Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Vive la France! Our Parents Can Learn a Lot from the French Way, Says Author Pamela Family PARENTING TIPS: Right, Pamela Druckerman's New Book, French Parents Don't Give in, Which Looks at the Gallic Way of Child-Rearing Life MUMDAY Edited by Marie Turbill and Sarah Dale WWW.Gazettelive.Co.Uk/familylife

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Vive la France! Our Parents Can Learn a Lot from the French Way, Says Author Pamela Family PARENTING TIPS: Right, Pamela Druckerman's New Book, French Parents Don't Give in, Which Looks at the Gallic Way of Child-Rearing Life MUMDAY Edited by Marie Turbill and Sarah Dale WWW.Gazettelive.Co.Uk/familylife

Article excerpt

Byline: Edited by Marie Turbill and Sarah Dale

IF your kids' behaviour is driving you up the wall, it might be time to take a lesson from French parents. SARAH DALE reports.

LIKE children the world over, French youngsters can be badly behaved, sleep poorly, eat fussily and have tantrums.

But such behaviour is not the norm, insists author Pamela Druckerman.

After bringing up three young children in the country, she firmly believes that the more relaxed Gallic style of child-rearing achieves the results many British parents struggle for.

And she wants to share her knowledge of their methods with parents this side of the Channel.

Pamela, an American, moved to Paris after meeting her English husband, who works in France, and they now have three children - twin boys aged four, and a seven-year-old girl, all born in France.

She first wrote about her experiences of French parenting in the best-selling book French Children Don't Throw Food (Black Swan, PS7.99), which proved so popular that she's now condensed its advice into 100 key tips in the new guide French Parents Don't Give In (Doubleday, PS12).

She points out that British and American parents tend to "micromanage" their children, and seem to believe parents should dedicate themselves completely to the child, sometimes sacrificing both their wellbeing and relationship as a result.

"But the French believe you have to find a balance between what's good for the parents and what's good for the child," explains Pamela.

Highlighting this more laissez-faire parenting style, one of Pamela's tips is not to over-stimulate children, and another is that extra-curricular activities are for pleasure, not competitive advantage.

"The French idea is yes your children need stimulation, so read to them, show them things, play with them - but not all the time. The goal is balance," she explains.

She says it's usual for French parents to say their baby sleeps through the night at three or four months of age, never because they're left to cry, but because they use sleep teaching, a gradual process that follows the baby's cues. …

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