Why are French children so good?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

I have been interviewed recently on BBC Radio Coventry and in The Daily Mirror newspaper about why French children seem more relaxed and well behaved.

“When an elegant French mother confided her embarrassment about the time it had taken to get her son to sleep through the night, Pamela Druckerman was all ears.

With a six-month-old who woke several times in the small hours, she assumed it would be comforting to share the nightmare. Until, that is, she found out what her French companion actually meant. “I can hardly believe it,” she continued. “It took four months.”

“Four months!” Pamela , 41, recalls. “While all my English friends were still getting up in the night with their nine-month-olds and assuming that was perfectly normal, she genuinely felt a failure because she hadn’t cracked it at two months. In her French circle she was the exception. In mine she was the exception, too – but for entirely different reasons.”

A year later, Pamela – who has lived in Paris since 2004 – was holidaying with her husband Simon, 42, and their daughter – known as Bean – in a tiny French holiday resort.

She had pictured leisurely lunches and dinners by the harbour, but the reality, she recalls, was “a circle of hell”. Instead of allowing her mother and father to enjoy their moules frites, Bean constantly tore up the salt sachets and demanded to escape her high-chair.

“Meanwhile, all around us French children sat contentedly in their high-chairs waiting for their food, eating fish and even vegetables,” says Pamela. “Their parents looked so relaxed.”

It crystallised something that had occurred to her soon after she discovered she was pregnant: French mothers seemed to adhere to different rules to their English counterparts.

She decided to investigate and, after interviewing dozens of French mothers, sociologists and doctors, wrote a fascinating book, French Children Don’t Throw Food.

Pamela, who now also has twin boys, believes that Gallic parents tend to be markedly happier and more relaxed – and their children better behaved than their British counterparts.

Read the article from IOL Lifestyle

 French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman is published by DoubleDay at £15.

 
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