Gransnet forums


French Children

(26 Posts)
dorsetpennt Fri 06-Apr-12 11:41:31

Someone has written a book named something like 'French Chldren don't throw food' telling us more-or-less how wonderfully behaved French children are compared to ours. I can only go by the children I know and see of both nations so don't jump on me. I have a French neighbour, nice person, who has a 3 year old, sorry but he is,a brat. He rules the roost. He screams non-stop happy or not. He is up until 10pm at night and 'refuses' to sleep in his own bed. His parents don't think one can discipline childen under 4 years old. She has battles with his nursery because of this. Her sister and friend come to stay from France on a regular basis so the behaviour is threefold. There is a 3 and half year old and a 4 year old - both in nappies full time. They all hope their nurseries will potty train them. Their elderly neighbour is going mad today as the noise is ear shattering - she has been around to me in tears as she has no peace from about 8am to 10pm. God forbid we should complain as 'they are only children'
There are heaps of badly behaved English children, I've seen them. My GD though is an angel, she is very well behaved both at home and in public. She has her moments but knows that good and bad behaviour has consequences. Most of her little friends are equally good.
This book infuriated me as I felt the author was being very narrow in her views.

BlueSky Fri 06-Apr-12 15:00:35

These French are really perfect: the women are always immaculate and don't put weight on, the children are perfectly behaved from babyhood and their men....well we all know they are the best lovers on earth!

MrsJamJam Fri 06-Apr-12 16:33:24

And have you ever seen the behaviour of the groups of french schoolchildren on the cross-channel ferries? Appalling, and the teachers take no notice. No nationality has the monopoly on good parenting - some are good and some are unbelievable. Agree that book was annoying, since it is the way my grandchildren are brought up and they are certainly not French!

Anagram Fri 06-Apr-12 16:36:31

When we get groups of Fench exchange students in this area, the local shops are on 'shoplifter alert' - apparently they are notorious for it!

jeni Fri 06-Apr-12 17:11:04

I remember when both myself when young and the dcs when young,, the French children were terribly spoilt and sulked like mad if they couldn't get their own way.
On the other hand all the frenchpeople I have met when sailing have been delightful! Do thet suddenly metamorphose at a set age?

Supernan Fri 06-Apr-12 17:21:14

I saw this book in Waterstone's window. It annoyed me when I saw it. I wouldn't buy it on principle.

Wheniwasyourage Fri 06-Apr-12 21:27:59

Doesn't it depend on the parents, wherever the children come from? We had French visitors last summer. The parents had visited us when our children were young and they were young adults, and now they have 3 children aged from 11 to 4. They were fun to have, beautifully behaved (but not repressed) and the thing that really amazed us was that they ate whatever was put before them. We had thought about what you could give French people to eat - something Scottish/British but of reasonable quality, and decided on mince, tatties & mealie one night and chicken Jalfrezi from a Glasgow curry restaurant cookery book another night, and they scoffed the lot, which I think is pretty good going for children from anywhere. They are all slim and active too! What really got them going was a selection of British cheeses which we had expected would appeal more to the parents. They enjoyed porridge too (more than I can do) and altogether were a delight to entertain.

What I really mean by all of this is that it is impossible to generalise about a nation, or its children.

Greatnan Sat 07-Apr-12 09:46:08

Obviously, you can't stereotype all French children. They vary as much as children everywhere else. There are quite a few reports in the French press of child abuse, both sexual and physical so they are not all spoilt. What I have noticed in French restaurants is that most family parties include grandparents. I know my own gc tended to behave better when I was around , according to their mums. The children are also expected to eat the same food as the adults - although unfortunately a lot of outlets in the tourist centres now offers 'kids' meals' of the usual burger/nuggets/chips variety.
This woman seems to share the 'fluffies' view of France - perhaps she hasn't spent much time in the Arab ghettos of Paris, Marseille, Toulon or Touluse. There is just as much alienation, poverty and crime in France as there is in the UK, but most expats live in rural areas. It is like comparing Tower Hamlets with Tonbridge.
Peter Mayle and 'A Place in the Sun' have a lot to answer for. My own workmen were not in the last quaint or picturesque. Nor were they lazy, inefficient, expensive, or dirty.
I do like the way young people and children bid me 'Bonjour, Madame' when I pass them but I found when I lived in London that if I smiled at a group of young people (yes, even black youths, someone tell the Met) and said 'Hi, lads' they would usually respond pleasantly.
And yes, I lived near Dover and the shopkeepers there and in Canterbury would bring in extra staff when French coach parties were due.

dorsetpennt Sat 07-Apr-12 09:47:02

Exactly Wheniwasyourage let us not generalise about any nation - good and bad in all. We have a lot of foreign students in my town - some have perfect manners - some are awful. The same with our kids. This book was so biased to the French it fair made me gnaash me teeth - and I can't afford to do that!!!

wotsamashedupjingl Sat 07-Apr-12 09:55:44

When my daughters were at a European School, we found the German kids were the worst. shock

Not being racist of course. grin

wotsamashedupjingl Sat 07-Apr-12 09:56:52

One kicked a mother duck to death on the school premises. sad

They weren't all of them that bad though.

