La gifle

I don't say anything.
I gasp.
I might tell the person i was with in a loud voice "I cannot believe that she treats her child that way!" so she might overhear, but that would make me upset.
I walk past and grimace.
I would be shocked and saddened.
I would be upset but look the other way and not say anything because it's not my business, unless it seems like real harmful abuse, in which case I would say something.
I would become upset and judge the woman to be a bad mother.
I would feel extremely uncomfortable.
I would feel sad even if the child had been misbehaving.
I would feel sad, and know I would never do the same.
I would feel very uncomfortable but would be unable to say anything
I would get upset and look away.
I would hope she would feel guilty about it and never do that again.
I would think she is bad at disciplining her child.
Oh well. I wonder what the kid did
The child probably did something wrong.

à chacun sa méthode pour éduquer les enfants, même si je trouve que ce n'est pas une chose à faire en public
aucune réaction
Bien fait!
bien fait.
ça me fait rire,et je l'imite si je suis avec des amis
Il l'avait bien mérité le mioche !
Je fais comme si je n'avais rien vu
je fais semblant de ne pas avoir vu, c'est leur problème
Je fais semblant de ne pas voir
Je gifle la mère.
je lui éxplique que les enfants sont parfois(souvent) insupportables mais ce n'est pas une raison de les taper car de toutes façons aprés ça leur fait plus rien
je ne dis rien
je ne fais rien
Je ne fais rien.
Je n'en pense rien : je ne connais pas l'histoirequi a précédé.
je pense que l'enfant a fait une grosse bétise
je resterai stupefait parce cela se fait rare de nos jours
je suis choquee
J'en pense du mal, mais je ne fais rien.
L'éducation de ses enfants ne me regarde pas
Selon l'intensité, je passe mon chemin, ou je tend l'oreil pour avoir la raison de la gifle ( en cas de gratuité, je fais une remarque non agressive à la mere)
Surement quelqu'un qui ne sait pas comment se faire respecter autrement.


Although many of the American and French students would respond with non-interference, the American responses generally focused on how they would feel after witnessing the slap--upset, shocked, saddened, sad, extremely uncomfortable--whereas the French responses expressed what they would (or wouldn't) do--je ne dis rien, je ne fais rien, J'ignore, je gifle la mère, Je fais comme si je n'avais rien vu. Why might the American students have emphasized their resulting feelings as opposed to what they would or wouldn't literally do? Likewise, why might the French students have focused less on the specific feelings they would have towards this mother?

As we saw in the discussions about "good parent" and "well-raised child," the French seem to accept and encourage a stricter means of disciplining children. In response to a mother slapping in public, all but 3 American students sympathized with the child and felt shocked or uncomfortable in witnessing such an event. Of the 3, 2 were indifferent and only 1 felt that the child probably deserved the punishment. On the other hand, the French responses were more mixed, but the majority expressed their approval of the mother's reaction ("bien fait!" "il l'avait bien mérité la mioche!") Though it's true that the French typically respond more with direct actions rather than emotions, it is interesting to notice how differently the American and French sympathies lie (or don't lie) with the mother in this situation.

This slap may or may not indicate a deeper level of child abuse, but I was wondering what connotations Americans have with child abuse that the French may or may not have. What level of interference exists in cases of child abuse in France? In the US, for example, the child can be taken from the home by social workers/the government if there is proven, and sometimes even alleged, child abuse. How much intervention takes place in France within the home life, such as child/domestic abuse?

In his book, FRANCOSCOPIE, Gerard Mermet says that the "familial democracy" that the liberalism of the 60s established as France's (and I'd say the rest of the West's) model for family life has recently come under fire in France. There is, Mermet says, a tendancy towards " un retour de l'autorité " in regards to parenting and away from a perceived " 'tyrannie' de l'enfant. " Without a doubt, a new modus operandi "between liberty and authority, equality and difference" will have to be developed by the modern family.

I'm only curious if you at ENST agree or disagree with these statements because, as others have effectively pointed out, the mother in our hypothetical situation enjoyed much more sympathy in your responses. Are you all perhaps too young to really have a strong opinion about the truth in Mermet's statements on family life?

I have a question similar to Meaghan's. Americans seem to be kind of obsessed with shows like Law & Order and Judge Judy, which kind of dictate a certain way things are supposed to be - there's always the bad guy that needs to be caught vs. the helpless victim. SVU is the most popular version of Law & Order and it often deals with child abuse. I feel like these shows not only reflect how life is "supposed" to be in America, but also influence how we think our life is supposed to be. On these shows, it seems like there is an obsession with children being victims, as well as an obsession with punishing and looking down on the perpetrators. I find this interesting because the Americans tended to look down on the mother, and side with the child instead. Do the French have any shows like this? The French responses seemed more varied than the American responses, and also were more indifferent.

La je ne parle que pour moi, mais la seule fois où j'ai reçu une gifle dans mon enfance, je l'avais vraiment méritée. Alors dans ces situations, même si j'ai naturellement tendance à être du coté de l'enfant, je me dis que je ne peux pas juger sans savoir ce qui s'est réellement passé.

