HealthWatch: Do The French Hold Secrets To Good Parenting?

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Photo Credit: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — From wine, to cheese, to sophisticated styles, Americans have adopted certain tastes from the French.

At La Boulange on Pine Street in San Francisco, the line stretches outside and down the street.

French speaking Ginette Chlar said people come from all around the area to taste real French baguettes. “It’s something about how we make the dough, they are delicious,” she exclaimed.

But will Bay Area parents adopt a Gallic parenting style?

“Bringing Up Bebe” is a French-inspired guide for parenting is now for sale in the United States and it’s grabbing a lot of attention.

American writer Pamela Druckerman, who lives in Paris, wrote the book. “I really had a revelation,” Druckerman said.

Druckerman was raising her first child in Paris when she noticed a big difference between her toddler and French toddlers.

“You know, why is it that my child is the only one throwing tantrums in the park?” she asked

The French had children who did not shriek, fuss or throw food.

“Their children were sitting happily in their high chairs, they were eating their vegetables, their parents were chatting happily with them,” said the American journalist.

So what’s their secret? For starters, Druckerman said French parents set firm boundaries but allow a lot of freedom within the boundaries.

She gave an example, saying “for bedtime, they’ll say you have to stay in your room, but inside your room you can do whatever you want.”

From a very early age, French kids learn to wait.

“They see being able to delay your own gratification, even if it’s just by a little bit, a few seconds, and not needing to get what you want right way and being able to cope with downtime and boredom as really a key to happiness,” said Druckerman.

In the U.S., a parent’s life often revolves around children. Not so in France.

“It’s not good for the parent. It’s not good for the child.”

So what do parents from France think about the book? Anne and Daniel Laury are from Paris but have raised their children in the Bay Area for years.

“It’s not perfect in France either,” Anne Laury told CBS 5.

They said there is much to like about the American style of parenting.

“Here they reinforce all the things that are positive in the kids and the self confidence in the kids which is also very, very good and creates very amazing human beings,” said Daniel.

In France, the opposite is true.

“In France you learn that you are not doing well- first! And that you have to prove that you can do well actually,” said Anne.

As for the new book, the Laurys said it’s true that French parents are very strict and told us to ask their kids.

Nathan affirmed what his parents said, and spoke about his mother.

“When she says no,” the young boy said, “She really means no”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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