Danjo Sat 07-Apr-12 10:05:42

When my son was young I had a couple of French boys to stay. They were both aged around 14. Luc was lovely - very polite and tidy. I can't remember the other one's name but he stank to high heaven and didn't bathe. It got to the point where I ran him a bath and ordered him in it! Looking back I suppose there are a lot of boys who wouldn't bathe, once out of their parents' sight, whatever nationality.

harrigran Sat 07-Apr-12 10:07:57

DD attended a school in Germany and she said the level of behaviour was exceptional, all pupils were polite and helpful. Might have had something to do with the fact that disruptive children were removed to special schools and were not allowed to spoil lessons for the majority.

dorsetpennt Sat 07-Apr-12 15:36:36

Blimey moving distruptive childen to 'special schools' wouldn't be allowed here - they'd get too full smile.

granbunny Sat 07-Apr-12 16:11:53

i think moving disruptive children would be a fantastic idea. everyone in school would know that if they kicked off there would be consequences. it might be the solution.

glammanana Sat 07-Apr-12 16:39:44

Danjo I wonder if it was the same boy who satyed with us on a school exchange I also had to run a bath and came to near locking him in the bathroom before he got the message and DD had told him plenty of times what was expected of him,he smelt like an over ripe cheese before we managed to get him smelling sweet !!!

harrigran Sat 07-Apr-12 20:05:54

Must point out dorset that we are talking a lot of years ago, my daughter is in her 40s now. When we told people in Germany that in England our children attended private schools they assumed we had naughty children who had been removed grin

Mamie Sun 08-Apr-12 10:44:25

I agree that the book (I have only read extracts) is a sort of (annoying)yummy mummy view of French children and their parents and not typical of many French families. I do think that families I know are a bit less child-centric than English families. The children are expected to eat what everyone else eats and do seem to be in quite a strict routine as small babies. The schools I taught in just sent for the parents if the children didn't behave and if they were really badly behaved they were sent home. As the parents needed to work it meant that they dealt with the bad behaviour pretty quickly. I think most of the parents I know are quite strict and this is probably why the children go a bit wild when they are let out on a school trip. I don't hear French parents agonising about every decision the way they do in the UK.

Greatnan Sun 08-Apr-12 14:46:23

I taught the disruptive pupils that the other staff would not or could not handle. I found it a good idea to try to find out why they were disruptive. Segregating them in special 'sin-bins' might make life easier for schools, but doesn't help the pupils themselves.

jeni Sun 08-Apr-12 15:27:25

My angel next door has been round with her gd while mere, recovering from treatment from Ca has a rest .Mini is 2 1/2 brought up in Antibes, her mother was apparently moaning today about how unruly English children are c/f the French!

Delaradora Mon 09-Apr-12 14:49:12

Refusing to wash can be a symptom of homesickness for adolescents , like peeing the bed for younger children. It makes sense, not wanting to unwrap yourself in a strange place.

Annobel Mon 09-Apr-12 15:50:00

I think it's a rebellion! My senior GD went through a phase of refusing to admit that she had body odour. Now she is as fresh as a daisy and is definitely not French!

Greatnan Mon 09-Apr-12 16:10:03

My grandsons went from never washing to spending hours in the bathroom - yes, they had discovered girls!

gracesmum Tue 10-Apr-12 11:12:49

I have to laugh, both at the book and at some of our own comments. It has to be tongue in cheek, like French Women Don't Get Fat, doesn't it?
But isn't there a danger of also going down the racist path? Imagine if it had been entitled "German children Don't Throw Food" or "Asian Children .." etc.
Is it fair to make such sweeping statements about any nationality? Why is it considered OK if we "hate the French" so?

Hattie64 Tue 10-Apr-12 20:15:39

This book was written by a middle class American lady with an English husband living in a posh part of Paris. It is like an Englishwoman living in Kensington/Chelsea taking her children to upmarket restaurants, and they are perfectly behaved.