Parenting in France

March 8, 2012 

Concerning the benefits of French education debate, I agree with John Rosemond's point in his Feb. 21 column that children need boundaries, and an attitude that communicates "I know what I am doing." However, Rosemond goes overboard when he says French parenting hasn't changed in the last 100 years, that children shouldn't interrupt adult conversations and that French parents do not read parenting books.

When I travel in French trains today, I note that children are both well behaved and talked to by their parents. I envy those children because when I grew up in France after World War II, I felt invisible in the middle of five older siblings and two parents who spoke over my head. I emigrated to the U.S. to get the special attention, and education I had lacked in France. I raised my two sons here with a happy mix of French rules and American listening.

I regret that any debate in the U.S. today is either black or white, and that parents in the U.S. are viewed as solely responsible for their children. In France parents are buttressed by the collectivity, which helps their self-confidence and happiness. I cannot imagine a French citizen complaining about paying education taxes, for example.

Fabienne Andre Worth

Durham

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