New week, new little tour of the United States! We have already looked at the differences in the cost of a child in France VS in the USA, now place the big differences in terms of education! (Not school, huh, parental education.) Obviously, everyone is free to educate their child as they wish, and the points covered here are global. There are of course differences from one family to another. These are simply the most commonly observed facts.
1. In the USA, everyone eats in their corner
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In France, the question does not really arise: the small family generally meets at dinner time, around the same table to share the same meal. In the United States, it is quite different. It is not uncommon for the dinner to be divided into two stages: the children first, with a simple menu, and the parents following, with a sometimes different dish. According to this August 2022 study, the average American only eats three dinners a week with their family.
2. Overall, American parents are less judgmental
Where French parents tend to say “14/20? You made some silly mistakes, sorry. », American parents will prefer to say « Good job baby! 4 points above the average is good! Keep it up! “. (Source)
3. …And a little more patient
American parents get upset less easily/quickly over their offspring than their French counterparts. At least not in public. A crying fit, for example, will be more quickly considered a whim and reprimanded here than across the Atlantic. The Americans are less punitive: they explain, before arguing.
4. American parents are ahead of the “science of emotions”
In the United States, parents consider that the child’s brain is still immature, and that they are there to encourage expression at school and at home. They are ahead of what is called “the science of emotions”: if the child is angry or sad, the parent(s) will help them put their feelings into words. Where the French will order “stop your caprice”Americans will say “So, there, you’re angry because this… It’s normal. On the other hand, do you think that hitting or throwing you to the ground can solve the situation? Yes ? How ? ». At school, it is not uncommon to see color codes, called “cool tools”, to help children find solutions in the event of a conflict. Among the recommended attitudes: breathe deeply, go for a walk in the yard, don’t utter mean words,… It’s Care Bears, but it’s not a completely stupid attitude.
5. French parents are more a stickler for politeness
” What does one say ??? “, “Excuse me, I did not hear correctly ??? “: does that remind you of anything? Hey, your parents pretty much every day of your sweet childhood. In France, our parents never give in on the principle of politeness, whereas it is secondary in the United States. That doesn’t mean it makes rude adults. They are just a little later than our children, who learn to say “thank you” before saying “pee”.
6. Besides, we don’t learn the same number of “magic words”
In the USA, there are only two “magic words”: “please” and “thank you”. In France, we double the polite formulas taught to children “please”, “thank you”, “hello” and “goodbye”. At Hogwarts, it’s different again. The magic words taught include ‘Wingardium Leviosa’, ‘Lumos’ and ‘Expelliarmus’. But hey, the results don’t have much to do with the formulas used by muggles.
7. In the USA, the child is king
This goes hand in hand with the previous points, and the different approaches to anger and emotions. In the USA, it is not uncommon to come across a parent negotiating with his two-year-old child. We don’t upset the little ones, we rarely raise our voices. This can give rise to new situations for French people, such as seeing a father or a mother running after their child at the supermarket, with a big smile on their face, or parents carrying the schoolbags of their 4 toddlers on their backs. The “baby bosses” are much more numerous there than at home, and at the start, it’s… Destabilizing?
8. “Competitions between parents” are not the same
I’m not telling you anything: humans are endowed with an impressive ability to judge others, when nothing has been asked of them. (Yes, this sentence is clearly a judgment of others, without anyone asking me anything. But what do you want? I am human after all.) In France, parents tend to be judged by their peers on their mode of education. It’s not uncommon to hear “olalala, don’t hang out with Kevin, he’s rude!” “. In the USA, the squabble between darons is different: there is clearly a competition of “who are/is the best parent(s)?” », « Who will organize the coolest birthday ? », « Who will organize the best weekend? »,… Basically, we have an educational judgment VS a judgment based on appearance. Either way, it’s not very healthy. Let people do the best they can without judging, shall we?
9. In the USA, letting your baby cry is not an option
It’s almost considered child abuse, actually. An American parent who hears his child crying in his room runs to him to soothe him. It’s based on one of the obsessions of American education: to avoid hurting others at all costs. In France, parents more easily let their children cry in their beds a few minutes before going to see them. It’s a controversial subject to which more and more people are coming back, but it’s still much more common here than in the States.