Parenting Like the French

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I read an interesting article today, and I called Even Steven at work.

Even Steven: Hello?

Me: It’s me. I just read this article, and we need to start acting more French.

Even Steven: Really? What did you have in mind?

Me: Oh my gosh – NOT THAT! This lady wrote a book about how the French are better parents than us and in this article she shared a few reasons why.

Even Steven:
Do you really think the French are better parents?

Me: Well – on days like today – I think EVERYONE is a better parent than me. Whether they’re French or in prison or whatever – they’re better than me.

Even Steven: Okay. We can give it a try if it will make you feel better.

We spent the rest of the day trying our best to parent like the French.

We spoke only in French

Well – Even Steven spoke in French.

I spoke Spanish with a French accent, “Necessito ir al bano?”

We ate French Fries for dinner

If we’re going to be French, let’s be French! Despite their confusion over what we were saying to them all night, the kids really enjoyed dinner.

They wore berets

Frenchy Face Alice

After our evening of parenting like the French, I can say that there was no significant change in behavior.

Alice cried after pooping when she realized it didn’t come out with polka dots.

Miles continued to ask us what comes after eleventeen.

What comes after eleventeen?

Seriously. Can someone please tell me what comes after eleventeen? In English, por favor?

And Simon spent the evening yelling at us – (Even Steven is positive he understands French.)

But we’ve decided to give being French a few more days before we give up altogether.


  1. Danielle Higginbottom-Brown

    February 9, 2012 at 7:26 am

    LMAO! this is all I have to say on the matter………(lol)

  2. Kai

    February 9, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I suspect you are a fabulous mommy, Anna! But I think perhaps when you are at the point of getting right down to child level, looking the little ones in the eyes & snarling through bared teeth, “I do NOT want to see, hear, or SMELL you for the next 48 hours!”, French MAY not be the turn-to culture. Please DO let me suggest the African way of child rearing, a way that seems to be highly successful. I’m certain you’ve heard their mantra: It takes a village to raise a child! Ahhh … very true! So when your children are driving you not ONLY all around the garage in a circular motion but right up a tree, take the African words to heart – SEND THEM TO THE NEIGHBOR! Let THEM deal with the screaming and tantrums and … ooops! Let THEM assist you. By the way – parle (sp?) vous SWAHILI????

  3. Sha

    February 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

    thanks for always starting my morning off with a laugh!

  4. Ahhh Mom

    February 9, 2012 at 8:17 am

    My daughter used to always say eleventeen too!

  5. sue

    February 9, 2012 at 9:05 am

    lol. u kill me! maybe i should try the french thing. we don’t have any close neighbors either, so i can’t send them there. have a great day!

  6. Mom

    February 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Your kids must really be confused now since your Spanish teacher always said you spoke Spanish with a Japanese accent!! My poor grandchildren…but isn’t Simon brilliant !

  7. fadderly

    February 9, 2012 at 9:48 am

    lol! that beret pic is HILARIOUS!!! classic…

  8. Trish

    February 9, 2012 at 10:41 am

    My husband read that article and then sent it to me. I sort of skimmed it. I’m sticking with my American parenting. As shoddy as it may be. But maybe I should learn French so I have another language to yell in.

  9. Kelly

    February 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    This is hilarious!!
    I just found your blog today, and am loving every minute. 🙂 Thanks for all the laughs and insight!!

  10. Natalie

    February 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Haha – we often say we need to learn Mandarin or French – then speak gibberish to the kids… Your right tho – it makes no difference whatsoever to the behaviour…. sigh… I suppose English it is….

    How is Simon doing? On the mend?
    xx Nat

  11. design fluff "Lucy"

    February 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Ha! Hahahaha! The French actually do think they are better than everything in comparison to us poor clueless Americans! Don’t take that wrong, I love the French and get upset some times that I wasn’t born a french person or black, even.

    My oldest usually speaks Spanish with an Irish accent. My youngest thinks eleventeen is a number, too! Thank God, I was starting to think he was a little slow….

  12. Patricia

    February 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I saw that lady on tv giving an interview about her “insights”. Now I’m waiting for a French mother to come to the good ole USA and offer her tips on how Americans parent.

  13. imklvr

    February 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    WHAT????? Eleventeen isn’t a number???????????? Oh. well. I’m younger than I thought, then. OK. Mercy boo koo. (that’s French for thank you)(hehe)

  14. Paula @lkg4sweetspot

    February 11, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Ha – still laughing! Maybe you should try Russian – they seem like they could get results out of their kids. The language alone would demand attention – haha. Very fun read.

  15. Natalie

    February 12, 2012 at 6:06 am

    SO glad Simon is doing better – its not fun when the babies are sick . Thanks heaps for letting me know xx Nat

  16. sparkling74

    February 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    It’s official. After spending 48 hours in France, I can officially agree that the French are much better parents than Americans. They don’t yell. Kids on the metro are not whining, running, jumping. I did see a sobbing child who was crying that she didn’t feel like leaving “j’ai PAS ENVIE” but the father just threw her over his shoulder and they walk ed away. Even that wasn’t a loud sobbing, no tantrum. We were shocked the train ride back to where we are stayin that a father quizzed his son on material for a quiz tomorrow and though the kid didn’t want to do it, he did. He was playing with his phone and all he had to do was quietly tell him to put it in his pocket. AND HE DID. NO sulking, no whining, no fussing. We saw some kids in a cafe who were entirely well behaved and self occupied. Yep, I can speak as an authority. Those French do it right.

  17. SAHMmy Says

    February 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Funny! I’ve ordered the book from my library; I’m #37 in line… Not expecting to be transformed (and wary of the article mentioning french practices that seem suspiciously CIO-bent) but it’s always interesting to learn how others parent.

  18. Tam

    February 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Wow, it only takes 48 hours to become an authority on the entire population of parents in France? I hope that comment was “tongue in cheek”! I’ve traveled there extensively (for more than 48 hours) and I saw kids misbehave and have tantrums and I saw tired, harried parents struggling just like we do here. I also encountered plenty of overweight French people once we left Paris. Americans have an idealized view of France (and all of Europe) and perhaps the author is playing on our inferiority complex just a bit? Just a thought to consider. I enjoy your blog and it looks to me like you do a terrific job of parenting, whatever language you decide to use!

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