The weekend Wall Street Journal article ran an intriguing article, Why French Parents are Superior. It’s still No. 1 on its list of most emailed articles. It’s a good read, adopted from Pamela Druckerman’s new book Bringing Up Bebe. She writes with insight about why French children are better behaved than American children.
However, the article minimized the role of public policy in helping out French parents. I couldn’t buy it. Here’s her “to be sure” paragraph:
Of course, the French have all kinds of public services that help to make having kids more appealing and less stressful. Parents don’t have to pay for preschool, worry about health insurance or save for college. Many get monthly cash allotments — wired directly into their bank accounts — just for having kids.
But these public services don’t explain all of the differences.
No, they may not explain all the differences. But that is a lot of support that American parents don’t get. Yes, culture matters. But institutions are also extremely important. I haven’t read the book, but my reaction is, Well, maybe American parents would be more like the French parents you admire if they had all the backing of those services. Oui?
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.