I wonder if perhaps the French are at their best with their kids. The Brits bully their kids and the Italians aee bullied by theirs, but the French seem to strike the right note. Last week, we shared an antique archaeological site with flock on a school outing. They were energetic and giggly but why not? They were kids. They were scrambling around to identify particular objects for their worksheet. They were focused and purposeful, but also polite: they would wait their turn, and say "merci" when you stepped out of the way (and not only can the little nippers speak this amazing language, they can read it as well, which never ceases to amaze). Altogether, a design feature, not a bug.
But I do remember some years ago being at a chichi private luncheon party over in the seventh arondissement; midway through the meal, a door flew open and a shadow hurtled past. Quick as a flash, our hostess abandoned her guests to follow. On explanation later, we learned it was the daughter, maybe 20 or 25, just home from the morning of a critical exam; evidently things had not gone well, and the first thing the child wanted to do was to run home to maman.