« Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Plans | Main | Memo to the Boss: Get up to Speed! »

February 21, 2012


Monika Roychowdhury

When we go to a restaurant, we try to use this opportunity as our quality time together as in today's life, its hard to find free time when you can focus on your loved ones and forget about outsid stresses. We try to decide our orders fast and one of the parent keeps the kids busy by talking to them. As soon as the order is placed, we get involved in either story telling, jokes, coloring and other such involving activities. It gives us quality time together while we are waiting for the food. It ends up giving us double the fun, eating out and having fun together.

Mary Brighton

As an American mom raising four young kids in th South of France, I also was very interested in this book. But, if you understand how French adults are, the French way to raise kids is not always the perfect way. A wonderful combination is to embrace all the positive sides of French education (school& at home), while also promoting the positive aspects of raising American kids. Hard to do; I try here at my house and it is not easy to do.


I have 3 kids age 4 and under. How do I get them to sit still at a restaurant? It's easy: we don't take them to restaurants. I don't care what continent you are raising children on, 3 toddlers are not going to sit through an "adult" meal. It's not fair to the parents - whose meal is ruined constantly shushing and placating kids, it's not fair to the other patrons, and ts not fair to the kids who are just being kids. They're not brats - they're TODDLERS.

My kids are 100% at the center of my life right now. And that is 100% appropriate. At this age they require so much care and attention -- their little personalities are just starting to emerge and their psyches and just forming. In a few years, when they are better able to understand and follow directions, then we can have family night at Applebee's. In the meantime if my husband and I want a night out, we get a babysitter.

And as for whining, hitting, not sharing, not listening - time outs and losing priviledges, such as snacks, TV, etc. works for us. But more importantly giving them structure so they know what to expect at what time heads off that behavior before it starts.

All kids are different and different approaches work with one but not another. Giving kids the freedom to be kids within a safe environment with consistent rules helps them learn appropriate behavior. But these books about "tiger moms" and "French moms" and what're else drive me insane. Nobody has the answer. Just trust your instincts and love your kids. They can work out the rest in therapy later. :)


My kids are grown now, but I can tell you, they learned very young that whining NEVER got them what they wanted, so it was futile. Even when I was willing to give them what they were whining for, I would say that if they stopped whining and asked for it in a normal voice with respect, they could have it. They only way to eliminate whining is to NEVER EVER give in to it and to teach them how to ask for what they want properly, then reward it when what they want is feasible and appropriate.


"They can work out the rest in therapy later. :)" Wow, that quote with a smile at the end just gave me a chill. Let's hope all parents don't think that they will just go with "the instints and just love your kids" are enough to raise the children and if they grow up to be troubled person then they can pay for their own therapy. Such a bold statement and responsible thing to say as a parent.


I am a 23 year old mother of three wonderful, well behaved kids here in America and although speculations have said American parents do not know how to dicipline their kids I do not agree. In my opinion it does not matter from what country you are as long as you have the patience and the right skills no matter were the background. All I simply do when at a restaurant is before I get there talk to my kids and tell them how I need them to behaveinside. Kids would always be kids but to ignore them when they need something to me is just not right.Thanks.


I guess I am not reading into it as much as the other commenters. The article simply talks about not giving in to your child's wants instantly. It doesn't say to ignore their needs. My sister has had great success differentiating wants vs needs early on. I am sure that is not as easy for every kid, but certainly worth a shot. It does seem that we have trouble distinguishing between wants and needs as adults, however, which may make it hard to teach our children. I am hoping not to have to avoid restaurants for the next 5y.


If I lived in France, where the work day ended promptly at 5, drinking wine at lunch was acceptable, and didn't have to worry about health insurance - I would probably have more patience and time to instill more patience in my kid and myself. In the American culture most homes REQUIRE two incomes, day care and health care costs are on the rise and most people work long past 5 if they want to keep their jobs (don't forget that day care charges you by the minute for being late).

PS - These are just parents own testimonials, that are biased (how can they not be) and based on personal observation. Please notice that no is talking about an actual scientific study showing that either parenting style (whether by choice or necessity) has had a long term beneficial or detrimental effect on kids.


