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
As I prepare for my first child, I want to raise her like I was raised. With limits, structure, and autonomy. Many of the parents of young children, who I know, are controlling without assertiveness, so the children win in the end. Their days are planned to what the parent wants not always what the child wants, and children do not explore. It is nice to see that children continue to be raised with the same values I was. This book is vindication that it is possible to raise her like I want, even if American society does not embrace this strategy anymore. Thank you.
I have listened to this book about 6 times. the story is great and gives great listens on a distant way of parenting. I may not use all of these methods but it is a good thing to keep in mind while raising a young one. I highly recommend!
This book made me feel better about being a calm parent. I have a six month old, and I've been wound up by the past year of American shoulds and should-nots. It was a relief to learn about the French approach, or un-approach, which is far more relaxed and realistic than what I've encountered as a new parent in the U.S.
That being said, the narration is irritating.
I enjoyed that this book gives an alternative to the "my baby is my new identity." It was just what I needed to read 5 months out and the food part of the book prompted me to question how we should start our child on solid foods. Very exciting stuff.
Valuable takeaways from this book, but was distracted by how the narrator pronounced French words. Maybe this it was intentional to reinforce the American-speaking-French idea, but her accent was noticeably inauthentic.
When I described to my American husband with the psychology background the concept of the book he told me that it's very selfish view on raising a kid and asked why all of the sudden French know better. But for me, been raised in Russia it was much closer to home and the way I was raised. So I've continued to listen. It doesn't matter if it's French or anybody else, i was agree with some and disagree with other. Found useful and useless advice. It let's me see that there are ways to deal with tantrums, authority and teaching respect the way I would like to do and feel that it's right. After all its your child and you get to choose how.
I love many of the suggestions in this book and the observations of American versus French parents. I found it useful as a parent. The narrator did a nice job differentiating between the author and her French contributors using accents.
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