PARIS - Classes teaching how to be better moms and dads, which have long flourished in English-speaking countries, have begun taking France by storm.
French parents today want a new kind of authority that does not crush children but does not allow them to run wild either, said Beatrice Sabate, a clinical psychologist who adapted a method devised in California called "positive discipline" for France.
"There are rules, but the child helps to define them," said Sabate. "Children are growing up in a different world than that of their parents," when teachers were more severe and adults always knew best.
Today "parents are looking to have relationships that are based more on cooperation," she said.
In one class, nine mothers and three fathers meet in central Paris one evening a week, sitting in a circle with two trainers to learn "positive discipline", which combines firmness with an emphasis on the positive.
Slogans on the wall intone: "Encouragement is to the child as water is to a plant" and "Mistakes are excellent learning opportunities."