WSJ: Why French Parents are Better

<p>Very good read.</p>

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

<p>"Why didn't French children throw food? And why weren't their parents shouting?"
Because they don't have CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC :)
There are too much of shouting and throwing foods role models on American TV shows.<br>
Television is an institution, and people follow its messages easily</p>

<p>Whoa, I guess I gave my D a French upbringing. From the Department of the Obvious: Fixed times for meals, patience, firm "no", no between meal snacks. We gave her strict consistent limits. Most of our friends thought that we were just plain mean.
But then again, it was a piece of cake traveling in Europe when D was as young as 4, while friends struggled taking their kids to the local Dennys without incident.</p>

<p>And believe me, our friends, like us, did NOT let their kids watch network TV. It's the upbringing, not the media.</p>

<p>Friends thought we were "too strict" when the kids were very little...but I never had a grocery store temper tantrum and the kids knew "no" meant "no." The thing that still strikes me is when I hear a mom in the grocery store going "no no mommy doesn't like that" in this stupid sing song childlike voice. Yes right...good luck mom with that.</p>

<p>Wow, our kids watch a lot of network tv and know how to behave in public just fine. Last time I checked, the tv wasn't raising our kids, we are. They are able to figure out on their own who the bratty kids are...</p>

<p>I agree, however, that too many parents are afraid of the word no.</p>

<p>yet one more on "who is doing better parenting" on a national scale. I think this is a gross simplification.</p>

<p>We were completely laisez faire. No fixed bed time. no fixed meal time. They mostly determine how they spend their time. After the age of 16, not even a fixed time to come home as long as they inform us. (OK. boys).</p>

<p>Yet, we never had any temper tantrum incidents ever at home or outside. They grew up pretty straight and narrow on their own. Fast forward. S1 is a junior in college: doesn't have enough time to sleep and eat since he is so engrossed with his academic work and work related to his chosen profession. He goes to bed 3 AM because he is working on his stuff till 2:30 AM in the library. S2, a college freshman, gets up at 4:30 AM in the morning almost everyday because of the activities related to his full ride scholarship (not in sports). For him, it's a bad day when he did not prepare very well for the classes he is taking. </p>

<p>I don't think there is any single template for "how to raise" kids well. It really all depends on the unique chemistry involving multiple factors such as the temperament of the kids themselves, the parents' values, orientation, and life philosophy, the culture and standards of the community, the resources that are available, etc.</p>

<p>hyeonjlee--I think there is a template parents can use universally and that is basically "teach them to be good people"--how you get there is up to you.</p>

<p>mncollegemom,</p>

<p>yes, yes, and yes. You are absolutely right. that would be a good template. However, I believe it's not something that can be codified in a set of parenting instructions such as NO for this and YES for that in terms of desired "behaviors" that is supposed to be elicited.</p>

<p>I did not put together any set of DOs and DON"Ts in terms of behaviors and actions for my kids, but they grew up knowing what is a capital offence in our house:</p>

<p>(1) being unkind to those who are less fortunate than they are
(2) taking for granted other people's kindness and good will
(3) being a moocher.
(4) Being irresponsible with one's resources (whatever it may be: brain, money, talents, etc)</p>

<h1>1 being the worst offense among all. Both of my kids told me at different times when they first went to college that they were amazed by how some of their classmates treated the same-age group workers at the college cafeteria as "hired help" (you know what I mean): both of them go to colleges where there are a lot of kids from very wealthy families). They said "OMG, Mom, you would have killed me if you had seen me acting like that!"</h1>

<p>I really liked the concept of having children learn to WAIT . I always told my kids " DON'T INTERRUPT unless there is a fire or you are bleeding ! " When they were little ,it might have been 15-30 seconds and it got longer as they grew up .I see 8 year olds who interrupt their parents and the parents don't do anything about it ! I feel many parents today are just too laid back .</p>

<p>fauxmaven-I stopped socializing with a good friend over that very point. We couldn't spend 5 minutes talking without one of her kids interrupting. If it was a once in a while thing, ok, but it was CONSTANT and not just interrupting to ask a question but stuff like "mom, come play catch", "mom watch me dance", "mom, read me this book"---and she would...</p>

