News U Can Use: French Parents Rock!

You’re the boss, Maman! That’s the message sent by the French to their little ones. Perhaps we could stand to take a page from that playbook. A brief taste …

French Lessons

  • Children should say hello, goodbye, thank you and please. It helps them to learn that they aren’t the only ones with feelings and needs.
  • When they misbehave, give them the “big eyes”—a stern look of admonishment.
  • Allow only one snack a day. In France, it’s at 4 or 4:30.
  • Remind them (and yourself) who’s the boss. French parents say, “It’s me who decides.”
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Kids have to learn how to cope with some frustration.

Read more about one family’s eye-opening experience here.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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One response to “News U Can Use: French Parents Rock!”

  1. Hazel M. Wheeler

    There’s something to be said for what Pamela Druckerman’s article suggests: that children need to learn the lessons of patience and civility (esp. manners) early on. I haven’t read “Bringing Up Bebe” (the book itself) but my concern is that parents are getting hit from all sides with a lot of trendy extremes, ranging from overly-permissive to overly strict, and these articles don’t seem to address the thinking behind *why* parents are making the mistakes we are making–but we are certainly treated to a rather unflattering portrait of what others think of stereotypical “American parents”. I do think the video currently embedded (Carl Honore discussing hyperparenting) did a better job at addressing the fears which inform our not-so-wise parenting decisions. “Why French Parents are Superior” had a lot of good tips, but she did tend to paint both American and French middle class parents with rather broad strokes; I didn’t read one positive in regard to American parents in the article, which bothered me. There are plenty of parents who are doing a pretty good job here in the US. Unfortunately, the parents who might most benefit from the advice may be so put off by the broad criticism and generalizations that they won’t want to read farther. Thanks for the suggestion: it was an eye-opener and definitely inspired some of my own writing. Certainly food for thought…

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