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
I got this while pregnant just thinking I wanted to check it out, not actually expecting to learn much. But it resonated once my baby was born and I followed her recommendations for "pausing" which I think totally influenced that my baby slept through the night by 8 weeks old. I have been recommending people to read this book even though its not written by a pediatrician it is a moms story, a story we can all relate to, and for us it was a success.
I really enjoyed this book. It is very well written (and narrated) and very well documented. This author really did her homework. It is also very funny and witty. I can totally relate with the author (being a French living in the US).
Not just anecdotal, this author does true journalistic investigation. Frees the modern American mother from the nightmare of her own making.
I found the writer of this book intolerable ND I think her quirks were exacerbated by the reader. The book is based on faulty premises and could actually be quite detrimental to child (especially the food section). My husband finally suggested I quit listening to this book because it put me in such a bad mood!
Probably not. I picked up a few quick tidbits (the "pause" which I already do, but it was nice to put a name to it, and the importance of "Bonjour"). Other than that, I felt the author made very generalized comments about parents in America and France alike. I kept waiting for real statistics or proof that what she was saying was more than just her opinion formed from a few encounters with her friends in both countries, but it never came. With the exception of some quotes here and there taken out of context from different child-rearing books, every point she made started with "My friend in the US does this awful thing while my French friend does this." I didn't mind hearing her observations on the differences, however, the very stereotyped "American parent" got pretty old after a while and did not sound like the parents I know.
"Maman knows best"
I am a mother of a toddler, and as such have read a few books and articles about how I should be doing my job. I first read an article about Druckerman which led me to download the whole book. It's written by an American talking about French parenting, and as an English mother, I found it really interesting to be able to read it from a third perspective and have no personal issues with either style of parenting. I can imagine that some people may be defensive of either culture's ways, but I was pleased to simply listen to the evidence and take what I think is useful and relevant from it.
Regarding evidence, Druckerman has done a lot of research, I was concerned this would just be an anecdotal opinion piece, and was pleased to find that there was actually a lot of scientific and historical research quoted to back up the observations she was making.
Overall I thought this was a really interesting book, with some definite - if not sometimes obvious and common sense - methods which could be put into practise. But as I've found so far in parenthood - indeed in life, sometimes you do need the obvious to be stated in order to simply recognise and consciously decide to act on it. However I do agree with the previous reviewer, the narrator's French accent is terrible sometimes, and I accept the fact that not everyone can do accents, but perhaps they should have found a fluent French speaker to read the book, as there are quite a lot of French phrases used throughout and it did rather undermine what was being said.
"Would be great if it wasn't for the fake accent"
Its an interesting book that has definitely given me a lot to think about. However I felt it was let down by the INCREDIBLY irritating, horrific french accent that the narrator puts on when she wants to quote a french person. I've had to take a break from listening to it simply because of that.
"The fake accent is grating"
I enjoy the topic and the writing. But the choice to use the fake French and British accents was a bad decision on the part of the producers. Now, the voice of the recording is very grating, and I also can't help hearing the narrator's creaky vocal fry. Yikes. The voice is the most important thing for an audio book. I think I'll be returning this one.
"Fun but don't take too seriously"
Quite interesting and some food for thought. I think I'd have liked the book more with this one as it's the kind of book you would want to dip into and skim areas, also the narrator speaks so quickly I missed a lot of what she said which I found very frustrating. I nearly gave up on this a few times but quite enjoyed coming back to bits of it.
I am a very attached and hippy parent as much as I appreciate the style of parenting described in this book their is not all that much that I will be using on my kids. I did however learn a lot and their are definitely a couple things I will be using. the readers faked French accent was great very comical lol
synthesis: newyorkers are hysterical women with too much money to spend on trendy books and pediatricians, French mums are cool with a no-nonsense approach to education ( probably like the rest of normal middle class American grans imo!)
the fake accent is really irritating and it was a struggle to listen. the book is too long and verbose for little content, few interesting points that you can pick up reading online blogs instead of wasting listening time.
Good for long car journeys for a passive, unchallenging listen. Wouldn't have continued with a book though.
"Great book, but strange narration choices"
French style education
Wonderful book, a great combination of information and autobiography. Actually has incredibly interesting and useful information about how French parents raise their children. Well researched book, with enough background information about parenting philosophies and helpful, practical advice that you can apply yourself. Also an entertaining story about Americans making a life in Paris and learning the French culture.
The narrating itself is fine, but why she decided to do EVERY bit that was a quote from someone French in a thick French accent is beyond me. It actually makes it more difficult to make out what she is saying, and I don't appreciate the notion that all French people speak with that same cliché accent. This doesn't only happen whe she quotes a dialogue between the author and a French person (of which there is a lot in the book) but also when French literature is quoted (which also happens a lot in the book). For me this was the big let-down of this book.
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