A good parent

Un bon parent

has unconditional love and honesty.
is loving and patient with their children.
sacrifices a part of themselves for their children
who accepts you.
who cares for the physical, intellectual and mental well-being of her/his child and prepares the child for living independently in the future.
who identifies and nurtures their child's innate abilities, who helps their child learn through the mistakes of both child and parent.
who is flexible.
who is supportive of whatever endeavor you choose to undertake.
who lets her child become who he wants to be.
who loves you and wants the best for you
who loves you unconditionally and shows it, who you feel comfortable going to for help or support always
who loves you unconditionally.
who raises his/her kid to be the best s/he can
who supports ad guides you.
who supports without being a crutch.
who tells you that they love you
whose love you never question.
you loves you.

d'aimant, qui s'occupe de nous
de patient
éduque les enfants, joue avec les enfants, partagent le temps, s'inquiète pour le devenir des enfants mais les laisse libres.
ne nous oublie pas
prend sa responsabilité
qui conseille, qui guide, qui ne juge pas, qui pardonne
qui discute de tout son enfant, qui le suit dans sa croissance
qui écoute
qui écoute et prend des décisions
qui essaie de comprendre la différence entre générations
qui est toujours là, quoi qu'il arrive
qui me laisse une certaine liberte, me donne de bons conseils
qui pense à nous, toujours là pour nous.
qui remet toujours des sous sur mon compte
qui respecte ma vie privée.
qui sait concilier autorité et
qui sait faire suivre des règles sans les imposer, qui fait confiance à ses enfants.
qui s'occupe de vous
qui vous aide quand il le faut
sait avoir de l'autorité sans oppresser, sait établir une relation de confiance
sait punir quand il le faut
sait se faire respecter mais qui n'est pas trop autoritaire, quelqun qui te passe son savoir


As with the word "family" the greatest difference I perceive is the frequent American association of unconditional "love" with being a good parent, whereas the French have other ways of expressing this concept which seems to have no distinct equivalent word in french. I'm wondering though if the notion of "tough love" is more common in french parent/child relationships? While the Americans never once mention authority or imposing rules on children, the french list expresses the importance of a balance between respect and proper discipline.

Pour ma part, des parents qui aimeraient inconditionnellement leurs enfants doivent néanmoins être capables d'autorité : on voit beaucoup trop d'exemples "d'enfants gâtés" à cause de parents trop laxistes.

Pour la traduction de "love", on dirait "amour maternel"...

I think the example that Terry mentioned of "enfants gâtés" is an important one. Of course, it's difficult to generalize the way parental love manifests itself in one country as opposed to in another. But the prevalence of "spoiled brats" seems to be a uniquely American stereotype: more and more, American children have access to new technologies (like iPods, iPhones, laptops) at younger ages, and they are rewarded by their parents in material ways (such as getting a new car at age 16). I wonder if this national phenomenon (the American custom of throwing your child a Sweet 16, or buying her/him a new car, or giving your child her/his own room once a certain age is reached) is present in other countries. Are there different traditions that nevertheless establish a strong material relationship between parent and child in a similar way?

Je suis un élève chinois, et de ma part, il existe rarement des relations très matérialisées en Chine. Des encouragements matériels existent bien sur, mais ça vaut pas dire que la relation entre des parents et des enfants sont matérialisée.

It seems as though the American responses have more to do with feelings or emotions that parents feel towards their children (unconditional love, supportive, comfortable, accepts you, patient), while the French responses have more to do with actions that parents do for, towards or with their children (prend des décisions, donne de bons conseils, respecte ma vie privée, joue avec les enfants, punir quand il le faut). Though feelings and actions are present on both lists, they are nevertheless unevenly present. Why might this be the case? Does American culture emphasize or idealize these abstract emotional concepts (more so than does French culture)? Besides our parents and families, who else in society teaches us what a "good parent" is? What about in France?

I also wonder if the American understanding of a good parent is idealized? While the French accept that there is a good type of punishment or parental intervention, we usually emphasize freedom and autonomy for the child as being a good thing. I think that these different characterizations of parentage may describe our social realities (maybe American parents are more likely to be away from home and thus idealized or less active) as well as our political differences. Do our different responses on being a good parent mirror our views about citizenship and the police?

I would definitely agree that the American definition of a good parent is somewhat romanticized. When you (Phillip) said "while the French accept that there is a good type of punishment or parental intervention, we usually emphasize freedom and autonomy for the child as being a good thing," it made me think of the different notions of individualism between the two cultures. Even in parenting, Americans emphasis personal freedom of expression. On the French side, I notice that individualism is not nearly as idealized (égoisme, idiot, selfish...). Do others see any correlation between the French attitude towards the upbringing of children (justified control/punishment) and their attitude towards individualism? I think it is true on the American side, as here people (including children) expect that their unique identity will be accepted, nurtured, and even celebrated.

Je partage assez l'opinion de Lydia à ce sujet. On attend parfois que nos parents nous laissent tracer notre chemin seul, mais en nous guidant au départ. Qu'ils nous fassent profiter de leurs expériences mais qu'en même temps ils nous laissent libres de nous fourvoyer...

Non ?