A well behaved child ...

Un enfant bien élevé ...

  • does what is expected of him/her.
  • does what they are told.
  • follows the rules
  • follows the rules, gives lots of wide-eyed smiles at their parents, does chores without being asked
  • is a reflection of their parent(s)
  • is obedient, is respectful, should be like an open book.
  • is polite, is calm
  • is respectful and listens to the opinions of authority
  • is their own person, does what they are told
  • listens to adults.
    is quiet.
  • listens to elders, brings pride to parents
  • listens to their parent, doesn't throw temper tantrums in public
  • listens to their parents, doesn't constantly seek attention, acts kindly toward his/her friends and elders
  • listens to their parents, is curious but knows their boundaries
  • listens to their parents.
  • listens to their parents. , does as their told.
  • never made history.
  • obeys their parents
  • respects everyone not just adults
  • respects their parents, doesn't cause trouble for their parents
  • sits still, follows instructions, doesn't yell.
  • understands consequences, has positive outlets
  • aide les personnes en difficultés
  • doit comprendre la société où il vit
  • est celui qui respecte les personnes les plus âgées, est celui qui demande toujours la permission avant d'utiliser quelque chose qui ne lui appartient pas
  • est derrière une bonne maman
  • est poli
  • est un enfant poli
  • est un enfant qui respecte les autres
  • est un enfant qui sait se tenir (en société, à table...).
  • n'est pas forcément un enfant bien éduqué ; il ne faut pas confondre éducation et bonnes manières.
  • pense aux autres
  • pense aux autres.
  • respecte ses parents.
  • respecte ses parents.
  • respecte ses parents malgré les différents.
  • respecte son entourage.
  • s'excuse quand il fait une bêtise.
  • sera un bon citoyen, ne fera de mal à personne, sera un bénéfice pour le pays,
  • suit les enseignements de ses parents et est capable de se comporter correctement en société.


Dans les réponses américaines on retrouve essentiellement des réponses disant qu’un enfant bien élevé écoute ses parents et fait ce que ses parents lui disent tel un soldat qui obéit aveuglement tandis que de notre côté il ressort plus des termes comme le respect, le fait de penser aux autres ou la politesse. Voyez-vous l’éducation comme des ordres à respecter ou comme une transmission de valeur?

I think the difference is in the translation of “well-behaved”; for me a well-behaved child by definition follows orders and does not contradict his/her parents. However, I would not define simply listening to one’s parents as a sign of being a well-raised, well-rounded, well-educated child, which is what I think the French refer to more.

I think both groups acknowledged the importance of children respecting their parents and other elders, but the French commented more on the politeness of the child, while the Americans focused more on children being “well-behaved” as @sophieg said. I definitely think that overall, manners are more emphasized in France then they are in the United States.

What are some of the proper manners it is important for children to exhibit?

I agree with the above two comments. It would seem “well-behaved” in the context of America has this implication of maturity where children are supposed to understand respect and discipline to the point where they act civilized, and kind of undermines the frivolity of childhood and child-like behavior.

@Jlampart, I think you bring up a good point, in the French view of the word, a child can respect their parents and still do fun childish things like run around in the yard and have fun, but in the American view of the word, there is an image of a quiet child that sits in the chair, does his/her chores, and folds his/her hands over their laps. I really like the analogy that was used to compare them to a soldier, because I often get that image when thinking of the perfectly well-behaved child. It’s also interesting to think though, that it has been becoming less and less common for children to be that category of well behaved. Which version of well behaved do you guys think is better for the parents? And for the kids?

@ guillaume: As everyone has pointed out, the question header is very important in this context. Actually, I believe that whereas the Americans were prompted with “well-behaved” - which definitely, in our minds, refers to an obedient child who does what he/she is told - the French students were prompted with a phrase that translates more closely to “well-raised.” If the American students had been prompted with “well-raised,” we might have given completely different answers. What do others think?

It’s interesting that the French definition of a well-behaved child is more loose. I think that in America, well-behaved isn’t necessarily a reflection that the child was raised well, either. We’re moving more toward the idea that kids should be more than just well-mannered: he/she should also be independent.

@guillaume Your last question is interesting, to bring up education. In America, education is much less about respect than it is in France. For example, teachers have much less authority over students (I would expect). The student-teacher relationship can certainly become a close one, but in most cases it does not and I think that American students often disrespect their teachers, especially in middle and high school. Education is more about gaining knowledge purely, at least in my experience.

I also think it’s interesting that so many Americans responded with ideas of obedience. My response was the “never made history” one (as a play on the quote “Well-behaved women never made history”). I was raised by parents who grew up in China and lived through the aftermath of Mao’s rise to power (I don’t know how much Chinese politics / current events are covered in France, but they’re not covered well in the US) and basically, kids are fed lies and brainwashed into believing that the Chinese government is good and for the people (it’s not, but that’s a whole other story). Because of this, my parents have always encouraged me to think for myself and to remember that teachers are not always right, and to always take what elders say with a grain of salt. I think this explains why I responded to this prompt in that way.

However, I think that there’s definitely an idea of “Children should be seen and not heard” that’s pervasive in American culture. This could be the reason for why so many Americans responded with obedience and rule-following. Personally, I think it’s a harmful idea - Children are some of the most insightful and truthful people, and adults really should listen to them more and take their ideas into consideration.

