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 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??
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.
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