A well-behaved child is someone

Un enfant bien élevé est quelqu'un

knows when to admit his mistakes
that knows when not to push the limit
who appreciates what its parents have provided for them, who respects its parents.
who does not care about the money but about his/her client.
who does what is asked of him/her to the best of his/her ability.
who does what their parents say within reason and respects/honors people/things around them.
who doesn't cry too much.
who follows the rules.
who has good manners
who is polite and respectful
who is quiet, who does not expect everything to be given directly to his hands
who is quiet, who obeys instructions, and who is polite.
who is respectful
who isn't overly loud and boisterous.
who listen to his parents.
who listens to his parents
who obeys all of the rules, who is respectful.
who obeys his parents
who obeys his/her parents, shows kindness to his/her peers.
who obeys their parents, who does well in school, does not lie, does not watch too much TV
who questions authority, but does not do it in a brash way
who respects his parents and older people, who is loyal to his values despite external pressure
who respects others
who will do as his parents tell him

bien dans sa peau
bien dans sa tête, qui respecte les autres
de correct avec les autres
de poli
de poli
de poli, de discret, de serviable
de poli, discret, serviable
de poli, sérieux et généreux
poli, sage
qui a répondu à une bonne éducation
qui dit merci
qui dit merci avec le sourire
qui est poli, quit dit bonjour, au revoir, merci
qui est respectueux.
qui garde les valeurs de ses parents
qui ne réclame pas
qui obéit
qui parle correctement
qui respecte autrui, équilibré
qui respecte et qui écoute ses parents
qui respecte l'âge
qui respecte l'autre ,poli
qui sait se comporter, quelqu' un qui obéit
qui se tient bien, parle avec respect au adultes


I notice that for the American students, we talk about respecting one's parents whereas the French talk more about respecting all adults. What differences in the upbringing may influence this?

When we discussed it in class, we decided this was because of the forming of the question. While the American translation is "well behaved" which is typically applied specifically by one's parents, the French version is more like "properly raised" (literally "a well-taught child") which already implicates an action on the part of the parent, so it doesn't make as much sense to make the parent the object of the action. I realize that is a little long-winded, but I think it captures the heart of the issue.

Evans, while this is definitely true, I believe that it reflects the differing attitudes of society as to how a child is brought up, because these two phrases are the closest in translation to be found. In America, the focus is on behaviour and obedience to the parent; In France, the focus is on education, manners, and upbringing in order to present the child well to the world. Yes, there are different meanings to the phrases, but I think that in itself says something.

I also noticed that the French are concerned with the politeness of their children in public - saying thank you, hello, etc. I think in France, a well brought up child is raised to be polite and respectful in general. In America, the focus seems to be on a child's behavior towards their parents.

Pour répondre à Tingting Peng, je pense que la différence vient du fait (peut-être) qu'il y a plus de divorce en France qu'au Etats-Unis. A Paris 50% des couples divorsent finalement et en France, c'est 33%!! Il y a une fracture dans la "famille traditionnel" en France. Le lien familial est peut-être moins important qu'aux Etats-Unis. L'école a remplacé le rôle des parents dans notre éducation!

In response to Adil, that's possible in Paris, but the divorce rate in the Unites States as a whole is the highest in the world, at least according to this website: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/peo_div_rat I don't know how to explain it, but it certainly is an interesting idea.

Perhaps French children are just told to respect their neighbors more? Americans kind of have this cut-throat feeling about people they don't know - there's always this kind of inherent competition.. but I guess that's democracy for ya.

I'm wondering if the difference between the American and French upbringing have to do with the character of the societies. In other words, Americans are more focused on the individual, so they are not AS concerned with how their children present themselves in public as long as the children respect their parents, whereas the more communal-minded French worry about this more in their children. What do others think?

In response to Adil and in agreement with Brian, the US divorce rate is pretty high... I think recently it was noted that over half of marriages in the US end in divorce?? I would say that in the US family connections are less important than in many other countries. In the US there are alot of parents who want to be "their child's friend" rather than a guiding force (or at least this was the case in my town) so you end up with alot of kids who never really had an older authority figure to respect, which translates into a lack of respect for most other people. Also, it doesn't seem to be very politically correct anymore to discipline your child (child abuse is a very sensitive matter in the states). I definitely don't think that MIT is really a good place to get a good idea of what America in general is like.. I mean, over a third of us are Asian (I think) which means many of us have had very different (and often stricter) upbringings than the typical american child.

What I found striking here is how often people at MIT mentioned noise, loudness, etc as being the main criterion for how well-behaved a child is. Our friends in France didn't mention this (not explicitly), and I can't quite find an explanation for this difference. Any thoughts on this?

Although the divorce rate is also very high in the US, I think Adil made a good point that in France school provides the upbringing that the parents used to -- in the United States, kids generally don't get this kind of experience from school, so it seems that kids in bad situations at home are in a much worse situation in the United States than in France.

Like TingTing said, from the answers we noticed that a well behaved child on the amrican side was someone who respects their parents, whereas on the French side, it was someone who respects others. I dont that american kids don't respect adults but i think that maybe this is because in general, the americans have a more laid-back attitude with adults, whereas in France the attitude is more formal. Is this true?

In response to Andres' comment about noise and loudness, I think this is because the stereotypical misbehaving American child spoiled . I'm not sure whether or not children in France are as spoiled, but in America the child "whining" is the stereotypical act of misbehaving. French students, what is the most common childhood gaffe in France?