French Twist: An American Mom's Experiment in Parisian Parenting Paperback – Deckle Edge, Mar 12 2013
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
Advance praise for French Twist
“Presented with a touch of humor and spot-on descriptions of childhood (mis)behavior, the advice, which touches on such topics as breastfeeding and school participation, is practical and useful. A refreshing approach to raising children.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] charming and clever parenting chronicle . . . Though some may prefer their naughty kids just the way they are, this breezy, entertaining study of parenting a la Paris may prompt others to pour a café au lait and rethink their strategies.”—Publishers Weekly
“French Twist describes an open-minded experiment in French-style parenting (though apparently there’s not even a French word for parenting!) and reveals itself as an honest examination of the author’s own missteps and prejudices—which we all can relate to—and the whole overparenting trend in this country. Are Catherine Crawford’s conclusions ‘French’? Who cares? They’re immensely logical and rational, and delivered with an abundance of love.”—Muffy Mead-Ferro, author of Confessions of a Slacker Mom
“Ever seen a French child throw a tantrum in a restaurant or talk back to his parents? Neither has Catherine Crawford. In French Twist she uncovers the secrets of French child-rearing—and then tries them out on her own family, with remarkable results. Part memoir, part instruction manual, French Twist is hilarious, honest, and incredibly useful.”—Lori Leibovich, executive lifestyle editor of The Huffington Post
“Catherine Crawford has written a great parenting book. I can’t wait to have kids and apply all I have learned here. Wait—hold on. I’m being told I already have two kids. This is incredible news! I will begin applying immediately.”—Adam Scott, actor, Parks and Recreation
About the Author
Catherine Crawford is a contributor to Droolicious on Babble.com, and the parenting website What They Play, where she conceived of and has written the Mothership column. She has appeared on CBS and Fox to discuss issues related to balancing work and motherhood. She lives with her husband, writer Mac Montandon, and their two children in Brooklyn.See all Product Description
Inside This Book(Learn More)
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"I have absolute certainty that, thirty-some-odd years ago, my mother didn't pick me up from school laden with four snack choices to ensure my satisfaction (and avoid a meltdown) and that she didn't put in a lot of time worrying that she wasn't being the best mom she could possibly be."
Catherine Crawford is right and I am that mom from days gone by!
This book is just packed with what used to be considered common flippin' sense and it is just a wonder that in a single generation mothers have reduced themselves to trying to be the best doormat possible to their children. Crawford humorously helps the mother who wants help with gaining back a little respect, dignity and relaxation in the world of mothering. I know it's way cooler to say this is French parenting techniques but for real this is last generation's common sense. But hey, if a few moms are willing to take a fraction of what this book has to offer and put it to work, well, you just call it any old thing you want.
On the issue of being your kids' best friend: "Your job is not to be their friend. That does not work with children. You need to be their mom and teach them well." And she goes on to say that the French women she sees doing this "appear to have wonderful relationships with their adult daughters."
And as far as letting the children of the house make all the decisions about what they wear, what their snack will be, etc: "As parents, our job is not only to give them a good sense of morals but also to teach them how to do things correctly- from getting dressed to eating properly, to respecting adults, and everything in between."
That whole idea of doling out treats for every little bit of common decency and good behavior? "I'd fallen into a habit with my own kids that involved a lot of rewards. Somewhere I had read something about always focusing on the positive and not constantly pointing out bad behavior. Quaint in theory, but kids are smart and , in practice, I had put a huge target on myself that read, "Manipulate me." We got to the point where my girls thought that if they made it through a long subway ride or dinner out without causing some sort of havoc, they were, ergo,entitled to a prize. I'll never forget when Oona and Daphne sat through Horton Hears a Who! (a KIDS' MOVIE- not my first choice, if you catch my drift) and asked me what they could pick out for being good in the theater. This was one of those pivotal moments when I knew things had to change."
Catherine Crawford touches on pretty much every area of child raising that I have seen go to the dogs in this generation of mothers- and sanely and practically gives examples and advice to turn your life back around so that being with your own children can be the joy that it should be.
Its going to be impossible to replicate French parenting in the USA because a lot of the support structure is simply not there. For example, school lunches and the importance of food differs between the two countries. This leads to a real strength of this book, systematically exploring differences in practices and expectations at the table, with friends, with toys, with bedtime, the list goes on and on. But while the author did take steps to move in the French direction, at times the effort seemed half-hearted in areas where there seems to be little impediment to adopting the full practice. An example would be where she discusses putting the kids to bed.
Published last year was a book in which a family made a genuine attempt to embrace the French style, arising out of moving to a small village in France. That book, "French Kids Eat Everything", would be a better choice for those wanting to put adopt more of a French lifestyle at home. You lose some of the humor, but you get an explanation of how a family really tried to make it work. On the other hand if you just want to learn what some of the cultural differences between the two countries are then this book will serve fine for that purpose.
The author stumbles across the fact that French parents (and we all know that every single person from one country are exactly the same) don't raise entitled little monsters. And she notices that her children are entitled little monsters (especially Daphne- Darn you Daphne). She begins sifting through French parenting techniques looking for the answers. Despite the author bringing up France, French, and "frenchies" on every page there is nothing particularly French about this parenting style. It may seem a grand revelation to the Sanctimommies of Park Slope but basically, it's common sense.
Interestingly enough the author mentions her own upbringing (one of 13 kids!) without seeing what is really obvious to the reader- she ought to call her mother for advice. The author has an unabated passion for all things French (did you know that French children speak French? Too Cute!). But there is no way that her mother was putting kids in 4 sports. There is no way that her mother was making a separate dinner for each kid. Objecting to poor parenting is not being French. It's being a grown up.
So if you have kids that are expected to eat what they are served, have chores, are not allowed to be rude to adults and can sit through a dinner- this is not the book for you. If you have kids that can't do those things, find the calmest cheerfullest mother that you know and ask what she knows. You could even call your own mom, grandma, aunt or whoever. This cult of the child is a pretty new invention. There are people who remember what we did before this.
But if you are far too fashionable to call your mom and your kids are little monsters- please buy this book. It's not particularly French but I would still prefer it if your little Madeline and Liam could sit quietly the next time I am in a restaurant.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Humour & Entertainment > Humour > Love, Sex & Marriage
- Books > Humour & Entertainment > Humour > Parenting & Families
- Books > Parenting & Relationships > Family Relationships > Motherhood
- Books > Parenting & Relationships > Humour
- Books > Parenting & Relationships > Parenting
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Women's Studies > Motherhood