A good parent is someone ...

Un bon parent est quelqu'un ...

A good parent is someone who encourages the child to do something he/she enjoys doing; who instills in the child a strong sense of morality; who corrects the child when the child is doing something wrong; who teaches the importance of respect and diligence; and who imparts to the child a willingness to learn.

is spends quality time with their children, supports their interests and provides valuable advice to guide his/her children in their journey through life.

loving, who leads by example, who you can talk to, who teaches you.

pays attention to their kids and develops a good relationship with them, spends time at home, and is able to give support, advice and love throughout life.

respects, thinks and cares about their childrens' lives and feelings

who disciplines.

that loves first.

who allows his child to make his own decisions and find the things that make him happiest.

who can teach you good life values

who care about you with all their heart and always stand by your side no matter what happens or no matter what you do. Good parents provide one a place to go when he/she has nowhere to go to

who cares unconditionally.

who exposes his child to as many opportunities as possible, allowing the child to decide what he wants to pursue; who is supportive, willing and eager to share knowledge, a good listener, invested in his child's success and happiness.

who fosters their children's interests, who cares about their needs, and who supports them all the way.

who is loving, caring, supportive, and always there for you.

who knows when to play serious, and when to have fun. No parent knows the exact formula for raising the perfect kid (every case is different), but as long as the relationship is healthy and happy, good things will result. Too much pressure is bad, but so is too much freedom.

who listens to his children and recognizes their individuality.

who looks after their kid in an intelligent way and makes them feel loved without infringing on their independence.

who loves their child

who loves you.

who loves, helps, and provides for his child.

who supports the kids financially and emotionally unconditionally.

Who supports their children

who supports your decisions but offers advice and perspective.

who teaches their children.

affectueux, compréhensif, tendre,

ayant donné une bonne éducation à son enfant et qui le soutient quelque soient ses problèmes, sans pour autant trop le protéger.

d'attentif, de respectueux et de confiance.

d'attentionné, qui donne des limites, à l'écoute

de rassurant
à l'écoute

de compréhensif,qui nous soutient, qui sait aussi dire quand ça ne va pas, pouvoir discuter

de gentil, serviable et attentionné

de juste

de présent et aimant.

de présent, tolérant, cultivé

de responsable et qui ce préoccupe de l'avenir de ses enfants

qui attache de l'importance à ce que fait ses enfants, qui a un minimum d'autorité.

qui comprend, qui écoute, qui explique.

qui est attentif à ses enfants

qui nous soutient dans tout nos projets, qui est là quand ça ne va pas, qui partage nos peines et nos joies.

qui répond aux besoins de sa famille. Il écoute, finance, encourage et aime.

qui réussi à faire réussir ses enfants, à lui éviter des problèmes.

qui s'occupe de ses enfants

qui se préoccupe de l'avenir de ses enfants

qui vous conseille, vous soutient, vous aide


Et bien nous avons un véritable point commun ! Un bon parent est quelqu'un qui aime son enfant revient presque partout.

En regardant les questionnaires, je constate que pour les français, la notion d'études et d'avenir professionnel apparaît plus, Est-ce que cela veut dire que pour les américains, il suffit d'accompagner affectivement son enfant dans la vie?

Je constate qu'aucun français ne parle de transmission de valeurs, comme l'hônneteté, etc...

C'est vrai qu'en France les parents poussent peut être plus leurs enfants dans les études pour avoir un avenir professionnel mieux que le leur?

Chere Estelle,

I think many parents in the United States encourage children to study for a better future but I do see that many American responses focused on developing a child's independence. This is expressed by encouraging the child to pursue individual interests. Maybe the French are more honest with what they think a good parent should be, because I know some parents who do push their children to study!



j'ai remarqué que beaucoup d'entre vous utilisent le terme "support"; ce mot a-t-il seulement un sens matériel ou est-il aussi affectif?

J'observe que du coté américain, la notion "inconditionnalité" est souvent dite. Je ne suis pas sûr que le meilleur service à rendre aux enfants est de les supporter de façon inconditionnelle. Je pense que le principe "un essai = une réussite ou une erreur" est formateur. Le rôle des parents est alors de veiller aux risques pris et de s'assurer qu'ils ne deviennent pas dangeraux. Qu'en pensez-vous ?

I think Christian brings up an interesting point.  Christian, in my opinion, the "unconditional" care and support is definitely a trait of a good parent.  Unconditional support doesn't mean material support, but more of a moral, emotional support.  A parent can support his/her child, and still tell them that they made a mistake.  As a matter of fact, in my mind that is what shows support--that if a kid makes a mistake, a parent takes the time to scold the kid, then teach him what he did wrong.  It takes much more dedication to constantly be on a kid's case than to simply let him loose.  So in that sense, a parent can still be judgmental (as you mentioned, success vs. error), while still showing unconditional support.

But I definitely see what Sasha is saying about American responses being more about giving independence or being supportive, while the French responses seem to focus more on a development towards the future ("qui comprend, qui ecoute, qui explique", "qui sait dire quand ca ne vas pas").  Does this show anything about American families or American culture in general vs. that of France?

I agree with Kenneth about "unconditional" support. I think it is an expression, an idiom, that says parents will always want to help their children. "Help" may be in different ways for different situations. Advising about dangers or important decisions about anything constitutes this "unconditional" support.

I think French parents must feel the same way? This is probably something that is not expressed by French students because it may be self-evident?

