What is the goal? Well behaved children or competent adults?

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has some good thoughts about what is important in raising children. His column The Truth About French Parenting (and I Would Know) starts with:

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As a French parent who speaks Americanese on the Twitters (you should follow me here by the way), I must have been asked countless times what I think about the latest parenting meme: the idea that French parenting is superior to American parenting.


The basic gist is that French parents know how to be more strict, kowtow less to their children, and as a result their children are better behaved.


Oh boy.


Depending on your perspective, I am either the worst or the best person to ask about this, because I view the first 20 years of my life as a constant fight against the education ideas that rule in France. Now that I have a child, my almost monomaniacal obsession is how to protect her from French parenting and French education, which is why we are considering Montessori schools and homeschooling/unschooling rather than put her in French schools. (Let me rephrase that: I am considering setting myself on fire rather than put her in French schools.)
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Janine and I would love perfectly behaved children, but our end goal is that our children grow up to be sane, healthy, wonderful adults.  (And provide us with dozens of delightful grandchildren.  :-)  )

It is easy to get distracted by the simple solution of forcing good behavior when children are young, but too often children who are forced to be good at five and ten have little desire as adults to follow the teachings of their parents.  It is much more effective to raise children who understand the value of good behavior and are self motivated to live a good life.

Hat tip: Instapundit