<p>Honestly, I don't see very many poorly behaved young children when I'm out shopping or at a restaurant. When I do, it is noteworthy because it is so unusual. Most parents, American, French, or whatever, do their best to raise their children with guidance and appropriate limits. It really is not very difficult to figure out, and it does not take some sort of higher understanding to teach a child basic manners and appropriate social behavior.</p>

<p>No parent wants to deal with the consequences of spoiling their child - after all, the parent will bear the brunt of that during the teenage years and possibly end up with a miserable adult child. </p>

<p>I read the WSJ article, and I don't agree with the presumption. The author has set up a "difference" that does not exist between the two countries. It is just someone's idea for a book about nothing that will get lots of unwarranted attention and will sell - mostly to people who buy the ridiculousness in the first place.</p>

<p>Maybe it's WSJ. After all, they were very harsh about "Downton Abbey" also.</p>

<p>ITA with Gourmetmom in #11</p>

<p>I don't see that many misbehaved kids in public because I don't frequent places where the little kids would be all that much. I DO, however, see a LOT of bratty teens because we do see them and hear how they talk to their parents....No, they are not kicking and screaming having a tantrum but when your DD walks up to you and says "it would be better if you were not here" when they are standing in a group of other parents talking..not ok.</p>

<p>My pet peeve...what really gets to me is when I am having a conversation with a parent, their kid decides to join the conversation, and the parent allows it. I don't care if a kid is 5 or 20, it is just inappropriate. Some parents think it is adorable and are actually proud of the fact their kids are so mature. No, I think it is rude.</p>

<p>This isn't "French" parenting, it's sensible parenting. Many people mistakenly believe that they have to put their children's whims and impulses first at all times in order to be good parents. Then, as the article points out, they end up being worn out by their kids. While I don't exactly agree with the old chestnut, "Children should be seen and not heard," there is some truth in it.</p>

<p>
[quote]

Many people mistakenly believe that they have to put their children's whims and impulses first at all times in order to be good parents.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Well, just to be the devil's advocate here, I can't think of anyone I know who believes that. </p>

<p>Bad behavior seems to come from completely different reasons like
1. they are acting out to get attention from an uninterested parent
2. are reacting to something like a divorce or death in their family
3. they are put in an innapropriate situation (i.e. many 6 year olds can learn to sit quietly through a church service, but not the one with undiagnosed ADHD)
4. their basic needs are not met (tired, hungry, bored). I've seen people bring small children on airplanes without bringing any snacks, toys, or books.
5. the kid is worried about something that the parents don't understand. Too much focus on correcting the kid's behavior can prevent the parent from figuring out what is bothering the kid and explaining things. </p>

<p>I've also noticed that a some people who's self image is all wrapped up in how well behaved their kids are, often miss a lot of the joy of parenting. Not intending to impute this to anyone who has posted here, but I know people like that in real life.</p>

<p>I'm not a perfect parent and I'm sure I did things wrong. But I will say that if I heard my baby crying and I knew he was hungry, it was beyond my ability to make him wait for a scheduled feeding. I fed him right then. I know people who don't subscribe to my theory, but so be it.</p>

<p>And I'd say any kid who gets good grades and does extracurriculars and doesn't get into trouble knows how to delay gratification. That probably applies to many if not most of those who post on this forum.</p>

<p>Albeit H is French, I don't think we raised our kids in any definable way (American or French). They had lots of freedom, to watch TV, to go to sleep (not necessarily to bed) when they liked, but we never had tantrums in public (or much in private either except when one was overtired). Well, we might have had one, because as soon as they were old enough to understand, crying/fussing/begging/whining in a store/restaurant meant we dropped everything and went home. No arguments, no discussions. </p>

<p>I guess it boils down to say what you mean and mean what you say.</p>

<p>Most very small kids are smart and most kids really WANT to be happy and socialized. We first took D out to a restaurant when she when she was 20 months old. She started the meal by throwing a tantrum . H calmly took her to the parking lot. She didnt like the parking lot. She figured out right then that a pleasant time in the restaurant involved eating good food and not acting out of sorts. It never happened happened again.
I will however admit that,at that age, if she had a need or request, we listened to her and, within reason, we responded to that need. But she knew that whining and and throwing a tantrum was met with a calm "no". As in "no, that is not the way one behaves in public and if you remember the parking lot is right out the door" Easy peasy.
And when I say that tantrums and unpleasant behavior never happened again, I am excluding that last few months of High School, know around our house as "The Evil Time."</p>