@Ken, it is an interesting difference, independence and support versus looking towards the future. The thing is, what is independence in these contexts? I could argue that independence could be financial in which case working towards the future ("l'avenir") is the same thing, working towards a better life, a better job, better financial standing; it's financial independence.

If you couple independence and support, then I feel you can talk about independence in terms of ideas and individuality. Our responses seem to emphasize fostering the child's ideas, opinions, and helping them develop themselves, their identity almost. (I see one similar response on the French side with "qui nous soutient dans tout nos projets" ("who supports all our projects/endeavors").)

Maybe Americans hope to raise children who are individuals. It seems to fit the idea of the American Dream, or just the innovative nature of America. People who can develop ideas, follow them, and spread them will succeed. Maybe Americans hope to have their children succeed, but do so by indirectly aiming for it by fostering individuality and independence. The French on the other hand, seem to go straight to directly seeking self-sustainance and a bright future. Maybe identity and independence are simply implicit in the French approach to raising children.

Je pense que Christian a raison sur le point : qu'un bon parent c'est aussi quelqu'un qui laisse son enfant faire des erreurs tout en étant la pour lui.

I think it's interesting that the distinction between helping a child become independent and helping a child succeed is brought up. Going back to my usual thread of discussion (I <3 modernism. Can't help it :-p), I'm thinking that this mention of independence is actually a relatively recent development when it comes to the concept of parenthood. We were talking today in class about the late-19th-century change in perception of children that happened in the US and not necessarily so much in Europe- in that children were considered children and not little adults. The other part to that, though, is that our society and the world that we live in has changed a lot more in the past hundred years than it had for the millenia preceeding, so children lead lives that are very different from those of their parents, whereas previously they didn't quite as much. I'm thinking that despite all of the upheavals in France, some of the class structure is still preserved, and there is some value to the French upbringing being more based on the parent's values of importance of education/whatever, while in the US, the complete flattening of societal classes (are the attempt at it) and the opportunities available make it a lot harder for the parent to impose a set of requirements. (I don't mean to say that there are fewer opportunities to do things in France, I just think that they are perhaps less accessible, because here there are programs intentionally aimed at widening the scope of a person's perception.)

I agree with Anton, that everyone hopes their children will succeed, but perhaps we define "success" differently? We Americans are obsessed with being "happy" and being "ourselves," so perhaps that is what we use to judge?


I am wondering about the direct interaction of parents and children and some details about child-rearing in French culture. Do French parents spend a lot of time showing their children how to do small physical tasks (arts and crafts, mechanical work, tinkering with cars/machinery)? At what point is the child considered independent enough to go out alone, to manage his own money, etc.?



tu as raison de dire que nous sommes plus strict sur la manière d'élever nos enfants, mais les choses changent aussi; la question que tu poses concernant le temps que les parents passent avec leurs enfants à faire différentes choses est difficile à répondre, parce que cela varie beaucoup selon les parents; depuis que les femmes travaillent, les choses ont je crois beaucoup changé; elles ont moins de temps à consacré aux enfants et certains parents ont tendance à compenser le manque de temps passé avec eux par de gros cadeaux. Mes parents ne m'ont laissée aller seule en bus qu'à partir de 12 ans, et je ne suis pas sortie seule avant 14 ans: est-ce la même chose aux USA? En France, on considère souvent que la vraie indépendance commence quand on est étudiant ou quand on gagne sa vie, après les études.

Je voudrais rajouter que mes parents m'ont laissé faire des choses que je ne laisserai sans doute pas mes enfants faire (aller seuls dans la rue à certaines heures ou dans certains endroits, etc...) parce que le monde dans lequel nous vivons a changé, Il y a plus d'enlèvements, de viols, etc... ou alors les médias en parlent plus!  C'est donc plus difficle de faire confiance si on a peur qu'il arrive quelque chose!

I think the age we get to do things is about the same here. I'm not American so I can't really speak for the general public, but I'm guessing it also depends where you're living. I know a lot of kids in NYC who ride the bus alone when they are young because that's how they get to school every morning. At the same time, parents now are more overprotective and don't let kids go out without supervision until they are older because we're more aware of potential threats.

I'm not sure. I think that the time that kids get to spend with their aprents doing manual things is going down now that people are also working more, and now that there is a larger number of people who aren't used to doing things with their hands (because their parents, in turn, didn't do that). I think that changes the way we see our parents.


On a completely different note, I think there is also less respect for parents now that the world in which their kids live is becoming so different, because kids no longer see their parents as the authority or believe that they know better. Would you agree?

The question of a "good parent" is one that is on the minds of the young (such as ourselves) as well as the elderly (those who have already been through parenthood). For us, the question is important because we deal with our parents on a daily or weekly basis and we frequently make judgements on whether or not our parents did the "right" thing for us or not. For the elderly, this question is important because they have already been through the act of parenting, and many of them wish they had done something differently in the past to be a better parent.


What interests me most about this is how culture affects the "values" that we define to be "good". It seems that there is agreement on both sides the parents should provide support and instill strong values in their children, but what types of values should they instill?


I was brought up in India under the support and guidance of two wonderful parents and while they have given me many different things, one of the values that they emphasized the MOST for me is academics and learning. I have noticed that in India, for example, a large number of parents prioritize academics above other things because they want their children to attend the best universities and get the best jobs, and as a result, they often start pressuring their kids at a very young age to study diligently. In the United States, I have noticed that parents are more open, fun-loving, flexible, and more practical with their children. They value academics also, but not as stubbornly as do Indian parents. 

All this brings me to my question: What are the views of parents in France towards the importance of 'academics', and how does this impact their upbringing of their children?