French Parents Better than American Parents. Really?

After Paris the Moon, French Women Don’t Get Fat, and now Bringing Up Bébé, it looks like the French do everything not only right but also better than the Americans when it comes to life style, slenderness and raising kids.

Let me tell you as a French woman who makes her home in the US, that the Americans do a few things quite well too when it comes to kids.
When my husband and I took our French born baby for lunch for the first time, she was eight months old. It was in a small mountain town in the Pyrénées and the café was far from fancy. Since we both grew up in France, we didn’t ask for a high chair because that was not something you would expect in a French restaurant. We settled our baby’s car seat near us, on the ground, and fed her with food I had prepared at home before our trip.  Of course, I changed her diaper in the car.
Three months later, we moved to California where I discovered high chairs and booster seats, children’s menus (I know they are not that great but they can be convenient sometimes!), the terrific colorful playgrounds that grace most American neighborhoods, and the spacious family restrooms with their sturdy changing tables.
Now, that was a country that thought of her young residents’ comfort as well as the new parents’ peace of mind.
The following five points are part of an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle, article related to the publication of Bringing Up Bébé, book written by an American woman/mother living in Paris.
Now, I am telling you the truth and only the truth.
1) French kids sit quietly in their high chairs eating their vegetables and fish, while American kids are whining and throwing food.
Since the French spend more time preparing food and eating, kids learn at an earlier age to be patient before and during meals. But French or not, they are still kids and will play with their food if they don’t like what’s on their plates.  My kids have done it here and in France as well. Not too often, that’s true. 
2) French kids aren’t required to clear their plate but they do have to try everything, while American kids refuse to eat anything but French fries and macaroni and cheese.
French parents have dinner around a table with their children and don’t cook specific meals for them.  My own children love pasta and pizza and trust me, many French kids do too. 

3) French parents have the ability to focus on one parenting style and stick with it, while American parents read dozens of different parenting books, overwhelm themselves with information, and are constantly changing and questioning the way they parent.
If only it was that easy to stick to one model! But aren’t kids different from one another? My four children are so different that I had to adapt my parenting ideas. However it is true that the French tend to follow the parenting rules their own parents used, so there are many similarities between my parents’ way of raising me, and the way I take care of my kids. Idem for my husband and the French I know. So perhaps it is easier to raise kids since most parents share similar principles. 
4) French moms are sexy and skinny and quickly lose their baby weight, while American moms are forever dieting and wearing pajama bottoms when dropping their kids off at school.
I’m slender and lost weight quickly after my children’s births. But it’s in my family genes. I don’t wear pajama bottoms even to take the garbage out.  Read French Woman Don’t Get Fat for more on the topic. I won’t comment on my own sexiness. But I find many American women very attractive and some French women pale in comparison.  American moms have such perfectly done hair and nails! I won’t ever know how to do that. 
5) French children greet adults with a friendly bonjour while a typical American 4-year-old cowers at her mother’s leg. Ever notice how American children don’t look adults in the eye?
Non, non. What about the friendly American “Hi, how are you?” Lots American kids have had lunch, dinner and sleepovers at my home. Like kids from any other country, some are polite and some aren’t. Looking in the eye? I will pay attention next time my kids’ friends come over. Almost sure they look at me.
6) French babies sleep through the night by two our three months and French parents never use the “cry it out” technique, while most American parents don’t get a night of uninterrupted sleep until the child is at least 1 year old.
Well, my three kids born in the US slept through the night sooner than their sister born in France. The reason being, I’m sure, that I had no experience for her and developed a better approach with her siblings. It has nothing to do with being French or American. Just being a parent.
The article can be found here.
Enjoy! And relax! The French aren’t that perfect.
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