How would you rate yourself as a parent?

Are French Parents the Best?

Yesterday, a friend shared a thought-provoking Wall Street Journal article entitled Why French Parents Are Superior (See link to article below my signature). It was written by a young American woman living in Paris and was based on her observations of French children and their parents. She concluded that the French possessed parenting skills that were superior to hers; and she writes about how she has become a better parent in the process.

No training for our most important jobs. Reading her article reminded me of how little, if any, training most of us receive when it comes to two of our most important responsibilities as a parent:

  • Raising responsible, well-adjusted children in a manner that will help them enjoy a happy and meaningful and life.
  • Teaching our children what they should eat in order to achieve vibrant health for their entire lives, avoid chronic disease and never have to spend a single day in a nursing home.

With no formal training provided in either category, we all simply do the best we can. If we like the way we were raised, we try to emulate our parents. If we don’t like how we were raised, we choose a different path. As for our food choices, it’s totally up to our parents for a few years, until we’re old enough to know that we like chicken nuggets better than broccoli. And that’s when the trouble begins.

Most of us receive zero nutritional training. Most of us have been told by our parents that we should eat more fruits and vegetables; but in the last 75 years, out nation as a whole has steadily eaten less and less. Today, the average American derives only about 5% of his/her calories from whole plants—the diet that Nature intended for us to eat. While most American adults eat a horribly unhealthy diet, the food that they feed to their children is even worse.

Check out this "Healthy" menu on the blackboard at my grandson's soccer game last week. Most adults still think that chicken is healthy.

At least adults will usually be served some kind of vegetable with their meal in most restaurants. But for the kids, the menu rarely includes anything other than chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, french fries, grilled cheese sandwich, pizza and mac & cheese.

The restaurants know what children want—and the parents just want to enjoy their evening out without arguing with the kids about eating more broccoli, carrots and spinach.

Much easier to start them young. We addressed this problem in our book and we know that without a doubt, it’s so much easier to teach a 2-year old how to eat a healthy diet than it is to teach a 14-year old. And, of course, the way we teach them is simple. We show them. But in order to show them, we must first learn about healthy eating ourselves.

I was lucky enough to learn about the great food pioneers—Campbell, Esselstyn, Fuhrman, McDougall, Ornish, Barnard and others before it was too late for my own health. But I was not lucky enough to learn about healthy eating while my children were still young.

A simple health-promoting gift to your children that will ensure that all of your future descendants will at least have a chance to "choose health."

Now, I am trying to make up for lost time by blogging, writing, speaking and helping people everywhere learn the wonderful secrets about healthy eating while they’re still young enough to pass this treasure along to their children. Here are a few of my recent blogs on the topic of what we feed our little ones:

Deadliest oxymoron on Earth — “Healthy Kids Menu”

Children — NOTHING is more important than what they eat!

Protecting our children. And not just from predators.

Not much training for parents. As for the category of parenting in general, I was one of the lucky ones. While working for a consulting firm when my son was four years old, I was trained as an instructor in a new service that our firm was licensed to deliver. It was called Leader Effectiveness Training (L.E.T.) and was based on the same principles that Dr. Thomas Gordon espoused in his original book, P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training).

Highly Recommended for parents of any age; the skills also are effective in adult communications as well.

While being trained in L.E.T., I also got a copy of P.E.T. and, along with my wife, started putting its principles to work with our son, and later with our daughter who was born two years later. Without a doubt, that little book and my formal training in L.E.T. helped both of us become better parents.

And I would have to say that I enjoy a better personal relationship with both of my responsible adult children because of that training. That 4-year old son is now my co-author and the co-developer of our 4Leaf Program…J. Stanfield Hicks (38), father of four. And my daughter retired from an advertising career at the age of 30 to become a full-time mom.

The principles are timeless; and I recommend them highly. Take a look on Amazon. These books don’t have a thing to do with food, but the listening and problem solving skills described therein will help you enormously with that 14-year old if you’re trying to convince her to embrace your new 4Leaf plant-based diet-style.

Advertising exec turned full-time mom---teaching her daughter Violet how to eat 4Leaf---with loving assistance from dad.

Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children

Leader Effectiveness Training L.E.T.: The Proven People Skills for Today’s Leaders Tomorrow

Share with people you love. Do your friends and family a favor and send along this post to every parent, or future parent that you know. You just may save a few lives in the process.

Want to receive some occasional special news from us? You may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

And if you like what 4Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4Leaf Gear” store. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at – Why French Parents Are Superior

SHARE and rate this post below…One more thing, occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard.

J. Morris Hicks -- Member of the Board of Directors -- Click image to visit the foundation website.

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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3 Responses to How would you rate yourself as a parent?

  1. Mitzi says:

    PET sounds like the most effective disciplinary methods I used in my classroom. A troublemaker got a detention, but one spent with me, cleaning my lab classroom. Often washing dirty glassware together, not looking each other in the eye but working at a common task, I could get an adolescent to TALK to me without feeling threatened. Then I could find out what was really wrong and try to address it. Not possible in a 2-minute talk in the hall. When I moved to a school that did not allow such conversations before or after school (we could not even take the kids outside, for fear (from the principal) they would throw rocks at the windows), I lasted one semester. It was not safe to be there, and the ADULTS IN CHARGE created the hazardous environment. The kids just responded as expected. If those kids had access to a safe, productive school with education for intelligent decision-making and optimal nutrition, we could have changed their family histories for the better. Keep spreading the word.

  2. Emily Webber says:

    Totally agree with you Jim. My husband and I have a wonderful 4 1/2 year old son and I am so thankful that I found both P.E.T and a whole food, plant-based vegan lifestyle. I enjoy your blog and recommend it to my students. Thanks for all the life-changing and life-saving work you do!

    Emily Barth Webber
    Certified in Plant Based Nutrition, Cornell University
    Food for Life Nutrition & Cooking Instructor
    The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and the Cancer Project and

  3. Karen Glidewell says:

    This is excellent! While I was raising my children, we always ate a lot of vegies and fruit, and today, thankfully, my boys love all vegetables and fruit, but I also thought it was healthy to have a pot roast with that meal…too late to go back.

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