Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

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Everybody is talking about it and the article can be found here (sorry, it’s in French). To cut a long story short, the Council of Europe has condemned my home country for not making the spanking and slapping of children illegal. This is a purely symbolic gesture obviously. France won’t have to pay any fines. But still, the Council of Europe has said it. I must admit that I have been thinking about this most of the day, and it brought back some mixed memories of my very French upbringing. You see, we keep reading about how we French bring up our kids with firm boundaries, and how this is good for their development. There are books about this. Some of them are even bestsellers. They glorify the fact that we French parents give our children stricter boundaries that our Anglo-Saxon counterparts, and say that this is something the rest of the world should learn from us. Let’s not sugar-coat it : such books are written by authors who clearly haven’t been brought up in France, and want to feed parents’ insecurities to make a quick buck. Somehow, they believe they know it all because they have spent a bit of time in France. They naively believed what they were told. Total and utter non-sense. I have said it. It is out there. The reality is, once again, far more complicated.

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