This is a really interesting article by an American parent who lives in Paris. Her observations are very similar to mine about kids playing happily alone and parents interacting with kids. Her interpretations are different. She takes the French word “cadre” (translated as “frame”) and interprets it as authority. I would be more likely to call it “container”… This also links with what I learned from Trungpa Rinpoche in studying Shambhala: The Path of the Warrior about discipline not being (self)punishment but being a form or a container that one can then relax inside.

Some of her interpretations are a bit questionable (eg “cadre”=frame=authority) and why 2-3 month olds are sleeping through the night but its really quite good. I love what she learned about “educating” vs “disciplining”, shouting vs being firm and holding boundaries, and learning how to let kids just play in a good container (my language). Also behaviours around restaurants, meals and sweets. I had given up trying to read the Wall Street Journal coz so much of it seemed like utter crap 🙂 But it’s really very interesting. It reflects alot of the behaviours of parents and kids that I admire (who are mostly American or Australian 🙂

“Soon it became clear to me that quietly and en masse, French parents were achieving outcomes that created a whole different atmosphere for family life. When American families visited our home, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids spats, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build Lego villages. When French friends visited, by contrast, the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves

…Driven partly by maternal desperation, I have spent the last several years investigating French parenting. And now, with Bean 6 years old and twins who are 3, I can tell you this: The French aren’t perfect, but they have some parenting secrets that really do work…”

read the whole article: Why French Parents Are Superior by Pamela Druckerman –