The French are known for many things: their cheese, their excellent wines and champagne, the Eiffel Tower, and most importantly, their food! But did you know that they are also known for their very well-behaved children? Yes! It’s true. The French have a few tricks up their sleeve regarding parenting, all of which can mold well-mannered children who rarely throw a tantrum.
Parenting can be a challenging endeavor. Especially when your kid is unruly and seems to throw tantrums to get their way. When it comes to the French, it seems like they have unlocked ways to make children behave better. What could be the practices that have helped the French in raising well-behaved children? Their etiquettes and rules usually take a unique approach. Let’s read on to find out and see if we can pick and apply some of these practices in our lives too:
1. There Is No Such Thing As “Kid’s Food”
You’d think that for a land that offers so many culinary delights, there would be an array of foods for kids alone. But that is far from true. There is no such thing as “kid’s food” in France. Food is a huge part of French culture! The French often have a wide array of items on the table, and sometimes, their lunch alone may extend for two hours, but the kids get what the adults have. This prepares the kids, from a very early age, to learn the necessary dining etiquettes. They are taught to take only as much as they can eat and avoid wasting any food. Also, the French ensure that the entire family comes together for at least one meal. There are only a few food items that the kids don’t have access to, such as foods that are difficult to eat (such as crab and oyster) or ones that are too pungent or spicy.
2. They Have Their Own Beds Or Rooms
French mommas are pretty firm in their stand when putting their kids to sleep in their own rooms. If their children wake up at night and begin to cry, the mothers usually wait until the crying subsides. In most cases, the children realize that they will have to self-soothe and go back to sleep. Children are never encouraged to sleep in the same beds or rooms as their parents. If they do sleep in the same room, they most likely have their own crib or beds.
3. The French Are Big On Manners
The kids know how important good manners are in France. Parents encourage their children to greet their neighbors, guests, and others appropriately. When standing in line, they are encouraged to do so patiently, without throwing tantrums. Further, they are often taught to give up their seat if they see an older person standing. Golden words such as “thank you”, “please”, “good day”, and “you are welcome” are taught to them early in life.
4. Children Are Encouraged To Be Independent
The French system is such that working mothers will have to return to work within ten weeks of giving birth to their children. According to the law, new mothers can enjoy ten weeks of leave with secure financial support. They may choose to extend their time with their child away from work, but this will be a leave of absence without pay. Loss of payment is not something that any of us like, so the mothers usually send their children to daycare or a nearby creche. Since the child is exposed to new people and peers at such a young age, they tend to be more independent and street smart!
5. No Micromanaging
As parents, we tend to poke our nose into pretty much everything our children do: we do so with their best interests at heart. However, this can do more harm than good. The French strongly believe that children should be given as much freedom as they can handle — freedom they cannot misuse. For example, when they see their child get into conflicts with other kids, they don’t intervene until necessary. Instead, they let their child handle the situation by themselves. Additionally, the parents make it very clear that bad behavior is met with consequences.
6. Play Is Prioritized
Don’t be surprised if you see a five-year-old French kid who is just learning to read! Yes, most children in France can’t read until after five years of age. This is because the parents believe that the kids should make the best out of their childhood: play and have fun as much as possible!
7. No Compromise When It Comes To Family Time
Sundays are special for the French: it is that day of the week when the family comes together to spend quality time with each other. Kids don’t get to make plans on Sundays with their friends, and the adults can’t give work as an excuse either! Most families in France prepare certain activities well in advance so they can enjoy their time with each other as a family.
8. Kids Are Given Pocket Money
You may think that the French are spoiling their kids by giving them pocket money, but you’ll notice this: the kids rarely throw tantrums at the supermarket. They are expected to use the pocket money that is given to them to buy what they want. If what they want costs more, they’ll simply have to save up and wait until the next visit to the supermarket! This way, they are taught the value of money. In most cases, they are given pocket money that equals their age.
Across cultures, parenting and raising kids can look different. This doesn’t mean one is more superior than the other. But there are definitely certain best practices that stand out that could be well adopted. We can learn so much from different cultures, and it’s safe to say that when it comes to parenting, the French definitely seem to be doing it right! What stands out in their parenting style is that they don’t belittle their children. They give their children the right to exercise their uniqueness and individuality. Do you like the French style of parenting? What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!