Every child is different. I have one child who, in her early years, was very strong-willed. She was born with acid reflux and had I let her cry, and not responded to it right away (as one ex-doctor told me to), it would have been very detrimental to her health. I was a new and very clueless parent, but I followed my gut instincts. After she was diagnosed and her condition improved, I was able to work with her on patience, kindness, and thinking of others. She's eight now and is such a creative, sweet, and empathetic little girl. I encourage new parents to read all the books on parenting they can, and then incorporate what you feel will work for your family. Mostly, follow your gut and be conscious of what your child needs to be a happy, productive adult, whether it's nurturing one minute or discipline the next.

Jasmine Lopez

I am of Latin background, and I was raised this way. Like French ways briefly described, I have chosen that my daughter be this way as well; despite the bickering or disapproval of my peers and relatives.

Jasmine Lopez

Also, I'm a full-time student and--due to unfortunate circumstances--a single mother.


I am a British mother of one, living in the States. As with others who have commented, it does not matter where you come from but how you view certain behaviors and what you wish to cultivate. Growing up we learned the difference between a want and a need, and I hope I am instilling this in my son. Asking nicely and not whining is something I am also cultivating, I am proud when restaurant staff and members of the public comment on my sons polite manners and he isn't even three yet. He may have his moments but all children do! My son also knows that he may ask for something, like listening to his music right now, but sometimes we have to compromise. He is getting very good at asking for his songs on after Mummmy has listened to her her songs in the car.


I agree with Kate. I think it Is about knowing the difference between your child's "needs" and their natural childish "wants."

Having lived w/kids from Canada to Germany to India and back to the USA, I have observed various cultures in child raising. Only across USA have I seen children race around in restaurants uninhibited; or parents either ignoring their loud antics, and/or placating them w/ constant attn;(they must act like this at home too...)

I know how tough it is to be consistent with discipline (not abuse).I have young kids too, including a Special Needs, hyperactive, sensory seeking child..but even he is learning patience. Like a poster suggested; have many active young ones? Leave them w/@ sitter;& have a date night..parents deserve time too. :)

Mari Brown

Andi--right on! I totally agree. It was great to read all of these responses...


I recently bought this book and I am currently reading it.

As a french living in North America for the last 11 years and now a new mom (My son is 8 mo old) I am loving to see the perspective of an American raising their kids in Paris (where I was born and raised), It makes me remember some of the things when I was a kid and actually put words on some of the instincts I have as a mom now.
On the other end, I have a perfect example in my sister in law being a stay at home mom, totally devoted to her kids, homeschooling and all.

For me, the best way is 3/4 french (meals and food, limits and "cadre" with a lot of freedom inside of it), 1/4 american (implication in kid's life, warmth)


I agree with most of the comments here.

My husband is from France and I have nieces and nephews that are French and being raised in France. It all comes down to generalizations and we have to remember, we can't do that...in reference to anything!

Kids are kids...each different and unique. I was honestly embarrassed by the behavior of my niece and nephew when then came to visit. I didn't want to be seen in public with them. French isn't better. It's just different. Again, like everyone else is saying, each child, family and situation is unique. Do what works best for your family.


I started taking my children to restaurants just two weeks after they were born and have done it often. My eldest is 2 1/2 and he sits through the entire meal. He loves going out to eat and got the message since he was 1. My two other babies are 8 month old twin girls and rigth now they are in training.


If your kids are 100% of your life - I really feel sorry for your kids, regardless of their age. What happens when they don't NEED you - how will you transition. Please don't be one of those parents who calls me asking if I can give their college aged child an internship.

Yes kids need to be attended to but parents need to stop acting like the child's servant. It is not ignoring your child to ask them to wait.

At a family lunch my 5 year old niece was served something she didn't like. She howled (not from her seat, she was standing) and four adults jumped not to tell her to quiet down because we were in public, but to figure out how to make her happy. She's 5 years old!!!!!! She doesn't need to have the sun shining on her every five seconds and four adults to clean her plate, get her a new plate and to ask in a nice voice what she wants. She then rolled all over the floor in the restaurant, climbed up on a wall ledge (kicking the wall and making marks) and her parents didn't seem to care.

My 4 year old who knows his manners watched in shock. I can take him to any restaurant and barring bedtimes and the need to pee he is fine on his own. People watching can entertain him not four adults bowing to his every need. And he's not ignored. We include him (to his age level) in the conversation.

