Call me old-fashioned but I cannot accept that where you live dictates whether a child is happy, or well behaved. Growing up in Manchester, Moscow or Mumbai may present distinctive environmental challenges and opportunities; however, their impact is an aspect of character, personality, and not conduct.

So why does petit Pierre in Lyon, sit contentedly sharing an adult meal with his parents in a restaurant, whilst demanding David in Liverpool has more of his nuggets and fries scattered on the floor like debris, than in his belly?

The French are masters in managing enfant terribles according to Pamela Druckerman, an American mother of three raising her brood in Paris, with a keen interest in the “superiority” of French parenting. She feels the Gaels are so worthy of admiration, she has penned a how-to manual, “Bringing Up Bebe”, detailing secrets for avoiding tantrums, teaching patience, and saying “non” with authority.

I can’t say there is any ground-breaking revelation Madame Druckerman offers. “Even the French parents themselves insist they aren’t doing anything special.”

It seems it is simply the age old principles of spending more than quality time with your brood, engaging them without the distraction of phones & computers (YOURS, not theirs), consistency, teaching by example, parenting with calm firmness, patience and a whole bunch of love… ALL THE TIME and not just when it is convenient for you.

It is not a five minute miracle technique, nor a one-day-quick-fix, and this French style is no different from good parenting anywhere.

There is no top-secret ingredient in their croissants. Real kids do eat quiche. Actually, they also eat salads and soups and snails if that is what is served for dinner. No special meals for fussy eaters because there are none.

Good manners, pleasant behaviour, confidence, independence are all concepts that can be taught. Nurtured. Encouraged. The choice is whether you decide to be the teacher, or whether your children will eventually learn despite you. Or they might not, and just grow up.