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I'll address this issue in my own book to be titled 'Why the French are Arrogant'
ETA - I obviously didn't read through the whole article when I initially posted - I reacted to the book referenced which was written by a French person ;)
I think there are some valid points - but I don't sense hyper-competitive parenting in the way described in that piece - and maybe this is a regional thing - but I have been struck on the whole by how polite my kids contemporaries are - maybe it's good ol' Southern manners being instilled?
i can't say i agree with all of this but i don't disagree with it either. Manners and respect need to once again be taught from the beging to childern regardless of what we might think they can handel at certan ages or to what we think is cute behavior. if a child knows how to be respectiful to others and use commom manners around others they will be more welcomed in social cirles than kids who have no clue as how to act in public.
While I dislike to call American kids brats overall. Generally speaking, there is much truth to the article. Now don't go ballistic on me. The word is "generally." Not all. Maybe not most? Likely not yours, and yours. In fact, I meet quite often those outstanding young children and young adults that will be our next leaders. But as a parent of three. Grandparent of one. Long time involvement volunteering with children, etc. Actually taking the time, my time in service. Taking money, my money, because there's not enough partcipiation and sacrifice to meet the needs. Investing in those children of others, not only mine. It's very clear that we have a problem with severe cases of narcissism, starting with the parents, and then passed down to their offspring.
As to the question "why are some American kids brats?" PARENTS!! That simple. Now one can point to government programs, schools and other forms of hard and soft indoctrination. Media culture, etc. But just whom allows the government, schools, etc. that we have, to operate as such? PARENTS!
Many parents will sell out their beliefs, and the proper rearing of their children, for a nickel on the dollar. Politicians know it. So by slay of hand, the children are lost, for the passing of programs of much lesser value than those riches that should be passed to our children.
Bad manners originate in the home. Most children out in the public that display this, model this from their parents.
Parents should be in charge of the home, and those under their roof. Not the children. Nor the neighbors. Nor the government. Nor the schools.
Children should be respectful of other adults and children that they come in contact with. Parents should instill this. Reinforce this. Demand this.
Parents should be parents and protectors first. Friends after all the other adult parent responsibilities are met.
All children are different, even from within the same family. Allows those parents that are demostrating a desire and effort to work with their children to reach full mature and decency, to do so. Without undue critisim from those with very limited knowledge of that particular family dynamics and the particular child's personality.
Doubt the parents role in the child's manners. Talk to just about any teacher, police officer, or those that actually spend lots of time with the children of others. Meet the child, you've meant the parent in most cases.
What I'm surprised about is the number of people that are so quick to jump on the bandwagon of bashing all American youth. Sure, I've encountered a misbehaving child in public now and again, but most parents I know are invested in raising polite, considerate kids. Even the best kids have bad moments, and I'm sure that's true in France, too.
What's funny is that my husband is French, and he will be the first to say that from what he's seen, French kids may be more polite in the home, but more rude in public. He's made the statement before that if we ever lived there, he would never ever send our children to a public school because of such widespread bullying and lack of supervision. Although there is bullying here and you'll certainly find "bad" schools, he lauds the way that it is mentioned and brought out in public and how it's trying to be headed off; that doesn't happen over there. The student to teacher ration is much more than here and you have to really be aggressive academically to make it via their academic standards. I've been there and have seen it first hand and had to agree. There's just a lot of differences that seemed more cultural. I wouldn't say they push manners harder, but they push academics, especially math and science earlier and harder and they allow their children a lot less television and electronics (again, this is just from my observation) They tend to have more of the generational upbringing, too, with not just the mom and dad, but the grandparents nearby to give a hand. This isn't the same for everyone by any means, like here, but remember, France is a much smaller country than we are; people tend to stay local as they grow up, go to school, get jobs, and start their own families. They may be better as a whole at letting their yeas be yeas and their nays be nays, but there's so many factors that go into upbringing children and how they turn out, to me it's like comparing apples and oranges.