French Style Parenting Vs. American Parenting — What's The Difference?

By
Share
Ad failed to load

It is no surprise that different countries have wide-ranging differences in culture, cuisine, and entertainment. It looks like even parenting styles can vary widely from one country to another. So when it comes to French style parenting versus American parenting, what are the major differences anyway?

Now, just to clarify, this is not meant to pit two countries against one another in a fight to see who raises the best babies. Both parenting styles have their pros and cons, and parents from any country can pick and choose from the different methods to find an approach to childrearing that works for them.

There are also a couple of caveats when comparing the two styles. Mainly, there are tremendous variations of parenting styles within each country, so that children in different regions of the United States may receive wildly different upbringings. And even children in Paris may be parented differently from their peers in Nice.

Ad failed to load

So here is a quick overview of what appear to be the biggest differences in how the French approach parenting differently from Americans. By understanding the many ways other countries approach common childcare quandaries, parents can rethink their methods of dealing with discipline, bedtime routines, and celebrating milestones. Because if there’s one thing that unites parents the world over, it’s a desire to raise happy, healthy children into well-adjusted adults.

Ad failed to load

1French Parents Don't Have Separate 'Kids' Food'

GIPHY

Picky eating is apparently not well-tolerated in France. "We [Americans] assume ... a little more that kids have inherent likes and dislikes, whereas the French view on food is the parent must educate their child and that appreciation for different food is something you cultivate over time," Pamela Druckerman, an American mother of three who resides in Paris, told NPR. Perhaps chicken nuggets are not the end-all be-all of kid food.

2French Parents Pause Before Nighttime Checks

GIPHY

This is a little trick that may help some sleep-deprived American moms. As noted in Scholastic, French parents will often wait a minute or two before going to rescue a crying baby at night. This gives the infant time to learn how to self-soothe and go back to sleep if possible.

3French Parents Give Independence Earlier On

GIPHY

As Kerry Hardy, an American raising two kids in France, noted in The Huffington Post, French children as young as 7 years old are often deemed responsible enough to walk to school or take public transportation alone. Of course, for American parents, your mileage may vary with this technique, depending on where you live (and whether your neighbors are busybodies).

Ad failed to load

4American Parents Are More Focused On Individuality

GIPHY

In The Atlantic, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry said, "American education, flawed though it may be, leaves more room for children to express their individuality." Gobry went on to note that children who are exceptionally well-behaved may simply be browbeaten into submission, and that boisterous children may one day grow up to be secure, productive adults.

5French Parents Trust Their Instincts

GIPHY

Reading loads of parenting books is probably not high on the to-do list of French moms. As Dominique Misrahi, a French mother who has lived in the US since 1999, said in Today, “We use more of our parenting instincts to guide us. In some cases, you really just have to do what you feel as a parent.” Sometimes maman knows best.

6French Moms Don't Compromise

GIPHY

In France, mothers do not routinely seek compromise with kids: what mom says goes. As a piece in The Telegraph noted, French children's temper tantrums are not tolerated. Kids are expected to follow their mom's lead.

Ad failed to load

7French Moms Have Less Guilt

GIPHY

Many American moms have to contend with the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't question of whether to work after having children. But in France, as explained in The Washington Post, there is a tradition of working mothers, so often women do not have to deal with the same guilt of trying to "have it all." (But France also has government-subsidized child care, so that might help the mothers in that country have a little more peace of mind.)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}