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My experience of French children is rather limited due to my rather infrequent trips to France, but whatever I see of the youngsters at these occasions confirms me in my opinion that they are angels in comparison to the rowdy and scarily disrespectful lot I have to put up with on the buses each day in South East London... Of course, this is generalisation and I know loads of wonderful young people, but the general picture is rather grim.  What is it really like in France?

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[quote user="Tag"]Apropos of nothing, just how well behaved do you think French kids are compared with Brits?[/quote]

Which kids are you thinking of? What social class, ethnic group, habitation area? Too wide a question - good kids are good and bad kids aren't. I've seen plenty of both in both places.

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I'm having difficulty trying to reply fairly to this question for two reasons, (1) I haven't lived in the UK for a long time and so all I  know is based on what I hear from family members (with kids from 4 to 17) (2) I keep hearing how well behaved French children are from many people here and I don't want to paint the picture blacker than it is as a reaction.

I think as Dick says, it is very difficult to compare because there are several million children in each country and you'll find a complete range of behaviour. On the surface, you have the impression that French children are very well behaved. You see them in shops and restaurants sitting nicely at the table (well, not in a shop) not running around screaming etc. You see family groups going out for Sunday afternoon walks with docile looking teenagers who'll even kiss Auntie Françoise without being asked....  I think the idea of "family" is possibly still stronger in France than the UK.

But on the other hand, I have travelled on French school buses and I've heard the vulgar and aggressive way they speak to the drivers; the local buses now have two people on them to try and control problems. My husband recently took some pupils on a school trip to Italy where one of them amused himself by throwing bottles from a hotel window at passers-by and another group took photos on their mobile phones of people in the toilets. In schools I have worked in, pupils have been beaten up, raped, have trashed classrooms, have attacked teachers, have stolen money from teachers and computers from the computer lab....

I am certain that this behaviour is no worse what you could find in the UK, but I don't think it's any better either.

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IMO there is a big difference generally UK to France.  Young people are taught to address adults and respect adults.  I have never seen an adult ignored when they have spoken to a child.  So on the surface it appears that respect is much greater.  I can't vouch for what's in their heads though.  For instance, it makes a change when you see an adolescent up to no good and you ask them what they are doing.  Instead of the usual  "!!!**** off" and then they carry on,  that you would get in the UK, they say "Madame, I was not doing anything". But then they stop.  Even if it's a lie, it's a big difference to me.[:)]

Georgina

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My own (deliberately rather limited!) contact with French kids has been positive.  However, I know two women who both have attempted to teach English in French schools and have had really bad experiences with disrespectful and downright unpleasant pupils over here.  So, as ever, there are good and bad in both countries - pretty much the same as the adults really.
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Exactly. Did any of you see 'The Culture Show' on BBC2 on Saturday? Two of the kids in the Speak Out competition are mine (one in my group, one a G&T pupil) and nicer, better young people you would be hard pressed to find. I know lots like them, but I also know a few who are going to be career criminals or just plain antisocial louts. As ever and as everywhere the good majority are overlooked because of the aggravation caused by the bad minority.

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That's a lot of it, certainly, but there is also peer pressure. Many kids are occasionally anti-social, or are badly behaved outside of the home and well-behaved within it.

I think that the UK is ahead of France in demonising and alienating its young people.

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[quote user="Dick Smith"]

I think that the UK is ahead of France in demonising and alienating its young people.

[/quote]

Yes, I agree with that, but recently I've noticed a lot of 'meetings' being held locally for French parents

to try and find ways of improving the understanding of 'les ados', so

there is an acknowledged problem here in France too.

I think that little things like eating together as a family and not having a TV in every room in the house help facilitate a more respectful relationship between the children and parents.

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The French press are not much better with the coverage of the banlieu (suburb) clashes.  Of course they happened but that doesn't mean to say that they were happening in every city in France and that every ado was participating in the vandalism. 

It's a shame we don't have the same amount of media coverage of the peaceful student marches who try to highlight the lack of resources in the education system.

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It's not a barrel of laughs being a kid in a banlieu, or the English equivalent. I believe that all kids need someone who has the patience to listen to them talking adolescent rubbish and take them seriously. They really have fears and worries about their future - after all, we did at their age, why should they be any different? Adolescence is a hard time and needs some shaping, not just the sniping they so often get.

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I agree that it's difficult to enforce but is there more of a will to do so in France than in the UK?

It may be that I have only ever lived in the countryside in France where everyone knows everyone else and there is a certain "shame" to having your kids misbehaving in public.

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[quote user="Benjamin"]I agree that it's difficult to enforce but is there more of a will to do so in France than in the UK?
[/quote]

There is more of a will to whack very young children round the head when they speak out of turn. No wonder they squeak when they speak.

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My first visit to France was a family summer holiday when I was 4 or 5. I resented having to go to bed when I could hear French children playing outside. My mother told me that all French children would grow up wizened and small because of their late nights.

In later years she never satisfactorily explained the French rugby team.

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Clearly they were the ones who listened to amman and papa and toddled off to bed nice and early.

My grandmother told me that if I ate apple pips then a tree would grow inside me.

You can get lots of fantastically useful information from the older generation.

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Tresco wrote: There is more of a will to whack very young children round the head when they speak out of turn. No wonder they squeak when they speak.

 

 

Yes, I have to say I find that very shocking.  I have seen them hit very young children hard.

Georgina[:(]

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On the BBC website there is a piece about 'new powers' for teachers to

discipline kids - in fact nothing new at all, just that the law has

been tidied up. There is the usual 'Have Your Say; section, and the

consensus there seems to be that beating children, especially with

sticks and household implements is what we need to bring about some

respect etc. etc.

I once had a cane and a punishment book - I was given them on my first

day as a Housemaster. I threw them away, and I've never felt the need

for them since.
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