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Is Maman mean or magnifique?


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Things are never as black and white.

Our 3 young children have one French parent and one Irish parent and have lived 1/2 their lives in Ireland and France. I have seen French mothers slapping the backs of a child's legs with gusto, but then I've done the same from time to time. (I have also marched off when a toddler simply won't do as she's told and let her trail me crying, bad mother that I am!) I would like to think my 'parenting style' is somewhere in between the 2 extremes in the article. BUT most French mothers I know are not a bit like in the article either. The sand incident, I would agree with, let them taste it and see it's not good! I've tried telling a child till i'm blue in the face 'don't do X, you'll fall/hurt yourself/break it' and it's only when the child actually does fall that they learn. Actually when I read that back it sounds like I veer towards French parenting style after all

Instilling manners is very important. Yesterday a boy approached a group of parents outside the school and asked politely if we knew where the toilet was. He was about 6 and is known as one of the 'rougher' children in the town (his brother was expelled from school). I honestly don't know ANY of my Irish friend's children who would be able to do that.

I do find it frustrating when I see comparisons between Fr and Britain etc where the lack of originality and imagination are cited. I do not find British/Irish so much more imaginative I'm afraid. I think every country has its own educational system which leads to a way of working and a certain lifestyle. My daughter performed yesterday with her primaire, a fabulous abstract dance/play performed in the streets of the town. Today she'll be flinging herself into the pool with the school, and sometime this morning she was probably learning maths with the teacher keeping very strict control of the noise levels. Very balanced I think.

Oh, and back to the article, sometimes there's nothing to say but 'ca suffit'!!!

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My experience with children is that of a non-parent, apart from the bit when I was a child myself!

As a gite owner, I know that Englih children are the worse I have heard and seen here. The screaming demands, the tantrums, the fighting... all the negatives apply.

I suspect children are so used to being stimulated and indulged by guilty parents that the most basic of discipline is not even applied.

I have received Spanish, French and Belgian children. All were well-behaved, polite without being reminded to be and clearly used to listening to their parents, as they did not need to raise their voices to be heard. Believe me, the difference is striking.

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I veer towards the French style of parenting. 

Children have to know their boundaries and know what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.  With two of my own aged 10 and 13 and being a registered nounou I see quite a varied style of parenting. 

There are some children I know who are completely wild and if I was their parents I would not accept the way they behave or speak to their parents, it's completely ourageous sometimes and if they were mine they probably would get a smack.  Having said that I haven't smacked mine since they were toddlers, they learnt what was unnacceptable and on the whole they are very well behaved and I only have to raise my voice and not my hand for them to know they are doing something that is unnacceptable.

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There are also not so good parents and families in France but the common factor I believe is the discipline, boundaries (and perhaps nutrition) in the French schools, oh  and not to forget peer pressure.

To me French children are a revelation and an absolute joy to be with, the only time I see or hear them behaving like the badly behaved British kids is after a few weeks of the holidays, and in this case 100% they are with shall we say not so good parents.

My neighbours run a brasserie and by French standards they are not such good parents, the child is left alone a lot in the evenings and seems to be more indulged with material things and less with quality time than the other children of her age.

It is beginning to show, she is becoming a little rude and sometimes sulky, sometimes when I say bonjour to her she may ignore me according to her mood, interestingly the parents just shrug their shoulders.

Ok it is just a little thing but what is interesting is the effect of her peers, when other children of her age and cousins etc are with her they greet me (as they do to all adults) with a bisou and she then follows suit! I should add that her parents tutoyer me and also greet me with a bisou which is abit concerting from the father[:D]

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