Davie Bennett's Reviews > Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
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May 26, 2012

really liked it
Read in May, 2012

As a thirtysomething young single man, one of my favorite past times is judging the parenting skills/abilities/approaches/ideas of my friends, peers, my students' parents, and basically any parents of young children that I encounter. Also, I'm a minor Francophile. So that's pretty much how I ended up reading this book, and I'm glad that I did. I loved the ideas in it.

The gist: American woman moves to France, has a baby, and notices all the differences in the ways that the French raise, train, and interact with their children versus the ways that Americans generally do these same things. She makes note of many clear contrasts, mostly because the French seem to be doing these things better. Much better.

I don't want to get into rehashing or haggling the details, but suffice it to say that Druckerman gets into specifics: bedtimes, meal behaviors, parent/child boundaries, parental careers, child care, cultural norms and expectations, and the list goes on. She is unafraid to talk about her own insecurities and mistakes, and unafraid to step on the toes of many doting, obsessive American parents and draw clear contrasts between parenting theories and ideas from two very different societies.

I love the ideas and insight in this book and think that this sort of cross-cultural comparative study could be incredibly beneficial to parents looking for a saner, more reasonable way to approach their relationship and interactions with their offspring. I didn't always love the writing or find the narrative totally compelling, but I will definitely revisit this book at a more timely time in my future life and recommend it to young parents and parents-to-be.
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