’French Children Don’t Throw Food’ is the title of a book I recently read. Written by an American mother, Pamela, living in Paris with his British husband and 3 young kids born in Paris, the book attempts to analyze the difference between French (or rather Parisian) parenting and Anglo-Saxon parenting. She has decided that she is a fan of French parenting, in which parents still have a life and children behave at dinner table.
After reading each chapter, I would ask Nicolas if he thinks it’s true or not from his childhood memories.
– ‘Did you always have 4pm snack and nothing else in the between of all meals’?
– ‘Of course’!
(Now I know why he always wonders around the kitchen about that time if at home, and how come he can wait till 8pm or later for dinner at working days while I’m usually hungry to death by then.)
– ‘Is a child not saying ‘bonjour’ (good morning/afternoon/hello) considered impolite’?
– ‘Of course!’
– ‘Did you spend weekends making cakes with your mom’?
– ‘Of course’!
(This explains why he makes heavenly delicious cakes. Lucky me.)
After a few ‘of course’ I stopped checking in with Nicolas. Of course he’s not going to oppose the idea that French parenting is the best parenting on this entire planet!
Yet, I’m not too sure about certain things that she talks about in the book. For example, according to her, French babies will all start to sleep through the night from 3 months on. And the reason? Because they know that their moms are going back to work after 3 months! I do personally know a few French mothers who took longer-than-three-month maternity leave, and I did hear the stories of their babies waking up at night long after 3 months …
With that said, I did observe from a few French children around me that they tend to behave, better than I would have expected. At least, they would always ask if they can leave the dining table if everyone else is still there. What I particularly like about French table manner is that there is NEVER TV at the background. No TV, no ipad, no phone, no newspaper. Meal time is conversation time with food and drink. What a contrast from many meals I had back at my home country, sadly.
To better validate what the book is talking about, I decided to consult the expert. So I asked my mother-in-law to try to find the book in France (I would guess this book has been translated in French?) and then tell me what she thinks about it. I will perhaps get more than ‘of course’ as response.