Are French Kids Better Socialized Than Ours?

Lately I have come across a couple of articles about French children who are, it was said, more polite and better socialized. The discussion was started as a result of the launch of a new book by Pamela Druckerman called Bringing UP Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.

I have not read the book but in reading the articles I found myself thinking about the years we lived in Quebec. Our family lived in Western Quebec while the children were in elementary school. My kids had friends who were Francophone and Anglophone. And I can tell you that I immediately knew which culture any given child came from before he opened his mouth.

The English speaking kids would want to go directly to the child’s bedroom or playroom and spend the entire visit playing with them. The French speaking kids would come into the kitchen and start to visit. The English kids were used to sticking to their own age group. The French kids assumed they were visiting everyone in the house.

It was an interesting distinction to observe.

What do we want for our kids?

Should we have our children eating holiday meals at a children’s table? I don’t think so. I believe that when we include all ages around the same table, our kids learn table manners, how to socialize and feel connected.

When we are having a multi-generational gathering should we shoo the kids off to another room or place or allow them the join us or move to the other place when and if the spirit moves them to move on? If they can join other generations, they will learn manners, how to socialize and feel connected. They will know that when they want to engage in more rambunctious play, they should then go elsewhere. It’s simply polite.

What if we were to teach our kids the expected protocols and expectations when they are socializing rather than avoid the issue by simply not including them with the older folks?

It’s a thought.

What do you do? What do you think?


Posted in Family Concerns, School-Age, Teens | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Are French Kids Better Socialized Than Ours?

  1. Gary Cody says:

    Interesting. One hates to generalize, but in all the years we have visited Mexico, I can’t ever remember seeing Mexican children throwing temper tantrums or otherwise acting out. Different family dynamics and expectations, I guess.

  2. Gigi Centaro says:

    Kathy, you are so right. I don’t have children and because of my lack of experience I don’t have a right to comment on how people raise their children, but I can, and do, observe. I’ve never fully understood why American parents cater so much to their children and European parents do not. My husband has relatives in Italy and I have visited them 11 times. I’ve eaten most of my meals in Italian homes and the children sit, eat and talk to the adults. They eat whatever is served without complaint and they stay and visit with the adults. Italian children have great manners and are very respectful of each other and adults.

  3. Kathy says:

    Great article! We run an online parenting course and one of our primary tenants is that kids should be treated as we want to be treated. I can’t imagine going to a party and being told I would have to sit at a different table than the people I wanted to be with.

    Thanks for the article!

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