Pensez-vous vraiment que des série comme SVU peuvent influencer ou modeler l'opinion de leur public ? Je trouve aussi que cette série reflète une obsession de la victimisation (alors que j'aime beaucoup L&O ancienne version), est-ce la série la plus populaire aux US ?

Moi je croyais que on nous demandait quelle réaction 'visible' on avait par rapport à la gifle. Effectivement dans ce cas je ne dis rien, mais ça ne veut pas dire que je n'ai pas de réaction émotionelle. J'ai forcement un avis sur la gifle qui a été donnée mais je n'en fais pas part parceque ça ne me regarde pas.

J'ai perçu la question comme Florence.

La "paranoïa" américaine envers les enfant maltraîtés n'existe pas vraiment en France, même s'il y a eu l'affaire Outreau (un grand nombre d'adultes accusés à tord de pédophilie par des enfants manipulés)...

Je ne suis pas vraiment d'accord avec cette idée de parents français autoritaires, c'est même franchement l'inverse pour la plupart des parents soixante-huitards!

Florence points out that the French generally focused on the "visible" reactions- but that does not change the fact that a large majority of Americans felt it necessary to emphasize their disapproval of the mother and their pity for the child even when they did nothing. I don't think this necessarily points to a high level of child abuse tolerance on the French side though. Rather I am curious how upon the violence almost all the Americans concluded the mother was at fault, even though we do not know what the child did. Does this point to a more automatic rejection of physical punishment in American homes? Or a greater sympathy towards children who express themselves well rather than acting like little grownups (relates to question of enfant bien eleve)

Les avis sur l'éducation des enfants sont vraiment partagés et très personnel, je ne pense pas que l'on puisse généraliser en France, il ya ceux qui refusent absolument de frapper leur enfants et qui préfèrent dialoguer avec eux, ceux qui sont partisants d'une éducation stricte avec des punitions corporelles ou des privations ... et puis ceux qui mélangent un peu les deux, mais ça dépend vraiment des gens et de l'éducation reçue en fait.

Mais je me demande si chez vous les parents sont vraiment "laxistes" avec leurs enfants, est-ce qu'il les laissent vraiment libres ou que les enfants font vraiment la loi ? (comme les enfants de Lynette dans Desperate Housewives par exemple, je me doute que c'est exagéré mais bon...)

Because I agree with what other's have written about the problem inherent to making general statements about nationwide parenting styles, I couldn't tell you, Chloe, if American parents are more or less "laxistes" with their children. The legislative actions of many individual states in recent decades, however, would indicate that state governments are taking issue with how American's are raising their children. Many states have passed "social host liability laws," which seek to curb parental endorsement of underage drinking. Such laws make adults criminally and civilly liable when they provide alcohol to minor guests who go on to cause death or injury. Generally, the rationale behind such laws hinges on law enforcement data that link violence, drunken driving, sexual assault and other crimes to underage drinking. Some states' laws will even punish adults if they haven't purchased the alcohol consumed, that is, simply if drinking takes place in their homes. There has been significant debate over this issue and renewed debate in Rhode Island due to a recent teen drunk-driving incident. Some feel justified in criticizing "social host liability laws" due to the fact that MANY citizens consider underage drinking to be a rite of passage and thus applaud efforts taken to ensure that it takes place in a safe environement, under parental supervision.

Les américains semblent beaucoup plus choqués que les français face à cette situation. Peut-être qu'il est plus rare aux USA que les parents recourent à ce genre de corrections pour punir leurs enfants. Quelles sont les formes de punition employées aux Etats-Unis?

I feel that what Chloe said about punishment (que l'on ne puisse pas généraliser) is true in the United States too. In my experience, I have encountered people who were hit as children and people who were not. It's a really personal decision within one family, and it doesn't come up that much in conversation anyway. It seems that in both France and in America, the decision about how to punish a child is a very personal one, and it is hard to generalize.

What I've found to be a common form of public punishment (which could seem equally hurtful from a bystander's point of view) is verbal abuse. I feel that more parents in the United States yell and chastise as oppose to physically hurting their children. I guess that this goes back to the issue of what is considered an acceptable form of public punishment. Parents, themselves, don't want to be embarrassed by appearing to be abusive, just as much as children don't want to viewed as misbehaving.

I definitely agree with what Patrick wrote. I would say that verbal "abuse" or embarrassment is much more prevalent in the U.S. as a form of punishment for children (at least publicly), and parents are wary of drawing attention towards themselves. I am wondering if there is a French equivalent to the American saying "causing a scene" or "making a scene"--basically, a phrase that refers to unacceptable public behavior that draws the attention of bystanders. If so, is this something that happens often, or do most people conform to what is acceptable or appropriate public behavior?

Oui ce type de comportement est très fréquent en France également, notamment à proximité des caisses de supermarché...