Going back to the needle incident, at least the needle was one owned by a nurse, I'm sorry to say that in other circumstances it would probably have been owned by a drug using mother or mother's on/off boyfriend.
I've tried to stay out of this but my experience as a mum of two young children brought up in France and aunt to various children brought up in the UK, Germany and Canada the french children win hands down in almost every sector of behaviour. I'm not saying that because they are my children, I am saying it because the majority of our family acknowledge that this is the case. That said, I also have 2 children at either end of the scale, one who is quaking at the mere thought of a smacked bottom and the other who will challenge you to breaking point and then if you do smack her, says, well it doesn't hurt anyway. It just means that we have to use other ways of teaching her acceptable behaviour, it doesn't mean we don't do it.
Fortunately, the advantage we have over the rest of our widespread family, is the fact that the school and wider french society (ie neighbours, friends, shop keepers and so on) expect and insist on good behaviour. Of course, I may well change my mind when my kids get older, it may all go wrong but we'll wait and see.