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

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
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Jul 03, 12

Read in July, 2012

I usually don't like parenting books. I try to read them and get more and more frustrated by their sales pitches and give up reading them. This one I read not to learn how to parent, but to see if it would help give a glimpse into what parenting might be like in Reggio Emilia, Italy. (My conclusion on this is that probably in some ways parents in Reggio are more like French parents than they are like Americans, but it is also possible that in some ways they are more like American parents than like French parents.) What was really great about this book was it's ability to "make the familiar strange" (to borrow a Reggio term) and this is also what Druckerman had to do to discover what she did and write the book. Reading about French parenting in this particular format (more like a travel novel than a sales-pitch for a parenting technique), made me reconsider aspects of parenting and children and education that I didn't realize I was taking for granted as fact. Through reading the book, I realized many ways in which my own parenting behavior was not matching my "image of the child" (to borrow another term from Reggio. It means, "what I believe young children to be capable of and to need...who I think young children are."). I am not becoming a French mom (I am sure this is not possible and not desirable), but I am growing immensely as a parent because of how this book opened the door for me to reconsider what I do and why I do it. I hope that throughout my years as a mother, I will find other intellectual stimulants like this book that will allow me to reevaluate and grow again and again.
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