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Matches my own memories of French children in social settings. Druckerman obviously has a book to flog but it's an interesting comparison.
Indeed, when we visited Paris a few years ago, we were amazed at how well (and independently) children played on playgrounds while parents enjoyed each others company. My 9 year old daughter even commented on it.
While Americans fret over modern parenthood, the French are raising happy, well-behaved children without all the anxiety. Pamela Druckerman on the Gallic secrets for avoiding tantrums, teaching patien...
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I have spent a lot of time in Poland where the attitude to parenting is the same as this. It's the model I follow (instinctively) with my own children. I am not a fan of 'child-centred' parenting.
It's always been important to me that my children know how to behave in a restaurant or cafe. They have never been allowed to rip open sugar or throw salt around. I have noticed that the children of 'helicopter parents' seem to behave more annoyingly than those with more relaxed (but not so relaxed as to be feral) parents.
The other side of the coin is that France (and indeed Poland) is a very conformist society without the British tolerance/love of eccentricity.
+Rob Scovell, I did wonder if it led to noticeably curtailed adults, but I don't think it does. Perhaps it's offset by the French being a lot more aware of their cultural and artistic history than in the UK? Also, go back a few generations and kids here were probably better behaved and we had more eccentric adults. :-)

I thought the article made a good point about the child playing by themselves; if they can keep themselves amused, or be happy buried in a book, then they'll probably sit still for thirty minutes in a public setting when asked.
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