Why French Parents are Superior

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Why French Parents are Superior
8
Mon, 02-06-2012 - 9:48am

While American parents stress out over raising kids, the French have found a way to raise happy, well behaved children without all the anxiety.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577196931457473816.html

Do you agree that the French seem to have a better understanding of how to parent without anxiety?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2009
Mon, 02-06-2012 - 3:10pm
I don't know that I'd agree that all French parents are superior to their American counterparts, but I do agree that parents need to be more firm and not "helicopter" so much. I think it's really important for a child to learn how to play independently. It's how I am able to get things done and have conversations without being interrupted constantly. And, no, we aren't French.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Tue, 02-07-2012 - 1:44am

I don't know about American culture that much, I'm Swiss and grew up in Geneva about 10 minutes from the border with Switzerland, my parents pretty much raised us the French style described in the article, letting us find distractions on our own, later as older kids it was not only distracting ourselves but being held as responsible for some of our actions as we gre, and the older we would get the more actions we were responsible for, like once my mom got asked by my sister's teacher of a PT meeting about my sister's behaviour, my sis was 12 and going through a early teens lousy phase, so my mom dragged her along to the meeting, the teacher found it odd, and started her usual "ma'am I'm concenred about your daughter's attitude..." My mom cut her right away saying "See, I don't know what beef you have with my daughter, I'm sure you are right about her lousy attitude, but I'm not in school with her all day, so if you have an issue with her, she is right her to talk with you" pointing to my sister as she went, the teacher was shocked but pleased my mom was making sure my sister would not get out of the whole talk and be held responsible for their action.

What I have noticed between the American ladies in my playgroup and me is that it seems infants and toddlers in US are overly guarded over anything potentially harmful such as a germ, a bug or toys that are too old, or riding a tricycle without a helmet, or making sure girls play with a pink toy truck if they want one rather than a boy one, making sure all the soapes, laundry detergents, and wipes are as hypoallergenic as can be, obcessing about the remote risk of allergies before they even occur, having reservations about letting their kiddo get into a mess with the family pet...the list goes on, it gave me the feeling that maybe American parents are a bit too over protective and type A stressing over things that most Swiss parents would just shrug out and ignore. It's not saying that the Swiss parent is careless, it's just the "Oops my daughter dropped her cracker into the sandbod...let's wipe it, blow the sand off and give it back to her"


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Community Leader
Registered: 05-04-2011
Thu, 02-09-2012 - 1:03pm

I run with a lot of European-born parents, and they all seem to have that same sort of mindset, compared to many of the Canadian parents I know whose kids are essentially out-of-control -- especially the daycare families that I used to work with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 02-10-2012 - 12:03am

Yeah I don't think there is any perfect way of parenting out there, we all can take lessons from one another.
Interesting about the dy care thing, I have an Indian friend who when they were posted abrpad noticed that if your are going to see a kiddo throw havoc in a public space it's going to be an Indian kiddo and she was very impressed how well behaved kids int he west were in general, her son learned to walk the walk as he was a baby when they relocated, plus she is on the concervative side thinking that discipline is a must, and yup sure enough among all our friends her son and Ishi are the two who can just sit in resturant without turning it upside down.

That said my daughter is no angel, she can be a real terror sometimes, but I don't tolerate it and it often result in her being shipped to her room, a tantrum at the playground and we are leaving right away, no time out, no nothing :)


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Community Leader
Registered: 05-04-2011
Fri, 02-10-2012 - 12:43pm

I know we're not supposed to compare, but sometimes it's nice to be out somewhere and be able to say, "Thank heaven my child isn't like that child!" isn't it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 02-10-2012 - 9:31pm

Oh yeah!
I know the feeling :) I also feel relieved when I hear some tales of naughtyness at home form the other mom's in Ishi's school, because there are days I wonder if my daughter hasn't be bitten by a crazy bug or got pocessed LOL


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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Sat, 04-14-2012 - 5:56am
Reminds me of my dad - I guess Cajun French is the same? :-) We were expected to sit still through mass - no coloring books or snacks like the other kids. We were also the only children on the street required to use 'Mr' and 'Ms' for all adults. And many other self-control related expectations.

Sadly, it seems the Germans follow the 'American' model. You can still find Waldorf schools here - following the 1960s/70s philosophy of never saying no or giving rules. As a ballet teacher in Germany, I was often told I was the child's only teacher to require discipline and not give in to stubborn children. I guess years of watching The Super Nanny didn't go to waste. I love Jo Frost. ;-)

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Sun, 04-15-2012 - 10:16pm

Oh wow there was a philosophy in the 60/70's that didn't believe in saying no? I remember having a girl's who's mom was a shrink who did think saying no to her daughter was wrong and would cause life long trauma, her daughter was the biggest


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