Bringing Up Bébé BY Pamela Druckerman

Bringing Up Bébé (2012)

One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.

For some quick background, the author is an American who finds herself living with her British husband in Paris at the time of their daughter’s birth. Experiencing motherhood herself, Druckerman witnesses firsthand the differences in how the French families around her are raising their children and the ways in which she’s drawn to the modern-day, American style of parenting she’s most familiar with.

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But… When she had her daughter in France, she was struck – repeatedly, and at many levels – at the difference between French and American children. Differences in how they behave, interact with children and adults, how they play with toys….

“Experiencing motherhood herself, Druckerman witnesses firsthand the differences in how the French families around her are raising their children.”

The Book Guide® Editor

She notes that when she walked into the home of Americans, the house was chaotic, toys asunder, children whining, eating whatever and whenever; the mothers were harried, dressed slovenly; parents stressed and distant.

None of this was true among French families with small children. Their play was quiet and creative, toys were few and neat, interactions (especially with adults) were polite, they ate what their parents ate and when they ate it; the French women were neatly dressed, quickly obtaining their desired weight and size, maquillage applied. French couples went out, and seemed closer than before children.

And this doesn’t even include the differences in sleeping (through the night); early and successful toileting. That French PRE-school kids have a three course meal, cooked on site, every day (that includes le frommage but no dessert). That they don’t snack between meals but we Americans do.

Why the differences? Well, there are many reasons, which the author attempts to divine.

Some have complained that the author’s comments are observational, not scientific. True. But that makes her observations and comments no less valid; or, even, less true.

The popularity of books like this give the impression that today’s American parents are willing to take advice from anyone other than their own relatives. The most helpful advice the French have about child rearing is very traditional, the sorts of things people everywhere have said for generations: don’t pick the baby up the moment it fusses, No means no, you have to try a bite of everything, children and parents are happier when the parents are in charge. Excellent advice, and worth reading if these are unfamiliar concepts to you. A grandparent could give this book as a gift, and thus sneakily impart their own child rearing wisdom to the next generation.

Bringing Up Bébé (2012) By: Pamela Druckerman

Dune (2007) By: Glennon Doyle
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