I fear for how horrible these children will be when they are adults. We are seeing it now - kids who choose to live in their parent's basement than get a job and start adulthood. I'm a recruiter - you would be shocked what The '00 graduates tell me.


Hot topic ! I'm a French mom in US and I can tell you that, exept the food part, everything else in all the articles about this experience is a big generalisation. All parents know that limits are good for kids but they also know how it is difficult to impose them.
For example, before 2yo, my first son cried a lot when it was time to sleep. I spent a lot of months beside him, trying to keep him quite until he fall asleep... For my second boy, It was easier, from the begining he found his sleep by himself, I just had to put him in the crib and close the door... Don't ask me how, you know this is not about culture!
As every mothers, I try to do my best, I just keep my mind opened, because I don't have the "parent's science", and I think we can find good things in every culture. Yes my children know how to play by themselves. Yes they eat spinach and zucchini. But they also ask for attention as every child in the world, they want to be served when they are hungry, they cry when they are tired, and as every parents in the world, I try to answer the the best I can... this is not about where we are from, this is a question of good sense, parenthood feelings...

Someone wrote about the government helps we have in France, and I can say that paying part of the daycare charges helps us a lot to combine the woman, the mother and the wife we are. We actually have the choice. We are allowed to be active parents without sacrifice (Or we can also decide to stay at home and go back to work up to 3 years after birth). That's a big difference ! And to combine each part of this life, we need to find how to be the best in every situations. That's why some say that we teach our kids to be patient.

So, just stay openminded, and from this Pamela Druckerman, keep this all thing as an experience to share and not as an advice or something that you have to do :) For me this is just a new occasion to think about who I am, what I want and how to make it better every day for my family, and for me !... (and sorry for my poor english).


I was in France few months ago. We went for a dinner to a nice restaurant. There in a corner was bunch of strollers. In one them there was sitting a 2-3 year old girl. As amazing as it was, she sat there quit the entire evening , while her parents enjoyed the dinner. I felt very sorry for the little girl.


why did you feel sorry for her? did she look like she was unhappy? or just not behaving like you thought any 2-3 years old you know should behave?
kids are challenging,and can be hard sometimes but the beauty of it is that they don't hold bad feelings long. If you give a kid bounderies for any given circonstances and then teach him/her how to keep them, then with time and effort and patience, and lots of love, you will have well behave happy kids. It takes time, effort, both parents to agree on the same line of conduct and keep an open mind. Remember when you were a kid, don't teach a lesson to your kid in front of other kids or people watching you, or get on his/her level while talking and explaining to him/her cause no one likes to be looking up when being reprimanded!!!
Anyway like others said it's all a matter of doing what is best for your children, do not let anyone else tell you what you should or not do, i grew up in France, lived 5 years in the US and am raising my two children age 4 and 14 months back in France. French kids can also be not well educated, it does take time and sometimes some people are not up for the challenge. Just because it's easy to have kids (for some people) doesn't mean it is easy to raise them. Not everyone can be a parent, and some should not have kids if they don't want to say NO to them. They are not going to love us less if we don't give them what they want right away, it's different if it's something they need you can depending on how you taught them to ask...it's up to us parents to show them by examples the way to behave or not. Let'e not underestimate their capacity of learning and their intelligence either. Parents most of the time know better what is best for their children. And if someone doesn't like the way you teach your children things or the way they are being raise, don't tell them about it if you think they might not understand. Encouragement and rewards are great, just like basic hi, bye and thank you and kisses and hugs. No one should tell you how to raise your childre, you should know better, and if no one taught you (my mom did not do a good job at it) find an example of people in your life who have done it, and try as best you can to follow it for yourself. I did not have an easy childhood, and i could have easily done the same things to my own children if i did not see better. I also had a choice and i made it and learned with my husband what was important for our children to know...it's about choosing a path for them, one they can look back later and say "they did their best with what they had and what they knew" they did it because they loved us. I hope they'll say they are glad we have raised them that way, but again no matter how much we love them and want the best for them, one day they will have to make choices by themself base on what we try to teach them. We just have to trust that they make the rights ones, and if they don't, we'll still love them and hope they will be happy with their own children!
Sorry for the poor english writing!

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Great care starts with a conversation.
    Premium Members can unlock these tools for any caregiver:
    • Send unlimited messages
    • Access background check options
    • View reviews and references
    Not a member? Join today!