French parenting is superior according to Pamela Druckerman
I recently read a fantastic article in The Wall Street Journal comparing American parenting to that of French parenting.
The article, entitled “Why French Parents are Superior”, is written by Pamela Druckerman – inspired by her new book “Bringing Up Bebe,” which catalogues her observations about why French children seem so much better behaved than their American counterparts.
Pamela’s article contains some brilliantly funny (and all too familiar) anecdotes, which aim to explain why French parenting is superior, and why their children are well-behaved.
So, why? Why are the French superior parents, and why are their children better behaved?
In précis form: The French are zealous about talking to their kids, showing them nature and reading them lots of books. They take them to tennis lessons, painting classes and interactive science museums.
But the key is that the French have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this.
But the most significant reason for French kids’ good behaviour, according to Pamela, is their ability to wait – delay of gratification, in other words. The French teach their children to be patient. From babies soothing themselves to sleep to toddlers waiting for mealtime to eat, children are encouraged to… wait. Patience is not considered a quality of temperament but rather an acquired skill.
Children are also encouraged to play alone. To occupy themselves. Children who are taught to wait are good at distracting themselves – and are thus more independent. The theory is that children who learn how to delay gratification are calmer and more resilient. These types of children are able to exercise greater control of self and are thus… better behaved.
The French also place great emphasis on tone of voice when speaking to their children. Parents speak with conviction; without temper or excessive volume. Their yeses are yes and their nos no. And their children listen.
Whatever your parenting style and opinion, the article is fascinating and the points made thought provoking. Definitely check it out.
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