Bringing up Children in Rural France

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Bringing up Children in Rural France


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Old 21st April 2017, 08:08 AM
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Time for a debate

Many expats move to rural France with thier children for that idyllic rural lifestyle. But many (I guess most) don't really understand rural France before moving.

Is bringing up 'expat' children in rural France a good or a bad idea ?

Will it hurt their future prospects in life ?

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Old 21st April 2017, 09:26 AM
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I suppose it depends on just exactly what sort of "future prospects" you're after for your kids.

If you want them to be investment bankers or nuclear physicists or something like that, then you'd probably do best raising them somewhere closer to the appropriate lycées and universities.

If you want them to become farmers or shopkeepers or whatever, then rural France may be ideal.

If you want them to be able to choose what they want to do in life, then maybe you need to be prepared to let them go early - potentially to a boarding school or a particular lycée that meets their ambitions, and to leave home to attend university or whatever post-bac training is appropriate for their desired careers.
Cheers,
Bev
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Old 21st April 2017, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
I suppose it depends on just exactly what sort of "future prospects" you're after for your kids.

If you want them to be investment bankers or nuclear physicists or something like that, then you'd probably do best raising them somewhere closer to the appropriate lycées and universities.

If you want them to become farmers or shopkeepers or whatever, then rural France may be ideal.

If you want them to be able to choose what they want to do in life, then maybe you need to be prepared to let them go early - potentially to a boarding school or a particular lycée that meets their ambitions, and to leave home to attend university or whatever post-bac training is appropriate for their desired careers.
Cheers,
Bev
And I suspect that most parents would want/allow their children to make their own career choices.

Even if the children do have to 'go early', there are many careers (some requiring high level qualifications) that offer real, or even more/better, opportunities in rural areas, so there is always the chance they will come back.

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Old 21st April 2017, 10:26 AM
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What do you think Smeg?

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Old 21st April 2017, 10:38 AM
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What do you think Smeg?
My OH (French) would never entertain the idea of moving rural and putting the kids into a rural school even though she is born and bred (like me) in the country.

For me, based on my experience so far of France, no I would not. Life is hard enough in France as it is for kids. I think moving rural and not having access to good colleges, lycees and universities and future employment prospects will make their life even harder.

Would my kids want to move rural.....NO.

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Old 21st April 2017, 11:08 AM
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Thanks Smeg..

We don't have kids so that question wasn't a factor for us. If we had had kids, there's no question that we'd've wanted to live in town.

It's one of those head vs heart decisions. Yes, if we'd moved inland we could perhaps have found a hilltop Basque house in a rural location with a view and maybe a pool - but then we'd be in the car all the time. We decided on living in town. For everyday living, everything we need - friends, shops, medical, social, sport - is right on our doorstep.

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Old 21st April 2017, 12:11 PM
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There is also a factor here about the expected lifestyle in France for kids growing up. Back when I was a kid in the US, parents wanted to move to a neighborhood where there were other kids to play with. (My being an only, this was always important to my parents.) The kids in the neighborhood roamed all over the neighborhood to hook up with their friends and hang out together, either at one "favorite" house or at a local playground or in the woods or fields in the area.

In France, first of all the kids are in school until 4 or 4:30 and usually have homework to do, even in the very early grades. Then, the expectation seems to be that kids play with their brothers and sisters in their own yards. Or, at the weekends, they might have cousins or other family members over. But the family here really is the main source of socialization.

I suppose that has changed, at least back in the US, where people seem to be hesitant to ever let their kids out of their sight, other than for paid activities or care services.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 21st April 2017, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
There is also a factor here about the expected lifestyle in France for kids growing up. Back when I was a kid in the US, parents wanted to move to a neighborhood where there were other kids to play with. (My being an only, this was always important to my parents.) The kids in the neighborhood roamed all over the neighborhood to hook up with their friends and hang out together, either at one "favorite" house or at a local playground or in the woods or fields in the area.

In France, first of all the kids are in school until 4 or 4:30 and usually have homework to do, even in the very early grades. Then, the expectation seems to be that kids play with their brothers and sisters in their own yards. Or, at the weekends, they might have cousins or other family members over. But the family here really is the main source of socialization.

I suppose that has changed, at least back in the US, where people seem to be hesitant to ever let their kids out of their sight, other than for paid activities or care services.
Cheers,
Bev
This is actually not the case everywhere - and indeed, at least in some more rural areas, has not historically been the case either. However, the desertification of many rural areas has had and continues to have an impact (varies by location), as does the fact that many French have become much more mobile and many more now move away for work (and the impacts of the latter vary based on individual circumstances).

Frankly, where kids get to play outside here (be it after school - which most certainly does happen - on weekends or during holidays) you will normally find that they are not hesitant to approach children they don't already know and that they have many friends outside their families. Caveat - I've no doubt from various posts here on other threads that this is not uniformly the case and I suspect it may actually be less the case in the larger towns and cities.


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Old 21st April 2017, 12:20 PM
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An interesting article....

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-election-2017

Slight drift thread, but relevant nevertheless.

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Old 21st April 2017, 12:42 PM
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We were in the Jura last summer and we stopped briefly at Saint-Claude. This was, and still is, the pipe-making capital of France.. (tobacco pipes) except ask yourself how many people smoke pipes these days..? The town was dead on its feet.. and there was an air of quiet desperation about the place and virtually no-one on the streets. There are many other small towns like this in the foothills of the Pyrenees - former spa towns (with grand hotels) that grew up in the railway age that once attracted visitors by train only to find that today, people have moved on to other things. We don't have to travel too far inland from Bayonne to see examples of this. What to do with these communes is a real challenge for any government.

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