Review: Bringing Up Bébé

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman

Genres: Parenting, Memoir, Non-fiction
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

The secret behind France’s astonishingly well-behaved children. When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn’t aspire to become a “French parent.” French parenting isn’t a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren’t doing anything special.

Yet, the French children Druckerman knows sleep through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play.

With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman-a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal-sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don’t just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.

While finding her own firm non, Druckerman discovers that children-including her own-are capable of feats she’d never imagined.

Bringing Up Bébé is not a step-by-step parenting “how to”. It’s not even really a parenting book in the way you would expect. It’s half memoir, half journalistic cultural exploration of how the French culture views children in a profoundly different way than the American culture.

To my unending surprise, a lot of French parenting beliefs strongly resonated with me. I think Americans have forgotten how much children are capable of. Many of the “techniques” presented in this book are things I’ve discussed at length in the education world. Things that teachers get frustrated parents don’t understand. Obviously I didn’t approve of every aspect of French parenting. But I think we could learn a lot from them. I strongly recommend this book to anyone tired of and frustrated with “American parenting”. It was both eye opening and funny. I really enjoyed Bringing Up Bébé.

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