- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 30 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143122967
- ISBN-13: 978-0143122968
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 399 g
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting) Paperback – Sep 30 2014
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“Marvelous . . . Like Julia Child, who translated the secrets of French cuisine, Druckerman has investigated and distilled the essentials of French child-rearing. . . . Druckerman provides fascinating details about French sleep training, feeding schedules and family rituals. But her book's real pleasures spring from her funny, self-deprecating stories. Like the principles she examines, Druckerman isn't doctrinaire.” — NPR
“Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”— Fox News
“On questions of how to live, the French never disappoint. . . . Maybe it all starts with childhood. That is the conclusion that readers may draw from Bringing Up Bébé.”— The Wall Street Journal
“French women don't have little bags of emergency Cheerios spilling all over their Louis Vuitton handbags. They also, Druckerman notes, wear skinny jeans instead of sweatpants.The world arguably needs more kids who don't throw food.”— Chicago Tribune
“I’ve been a parent now for more than eight years, and—confession—I’ve never actually made it all the way through a parenting book. But I found Bringing Up Bébé to be irresistible."— Slate
About the Author
Pamela Druckerman is a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times and a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered foreign affairs. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post and Marie Claire. She lives in Paris.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The perspective is an American mother bringing up her 2 children in Paris - contrasting the way the two cultures raise their children.
The French culture which emphasizes a "Frame" or boundaries a child must have in politeness, socialization and self-control. The child is not the center of the family, but expected to be a contributing member to the whole. It contributes well to the child's sense of security. Creativity is also emphasized.
This is contrasted with the American perspective where the child is more the center of attention and expected to achieve academically from a young age. Whereas there is more intellectual stimulation, the focus is more on the needs of self and the child may be less socially motivated.
A very interesting read, especially for parents or expecting parents. There are definite advantages to raising one's child with the French (Parisien) paradigm.
Facts reported in Druckerman's book sometimes get in her way but she ultimately delivers an entertaining, enlightening and excellent read. Exploring everything from breastfeeding to park behaviour to spanking to sleeping habits to division of labour between the sexes, the book highlights what North Americans can learn from the French and offers some useful parenting advice.
But do the French really do it better? Giving birth and raising children is messy and confusing in any society. It's perpetual trial and error ' whether in France or elsewhere. Nowhere does a baby come with a user's manual.
Because much of what the French do is ambivalent, familiar, or undesirable. For example, not getting involved with their children on the playground. Yes, it's nice to talk to other parents, and most Canadian parents do, but it's also fun to get involved with your kids and play. Soon enough they won't want to be anywhere near you, so I figure it's good to get the in fun while you can. I can understand wanting and taking a break, but I don't understand never getting involved either. Familiar in that parents should impose limits, like introducing vegetables and fruits first in snacks or meals so children face them when they are most hungry. Or that schedules can help children run more smoothly. That's all pretty familiar, and certainly not uniquely French. Some of it may be undesirable as in training children to sleep alone by 10 weeks (what if you like co-sleeping? and it sounds a lot like Ferberizing) or stopping breast feeding by 10 weeks. While I appreciate it's not for everyone, I think the medical science is unanimous that breastfeeding longer than that is advisable if you can do it.
There are some good things to learn, such as teaching children to be more restrained and polite, particularly in public. Particularly in restaurants. The French also have generous parental leave (and holidays) compared to the US, which is certainly a good option to have. The advice of keeping calm while pregnant and not working too hard follows the same line of logic. Allowing time for mothers and fathers to calmer and less busy can only be good for society, and is something that the French could teach Americans (Canadians have more generous leave than Americans, so maybe we're already learning that). I also find it interesting to read about how other parents, in any culture, respond to the nearly infinitely variable challenges and joys of parenting. Druckerman is pleasantly frank and funny when talking about her own challenges.
So overall, this is an interesting book. But it certainly isn't a comprehensive review of French parenting- it's a review of the author's upper-middle class circle of French friends who are parents. Nor is it a comprehensive or data-driven examination of American parenting. There are some good tips in it, but many of them will likely be familiar to most Canadian parents. So overall, this book's real value lies in the handful of new tips or ideas as well as in the story of a mother who struggles to figure out what kind of parenting is best for her child. Given that 95% of parents probably do the same thing, the moral support of knowing you're not the only one second-guessing yourself at times is worth it. Add in fun and funny writing, and that makes this a worthy purchase. Not the new gold-standard scientific bible of parenting techniques, but a good opportunity to think and laugh about being a parent and parenting itself.
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