parents are Superior- great article today

<p>Why</a> French Parents Are Superior by Pamela Druckerman - WSJ.com</p>

<p>I LOVED this article! Great wake-up call about how kids are running our lives, how we are obsessing, not letting kids to help themselves, not setting clear boundaries for their behavior with a lot of self management within.
Gist is that the ability to be patient and postpone gratification seems to be a lost skill in our kids, but not in France, and why, and how fundamental this may be to kids' development into well-adjusted citizens. Gives concrete examples of what the French parents do.</p>

<p>It referenced the famous "marshmallow experiment and study by Stanford...</p>

<p>Naturally I enjoyed the article because it reinforces my own ideas!</p>

<p>It's so interesting to me that she brings up the skill of entertaining oneself. Having an only child, I fostered that in my son as I did not have the patience or desire to be his "playmate." I also had no patience for the constant interruptions that seem to have become common place among young children and their parents. </p>

<p>I know that some family and friends thought I was too strict in those areas yet I truly believe both of those skills have served my son very well as a young adult and certainly made him a very pleasant child to be around. </p>

<p>Who knew I was just being French?</p>

<p>Just one of those "European-style socialists". ;)</p>

<p>I think it all comes down to basic civility. I remember telling my boys they would appreciate my being a stickler about table manners the first time they were invited to a girlfriend's house for dinner.</p>

<p>I don't know. I knew a French woman who matched the description of the French parents described in the article to a T. The only problem was that her kid did not. Her attempts to get him to say hello to people were awkward for everyone involved, and caused the kid so much distress, it just seemed cruel to me. Yet she persisted because HER kid was going to have good manners. Eventually, the kid was diagnosed with Asperger's. Even after that, while she intellectually understood, she still couldn't emotionally let go of her expectations to have a perfectly behaved child. It was sad. I think the kid would have been much better off with an American-style obsessive mother.</p>

<p>We have been able to enjoy eating at nice restaurants and fly on LONG, LONG airplane trips WITH our kids since they were 6-months old. I never considered us "French" but our kids and we have always enjoyed travel and dining out and found it to be a pleasant experience. We never left tattered things in the airplane or at the restaurant and our kids have been self-amusing since they were very young. Maybe its a bonus for having kids at a later time in life and having worked with young kids for many, many years before that.</p>

<p>Of course, this isn't so much about French parents vs. American parents. It's more about how parental styles differ from one set to another. Actually, my H and I raised our kids similar to the French style in this article. We taught our kids self control, patience, and respect. They knew how to introduce themselves and hold out their hand for a firm handshake as toddlers. They knew how to entertain themselves and create their own stories and games. They knew how to be civil in restaurants. </p>

<p>I've always wondered why so many young parents today feel the necessity to be their children's friends rather than their parents. They're so afraid to tell their children "No" for fear of hurting their psyche. They seem to be too preoccupied with scheduling activities throughout each day and micromanaging every step their children take. Of course, I'm generalizing, but it seems to me that parents today are so obsessed with their kids keeping up with the Jones's that they're stressing their kids out rather than letting them enjoy and experience each stage of development.</p>

<p>I think it borders on child abuse to expect your kids to behave in developmentally inappropriate ways to meet the needs of the parents.</p>

<p>I have a difficult time being around families where children are allowed to slap or throw things at their parents without consequences. I'm not sure where they learn it but find it very concerning. </p>

<p>Also find it off-putting when a parent of a young child feels the need to frequently (every hour or two) call in to check on her spouse who is watching her two or three year old child--seems very unprofessional to me. Also find it unprofessional for her to call spouse three times during the course of an hour-long when he is in a professional meeting and she is home with said child.</p>

<p>"I think it borders on child abuse to expect your kids to behave in developmentally inappropriate ways to meet the needs of the parents."</p>

<p>What a silly thing to say. Teaching a child to act appropriately is being a responsible parent, not child abuse. With an attitude like this it is no wonder we have so many badly behaved children in this country.</p>

<p>^can you hear me clapping in agreement :)</p>

<p>I think teaching our kids deferred gratification and that the world DOES NOT revolve around them are very important lessons. Badly behaved kids turn into entitled teens and very unconscious, unpleasant, self-absorbed, EXPENSIVE adults.</p>

<p>I cannot stand to be around children who need to be the center of attention.</p>

<p>I guess I've brought up my kids the French way without knowing it. :D</p>

<p>One of my more prouder moments as a parent was when a friend told me she admired how I could say "no" to my kids with my eyes. It wasn't intentional. I was just trying to avoid a scene with my 4 yr. old at the time.</p>

<p>It didn't take me long to find this 2007 article which puts the (alleged) French child-rearing style in a slightly different light. </p>

<p>Is</a> Maman mean or magnifique? - Telegraph</p>

<p>I think there is a balance and each of us finds what works for us. If we and our kids are able to be in public without the kiddo being the center of attention, we have a lot more options while said kids are growing up than if the world has to stop while they get whatever they want. I was a very attentive parent but my kids still learned to be very self-amusing and enjoyed travel and dining in very nice restaurants. We have no regrets. My pediatrician silently thought I was much more indulgent than he was with his kids & I thought he was too strict--both of us have kids who turned out to be nice, responsible, well-adjusted kids, so we're all happy. ;)</p>

<p>Both of these articles have some merit and I agree, HIMom that there needs to be a balance. But do the adult French have a reputation for delayed gratification or selfless thoughtfulness (which seems to be part of the point of raising children not to be the center of attention)? They seem to be on strike all the time, demanding something or other.</p>

<p>I think a lot of the points in the WSJ article are valid, but its not fair to lay it all the moms, where everything always seems to land. French culture is just more structured - it is not the moms creating the structure. They live within this structure too, and it makes the task of child rearing a bit simpler. Regarding mealtimes, many Americans, both parents and non-parents eat whenever. This is not the French way. There are times for meals, and everyone goes on vacation the same month, etc.... Yes, I think our culture could use a bit more structure, and that that would make childrearing a simpler task. But we largely rejected structure in the 60s and 70s, because rigidity certainly has its downsides. There are more and less scheduled households, but it's not as if any particular mom could adopt the French way singlehandedly.</p>

<p>One of my nieces lives near Paris and is raising two daughters with her French husband. I think they have found a wonderful cultural balance in raising their girls and, btw, my niece has been able to be involved with her kids' school. I know her husband's family and they are lovely people. One difference my niece has noticed is that French parents tend to think their kids "owe them" for bringing them into the world, while American parents tend to think that their kids "didn't ask to be born."</p>