French Children Don't Throw Food: The hilarious NO. 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER changing parents’ lives

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French Children Don't Throw Food: The hilarious NO. 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER changing parents’ lives

French Children Don't Throw Food: The hilarious NO. 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER changing parents’ lives

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Even still, it was BORING. I cannot buy into the fact that EVERY French child is raised exactly the same, and that EVERY French child turns out well behaved. French mothers are also calmer about pregnancy: the "French pregnancy press doesn't dwell on unlikely worst-case scenarios". Au contraire, it recommends serenity. There are no terrifying warnings about foodstuffs or sex, or longings for a natural birth. In France 87% of women have epidurals, and don't seem bothered. We may think their system over-medicalised, but France "trumps the US and Britain on nearly every measure of infant and maternal health". And pregnant French women are thinner – particularly in Paris. To them, "food cravings are a nuisance to be vanquished" not indulged because "the foetus wants cheesecake". While we beg our children to be good, French parents tell theirs to be “sage”, which means wise and in control of their behaviour. The criticism of American nuttiness when it comes to overachievement and obsessive micro-parenting is important. Does it seem funny that a home school mom would be critical of "helicopter parents"? It might. But maybe not if you watched our day. My children tend to work independently. I give the lesson and walk away. I don't hover. I don't follow them at the park narrating their play. In fact, if they come over to my bench my reaction tends to be, depending upon my mood, mildly dismissive to openly hostile. Park time is for them to go play away from me and for me to sit and read without interruption. I agree with those in the book who think parents spend too much time organizing and interfering in their children's minute to minute existence while somehow remaining tremendously aloof from what their children are being taught in school.

I can’t believe this book is so popular. It leads me to believe that this woman’s publicist is a genius and that the readers who like this book are the same ones that like The Help, which includes the women who replace their entire wardrobes with Lululemon outfits as soon as they become moms. The sleep thing, in particular, seems to tie modern Anglo parents in knots and so I was curious to know how (apparently!), an entire nation gets its babies to sleep well from a young age. Also getting kids to eat a varied diet and sit at a dining table through several courses, to not interrupt when adults are speaking, throw tantrums, trash the house, escape from the playground, etc. I found it really interesting and I'll definitely be trying out a more authoritative tone of voice with my two DSs. I've already put an end to the endless grazing that DS1 likes to do (and then won't eat his lunch). The basis of the book has been recounted, but is worth retelling. An American author finds herself in Paris because of her husband's job. As she emphasizes, she is American; she does not live in France because of francophilia; she does not imagine that she will stay or live in France. Her discussion of The Pause was great in the same way; while she framed it mostly to do with listening to children and their needs (extremely important), I feel like it also gives parents a moment to gather themselves as well. I can imagine stumbling into a dark bedroom at night where a crying child lay, and just doing anything to help them. That makes complete sense. But forcing yourself to stop for a second gives you the parent a moment to think, not just for the kid's sake, but so you don't live your life feeling like you're on a high wire.

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What is also surprising is that for a book whose title and cover give the appearance of being a light hearted frolic through the streets of Paris this is actually a thoroughly researched book that covers a range of parenting topics from basic nutrition to Rousseau to "poop sausage". Which, frankly, is a progression that makes perfect sense to me. They would get upset much less often and never seem to have the great shouty crises we have. But at the table, French children are without doubt much better behaved. It's remarkable how British children just don't sit nicely and aren't taught any respect for people around them. It would be unthinkable to most French parents to inflict their children on other people." Thanks for stopping by and commenting. What you say about the French education system is so familiar from my own experience at university, my daughter’s experience in maternelle and from Hubs’s stories of school. Maybe it is changing though… The things that riled me the most were that I don’t find her qualified to generalise about France or the UK; from what I can tell her only experience of the UK is a British husband who grew up abroad, and her experience of France is a slice of Paris, and she herself admits she doesn’t speak the language. You couldn't do that over here. The parents would be up to the school complaining about the teacher in a flash," said one British friend. Fascinating... gripping... extremely funny... A desperately needed corrective to received wisdom about child-rearing and what having children is supposed to do to a woman's sense of self. I loved it. It made me want to move to Paris The Sunday Times

