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
By eliminating the Ms. Craden's use of ridiculous British & French accents throughout the book.
Definitely anger! I was hoping to learn the author's view of cultural differences of raising children (I am an American living in France, like her). Instead, the person reading the text, Ms. Craden, felt compelled to demonstrate her incompetent pronunciation of both British and French accents. This made it impossible to concentrate on WHAT was being said, and forced me to suffer through HOW it was being said! When I reached chapter 3, I called it quits and stopped listening -- and promised myself never to buy another audiobook where the reader wants to show off his/her poor acting talents. Tell the readers, especially Ms. Craden, to just read the texts in a normal, native American accent, and stop showing off.
My kids are a little too old for much of this advice but I thoroughly enjoyed this book nonetheless. If you are interested in how others live in other parts of the world, you will enjoy this book.
Avoid the over dramatized french accents
Pam Druckerman clearly states at one point they had four nannies. Then wonders why her kids are obnoxious in public. Rather then coming to the clear conclusion they are desperate for her time and attention, she decides it can't be that since "ALL" frenchwomen go back to work and dump their kids in public daycares for 50 hours a week and they are not brats. Women in our country and France have only been going to full time work for just about 2 generations. The American brat problem did not occur during the 50's when American women actually raised their own kids. The difference between France and here is likely to do with them not trying to make up for neglecting their kids by giving them whatever they want in the 2 hours a day they are home to "pretend to raise" them. Working women parent from a place of guilt here. Guilt only occurs when you know you're doing something wrong. Maybe the fact that the last 32,000 years human type women have been nuturing their own children and it feels wrong not too is because it is wrong not to.
The book is written from a stereotypical neurotic New Yorker. I couldn't finish the book because she keep ranting about herself and the small mindedness that makes it almost painful to grasp other cultures kept getting on my nerves.
Very annoying story about the author's own paranoia and obsessive-compulsiveness. More about her stressed out process than how relaxed and easy going French parents are. No insight what's-so-ever.
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