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
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.
Wonderful advice. I love parenting books that point out the common sense fundamentals we sometimes forget in the U.S. about such as how children learn patience and self control but still advocates letting children be children- creatures that need to be free to discover, explore and use their imagination. The woman who reads this book is absolutely wonderful! I appreciate the accents she uses! It really brings the story to life!
I also recommend John Rosemond's books to anyone who likes this one, because there are many parallels and his is also a back-to-basics type of view.
Great snippets of wisdom! If only we read this preemptive of our firstborns! Bad habits are generated when we make concessions, and resort to just trying to get by- the hopes of retaining sanity prevailing over too many drowning moments of the vice. Nonetheless, our babes are malleable so there's hope! Will definitely refer back to this one!
I liked this very much. Gives you many things to consider. My 2.5 year old now sleeps through the night with no hassle thanks some insight I gained here. Not everything is inline with my parenting style but I appreciated considering it just the same.
I am German-American and remember much about growing up there. Really, the French way of raising kids is, or at least was, very much like the Germans do it. While I don't want to belittle American mothers, I am very much in favor of allowing kids to experience some frustration - after all, won't they have to go through this for the rest of their adult life? Much better if they have experienced this from early on and much less fuzz for their parents. In particular, this seems to be good for marriages, as the lower divorce rate in Europe does attest to.
One word about the reader: certainly, it is cute that she allows to label French speakers by speaking them with a big fat French accent, but sometimes it does interfere with understanding of what they are saying.
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