I found the author and I were equally surprised at some French attitudes / practices but that she has come to embrace many of them. I wonder how I will view this book, and French parenting, in a few years' time -esp as my husband is French (and thus, his family here) which could bring some expectations for ways of doing things different from what I'm used to (as a Kiwi).Several people mentioned that this book was helpful in seeing that French mothers don't feel guilty about numerous aspects of their parenting the way American mothers do. My spouse pointed out that it's books like these that contribute to mother guilt here in America, books that say you're doing it wrong, do it this way. I thought that was an interesting observation. every chapter was just generalization after generalization - All french mothers do this and it works, and all american mothers do this and look how we hover. Friends in London admire our children's faultless script – they learn to use fountain pens in the first year of primary school – but are horrified when told that the neighbours' six-year-old was declared " nul" – useless – by his teacher and marked down, even when giving the correct answer, because their ornate, loopy, joined-up handwriting was not up to scratch. They are different in that they tend to avoid putting on weight in the first place during pregnancy. They pay great attention to what they eat and they don’t see it as a free pass to gorge.” But are we perhaps giving the French far too much credit? Many of the French women work, as it is made much easier by state preschools and child care. The teachers are well trained and schooled, parents often resume their pre-baby lives but do so with a new member. Again, I fail to see how the author can say this doesn't affect the difference in parenting styles.

A problem I see is that today a lot of parents themselves do not know how to hold a knife and fork, and never eat at the table. My family have never eaten in front of the television, ever, nor will we, even when my DH is away, I use the dining room. They weren’t robotic, joyless children. They were happy, boisterous and curious and their parents were talking to them. They just weren’t having fits. That was the big difference.” I think there is more of an issue with food in the UK in that children tend to have “tea” (their evening meal) separately from the adults, and they tend to eat something different, which doesn’t really encourage them to try new things. If I do an earlier “tea” for L then it tends to be whatever we are eating, just eaten earlier.

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SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. Truly, I was thrilled someone actually noticed this, and that the pediatrician she interviewed had the same thought as me: You're doing it to reassure the world that You are an Awesome Parent. Meanwhile, everyone around you thinks you're nuts. Juston added: "The biggest difference in bringing up children in France and Britain are the schools. If, for example, a British child is artistic but not so good at maths, everyone says never mind, it will come. In France, the teacher will summon the parents and tell them: your child cannot write and cannot add up, we don't care about anything else. I was originally going to read the first couple of chapters, which deal with infants, and stop there. But much to my surprise, this was a far better book than I had imagined. What I was expecting was another pat, self-help-section miracle solution to everyone's parenting woes type of book (the endorsement by and comparison to French Women Don't Get Fat wasn't helping). What I found instead was an honest, informative, well-researched, and well-written account of an American mother raising children in Paris - and trying to understand the sometimes startling cultural differences she saw.

However, this does not mean they are not under pressure. They may accept the pressures of their society, which are very different from ours, but that is not the same as not feeling them. For example, weight control is a national obsession among the French. Not having regained your figure three months after giving birth is considered shameful. Literally. French husbands, doctors, relatives, friends, all feel that a woman who has not lost her pregnancy weight by three months is failing her duty as a wife and woman and will tell her so. My colleague and I (childminders) take 8 children 3 and under, out to lunch every week, not fast food chain, proper sit down restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Vietnamese, they sit beautifully, eat with cutlery, enjoy everything that is out in front them and make no mess. They do not run around, shrieking, get up and down from the table, no need for crayons, gadgets etc to amuse them whilst waiting for their food. The French are rightly amazed at what spoilt brats some countries manage to raise (though the use of the French labelling of all English speakers as Anglo-Saxon as assuming we are the same is rather frustrating). Children in France throw food. Children in the UK throw food. There are some children in both countries that don’t, but in general this is what small children do.There is a strong emphasis on waiting in France. Kids are taught to wait for their parents to complete whatever the latter is doing. They should not interrupt when the parents are talking, etc. Waiting forces the children to learn and cope with frustration. When I spoke to my French friends on the phone, I ­realised they never had to rush off because the kids asked for something. The big difference for me is around food and meal times. It's a cliché but it's true that food is important for us. Not only what we eat but how we eat. Mealtimes are an important social event." Have read he book a few weeks ago so recollections may not be fresh, but it was amusing and interesting. I am an Itallian living in London and wanted to see how Continental and Anglo-Saxon parenting differed, guessing (rightly) that my own style would be nearer the French than the British/American one. She also noted that English-­speaking mums seem to live in fear of telling their children off for fear of squashing their “creativity”.

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