Have you heard of the new parenting book, which basically tells us what rubbish parents we are compared to the French? Well if you’ve missed all the hype, it’s called French Children Don’t Throw Food, and it’s by Pamela Druckerman, an American mother of three living in Paris.
The book examines why French children (unlike our mutts) sleep through the night, eat food without complaint and don’t behave badly in public; and why their mothers (unlike us again) manage to look so slim and sexy. The answer, it seems, is because French mothers try harder and also act tougher. As a result their children are better behaved, and so the mothers can go to work and have more time to look good and stay thin.
Okay so that’s a bit of a rubbish summary of the book (but forgive me because I’m busy picking my kids food off the floor). Jokes aside this book annoys me HUGELY because it’s full of mega generalizations. Having two French friends who live in Paris, French children certainly do throw food and have tantrums, and my friends would be the first to admit it.
There are also picky eaters amongst French children and mothers who can’t control their kids. Of course there are certain things French parents are better at, such as making their kids say hello and goodbye (a bug bear of mine with children who don’t do that when you speak to them). Also many European children do tend to excel table manners, and using cutlery, something that many kids over here refuse to do (in my experience anyway).
However, what the book should be more honest about is that the French mothers have more time to look good, lose their baby weight, get a career and keep their tots in line because they have is a much better state childcare system than ours. Not only do French creches take kids from 3 months to 3 years (for the whole day should you wish it), but they are way cheaper at about £1.50 an hour, and better equipped that nurseries over here.
As for French women being thinner and more fashionable, that’s also true but that’s because French culture and French men are much less forgiving of women who dare to look different in general and who wants to live like that?
But what do you think? Is the author right about our slack parenting or is the book a load of old nonsense? Do let me know your thoughts.