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
This was one of the best parenting books I've read (and I've read A LOT). Ms. Druckerman clearly and intelligently highlights the alarming overparenting trend I've noticed committed by both my peers and parents of my students (I'm an expectant mom who works in a school) and offers realistic solutions based on her ex-patriot observations of Parisian parents. She by no means degrades her American counterparts and is often self-deprecating in her inability or unwillingness to take the advice of her Parisian friends. After she makes anecdotal observations (generally couched with disclaimers that not all Americans commit the parenting sins she describes, nor do all Parisian mothers make Americans seem like frumpy/frazzled messes with misbehaved children), she consults the research which often supports her points. Need proof? I listened to this book while concurrently reading "Brain Rules for Baby," another excellent parenting book which was written by a PhD- both manuals came to almost identical conclusions on key parenting issues such as sleep, eating, behavior, and setting boundaries. If there was a way to make sure that my future child's parents read these books before deciding to host a playdate, I would do it!
The narration on this book was fine, although the French pronunciations were a little forced. I prefer a milder accent when quoting non-English speakers, not one that is so strong that I needs to add focused attention to ensure I'm interpreting accurately. For example, the term "education" is pronounced: "edz-ooo-cah-see-o" by quoted Parisians. In sentences like this, I'd prefer to understand the content of the message, rather than be pummeled over the head by the fact that the speaker is French.
While having definite opinions on a touchy topic (child rearing), it does it in a non-pushy/non- judgmental way. Really enjoyed the book!
The cooks at the Crevis (sp?). i.e. the cooks at the state daycare.
The personalized sense--which is part of her ability to deliver the message in a non-judgmental way.
I certainly laughed!
Definitely worth it. I am making my husband listen to it as well.
didn't read the print version
i enjoyed the author's ability to self reflect on american and british practices with the strangeness of the french way. And then bring about the logic about why the french do it the way they do.
i like the whole idea of waiting... the idea that a child needs to be educated and not trained - a small adult.
Sometimes being French is Healthy
Yes. The text is natural told, fluent, without too many scientific facts. Be aware: It's not a medic or a scientist writing about babies, it's a mother story. Brilliant.
Sure, her style is super amenable, intelligent and fluid.
She's the best narrator that I've listened so far!French accent, intonation, punctuation, everything perfect. I will search for another titles with her as narrator.
This is my first parenting book of what I'm sure will be many (and yes, the author might make fun of me for that). So I don't have much of a frame of reference for it, but I think it was worth the time. I like that the author had mostly common sense reasons for the techniques she saw used to parent children in France.
the end of the book which showed that the French method does work
French accent - it was interesting to listen to for the first two or three hours, but it sometimes makes you feel tired. Though I don't know how she could show French accent better.
I am pregnant now so I am trying to listen to all the books about kids, so I didn't want to stop.
I liked the book and I liked the french method of bringing up kids, but still I cannot agree with every word. As for me, the success of this method depends on where you live - of course of it is France you will definitely succeed. But I doubt that you can bring up a baby French-style in the USA or Russia (I am from Moscow). There are a lot of interesting thoughts and advice about parenting, but still the most important thing is "the rhythm" which is French and is difficult to have in other countries. Anyway I liked the book and will listen to it again when my daughter is born - many interesting stories of parents and babies to think about.
There was more about Paris culture, women and mother habits in Paris. Very less to take from the book and give it to my American kids.
I don't really have enough time to listen or read books more than once, but otherwise I would.
I loved so many parts: the explanation of how the daughter got the nickname "Bean". I even made one of the recipes in the story (gateau a yaourt) with my eldest child and it came our GREAT!
She was excellent. So pleasant to listen to, did the voices in such an authentic, yet dramatized way. I had to keep reminding myself that this voice did not belong to the author, as she read it so convincingly.
Yes, I often chuckled aloud :)
This was my first audio book and it made a great impression on me. I still think it's a bit strange having someone else read for me, as if I'm not literate. I had this book on vacation, so I would find a comfy spot in nature and watch something while I listened. It worked great like this.
I fully enjoyed listening to this book. As a mother to be, I love to insightful approach to parenting that this book portrays. Although I would not call this a personal parenting bible, I did grasp onto some very interesting ideas that I will definitely use when raising my own children. I especially appreciate the approach that "French Parenting" takes towards patience and food.
Going into this read, I thought that my children were too old for this advice to be valuable. I was wrong. This book opened my eyes to several simple changes I could make with regards to raising my girls with the ideas I had always hoped to.
My only regret is that I didn't read this book 8 years ago.
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