Tiger Mom showed us why Chinese parents were better, and now Pamela Druckerman is making a case for the French. Short version: The grownups are in charge, and they don't cater to their kids' every whim. They teach their children patience and tend not to wind up with spoiled brats. French parents "have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive," writes Druckerman, an American raising three children in France. (Yes, there's a book: Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.)
For French parents, it's not about discipline, but constant education that begins early. "One of the keys to this education is the simple act of learning how to wait," writes Druckerman. "It is why the French babies I meet mostly sleep through the night from two or three months old. Their parents don't pick them up the second they start crying, allowing the babies to learn how to fall back asleep. It is also why French toddlers will sit happily at a restaurant. Rather than snacking all day like American children, they mostly have to wait until mealtime to eat." The education works only in tandem with authority, and Druckerman recounts being schooled by a French mom on the magic of a firm "No." (It's about tone, not volume.) Read the full column in the Wall Street Journal.