@kashlgh: I’ve actually never noticed American students disrespecting their teachers, so I’m curious as to what you’ve observed to make you think that way. However, I do agree that Education is more than about gaining knowledge (at least in the book sense). I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from school (both high school and college) is how to make relationships with people, whether that be with peers or teachers.

@sophieg : En effet, je suis d’accord avec toi quand tu dis que la traduction ne fait pas référence à la même notion. Ceci explique donc surement la grande différence de nos réponses.
@kashlgh : En France le respect des profs n’est pas toujours exemplaire. Je dirais que cela varie énormément d’un établissement à un autre. Dans l’enseignement supérieur je ne doute pas du respect des étudiants en vers leurs professeurs mais au lycée et collège particulièrement il est malheureusement assez fréquent d’entendre des histoires relatant un grand manque de respect en vers le corps professoral. Je n’ai été témoin que de rares mauvaises situations, et ce n’était pas bien méchant. Cependant j’ai entendu de nombreuses histoires de mes amis (particulièrement dans des collèges publics) que je n’aurais jamais soupçonnées.
@hera013 : Je dirais que le manque de respect entre professeurs et élèves existe probablement autant aux USA qu’en France, c’est juste qu’il est noyé dans la masse et que nous ne pouvons pas tous (et c’est rassurant dans un sens) en être témoin !

J’ai eu la même remarque que Guillaume et les différents points de vue explique la différence.
Pour moi, la question que j’aimerai discuter est quelles sont les causes pour lesquelles on peut trouver des enfant rebelles et comment y remédier ?

@chaf.madkour I don’t think there is ever only one reason that a child becomes a troublemaker. I think that it often stems from a lack of accountability either because the child is spoiled and their malicious actions are tolerated, or because the child is given so much freedom that their malicious actions go without notice and therefore without punishment. Without instilling in a child a sense of accountability, it is hard for them to understand what it is to do something wrong and how they should feel about doing bad things.

@chaf.madkour: I agree with @erbri in that there can be multiple reasons for a child becoming a troublemaker. Perhaps their parents don’t pay attention to them and they feel the need to lash out in order to get noticed. Perhaps their parents impose too many restrictions causing them to feel trapped and they feel the need to rebel and lash out in order to find some freedom. Perhaps their parents are abusive. Perhaps their parents allow them to do whatever they want with no repercussions.
I believe that most of the time, a child being a troublemaker is a reflection of bad parenting. Is it a similar case in France? Do people blame the parents if the kid isn’t well-behaved?

Although both have a sense of respect, especially towards one’s parents, they both have very different feels evident in the phrase itself. For Americans the term is a well behaved child and for the French the term is a well raised child. In the American definitions it seems like the child’s actions are solely the child, and a well behaved child is an individual who doesn’t hurt others’ emotions. In the French definitions, it seems like a well raised child’s actions reflects the parents, and in order to be well raised they must be a beneficial member of society.

Can a child in France be well raised and divert from the norm?

I think that the idea of being spoiled or privileged is very prevalently associated with the notion of a misbehaved child. Kids are considered misbehaved if they don’t properly understand their place in society. Perhaps the large disparities in socioeconomic status, etc. in America contributes to this. It’s hard to teach kids where they fit in because oftentimes, the US is more like a cluster of non-overlapping communities that are culturally, locationally, or financially different (and many more sources of difference). The idea of being “sheltered” or “in a bubble” comes up a lot.

@kashlgh I think it’s very interesting that you brought up the notion of spoiled children being misbehaved. In the forum on good parents, a couple of the French responses discussed parents not spoiling their children, while none of the American comments mentioned this.

@aokello Je rebondis sur votre question, puisqu’elle me rappelle un enfant que j’ai connu il y a quelques années.
Son éducation était, je pense, hors de la norme, dans le sens où ses parents souhaitaient lui imposer le moins de contraintes possibles. Fils unique, il était l’archétype de l’enfant roi. Dès qu’il outrepassait les règles, ses parents préféraient en rigoler. Ils avaient mis en place une éducation discutable, l’enfant savait utiliser un Ipad avant de savoir parler. J’avais même l’impression que ça développait un côté autiste en lui, car il a commencé à parler très tard (plus de 2 ans), et encore, ses phrases étaient plus des baragouinages qu’autre chose.

Je suis attristé de dire ça mais je doute qu’il ait eu une enfance facile, son entrée à l’école a dû être terrible, et je pense sincèrement que l’on peut remettre son éducation atypique en cause.

What does it mean to be “derrière une bonne maman”?

Ce n’est pas une expression qui existe en français je pense que ça veut signifier que si un enfant est bien éduqué le mérite en revient à la mère (j’imagine).
En tout cas je suis d’accord avec vos réponses je ne pense pas que les sens des mots soient parfaitement égaux.

Je partage pleinement l’idée de @kashlgh. En effet élever des enfants gâtés ou privilégiés les pousse à être souvent plus agressifs et impolis. Les enfants gâtés se plaignent sans cesse de l’existence, parce que l’habitude d’être comblés les rend incapables d’apprécier ce qu’ils possèdent et donc ils se comportent mal à l’égard des autres.

Je n’est pas vraiment le fait de gâter l’enfant qui le rend agressif, c’est plus de lui donner tous ce qu’il veut afin de le calmer car c’est plus simple que de lui faire comprendre de se contenir. C’est juste des parents non responsable qui ne se préoccupent pas de l’éducation de leur enfant.
Si les parents apprennent ce qu’il faut à leur enfant, je ne vois pas le problème à ce qu’il soit gâté en preuve de son bon comportement.