The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children is here.
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.
Motherhood itself is a whole different experience in France. There's no role model, as there is in America, for the harried new mom with no life of her own. French mothers assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids that Druckerman can only envy.
Of course, French parenting wouldn't be worth talking about if it produced robotic, joyless children. In fact, French kids are just as boisterous, curious, and creative as Americans. They're just far better behaved and more in command of themselves. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are - by design - toddling around and discovering the world at their own pace.
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.
©2012 Pamela Druckerman (P)2012 Random House
Love a good audio book on my commute.
It gave me a new perspective on parenting and I love the fact that the author spent time observing and was able to clearly describe that she observed. I now learned not to be over-nurturing, learned that saying no to my kid is ok, learned that letting them misbehave a little at home (but letting them know that when they are outside, they need to behave)...learned a lot indeed.
The author seems to objectively contrast American and French techniques of raising children. She doesn't follow everything she observes in another culture blindly, but she does pick out essential phases of a child's development and explains why French techniques work so well. Being raised in Europe, I can attest that many of these techniques are not exclusive to France, and perhaps that's why they made such perfect sense to me.
I am a single woman with 18 nieces and nephews (whom I adore and love) but have been nervous about motherhood for a few reasons, but mostly not wanting to lose connection to myself and desires, but do want happy children who feel special and behave. This is a fun narrative of life abroad, raw motherhood, but with a curious look at the benefits of French parenting without losing connection to your own country values, or self. Loved, loved, loved it!
Reinforced the idea of not becoming a hover parent. Goes through different phases of her kids with story telling. Teaching the pause and not spoiling your kids. Very few actual rules that are spelled out though.
As a French new mom living in the US I found this book really interesting. Although I do not agree with everything, I feel like Pamela's vision of French parenting is very accurate. I can see a lot of myself in her French moms descriptions but also a lot of my own parents.
Even though I really enjoyed the book for its content, I found the reader's performance to be really bad, and actually even annoying to listen to. All along the book the reader tries to fake a French accent and completely fails. Her accent sounds more Dutch or German to me and I wish she just spoke plain English.
I really enjoyed this book and the narrator. The French accents can be silly at times, but it's nice to hear a narrator use different tones and voices. It reminds me of being young, when my mother would read to me.
Really nice to know a little about French parenting and their fundamentals. I believe this book gave me some great tips on how I can raise my Brazilian/American daughter in the US. Great book for a first time parents who are not happy how all the other kids in the playground behave.
When I read the description of this book, I thought it sounded like a selfish parent's guide to parenting. But a good friend loved it, so I gave it a chance.
Wow, was it eye opening! Instead of seeing the French parenting style as selfish, I see the benefits of adding more structure to the daily routine and meals, can laugh at an outside perspective on the hyper competitiveness we Americans have in sports and academics, and most of all - in one week I have let go of a great deal of guilt I carry for doing anything for myself. I see the great value in letting the kids just explore for long periods of time, and the value of letting them get bored and learn to be patient.
This book is light and entertaining, reads like a novel. The narrator is fantastic!
I'm now listening to it a second time. Can't wait to try out a lot of these techniques!
Oh, and I'm now laughing at all the commercials on kids TV and ads for kids activities that boast to help your child "get ahead", "get a head start", etc. Sheesh - what is the big hurry anyway??
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