vendredi 27 janvier 2012

French Children Don't Throw Food - Fact or fallacy

The UK Guardian newspaper reviewed earlier this month the book 'French Children Don't Throw Food' by Pamela Druckerman. The book promotes French parenting over that of anglophones. Pamela comes from New York, married an Englishman and then moved to Paris to llive. I have not read the book so it is not possible to comment accurately on its contents. 

I have seen some very well behaved children in French restaurants but I am also aware that a large number of French families would not be in a position go to these. What I have therefore seen is not a representative sample of French children's behaviour. Should good behaviour in children be an end in itself or is it one of the consequences of a loving, secure environment where limits are set? 

What is particularly interesting are the comments received about the review and the commentary by Agnès Poirier. There are comments about the downfalls and inaccuracies of stereotyping this then seems to be replaced by comments comparing the UK and French educational systems. 

The comment by bjerkley says it all:
No one has the answers on good parenting, but it's a fascinating insight into our paranoia over children that we spend so much time obsessing over it.

4 commentaires:

  1. Hi, I have no comparison with British children, but I often find small French children very badly behaved. When in Croatia last summer, our only experiences of terrible behaviour were with French people. I saw the children playing up and only discovered afterwards that they were French. I know that they thought food in the school canteens... My father was always surprised when he came over here that I could take my kids out to eat with us. It's really just a question of giving them enough things to do and taking an interest in them from time to time. I only had two though. I imagine that after that it becomes more difficult ...

    1. Thanks Fraussie for your wise advice regarding giving the children enough things to do and taking an interest in them when out. It is so true. Misbehaviour by children is often a result of boredom or an attempt to gain attention. I only have one child, so it was relatively easy for me.

      In your example in Croatia, how did the parents deal with the situation?

  2. I have four children and find that taking them out to restaurants doesn't happen often because of expense. When it does they generally behave well because it is a treat. I agree that giving them enough to do is the secret - especially younger boys who prefer to run about and leave the table as soon as possible. We have often ordered food and then let them get down (if there is a suitable open space) and called them back when the food arrives. We also refuse to give them fizzy drinks until the food has actually arrived. If they get a sweet drink at the time of aperatifs they end up full of drink, don't eat and start playing up much earlier in the meal. My kids are british but at french catholic private sch/college. My view of the behaviour of the frenchkids around me is that they are expected to be well mannered and are far more responsive to adults and polite than their english counterparts. (

    1. I think you have really hit the nail on the head with children and their behaviour. I have often found that expecting children to behave well results in their good behaviour. There are of course exceptions. You have also shown that you have a strategy to actively manage the situation. Great parenting in my view!


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