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

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
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Aug 04, 12

Read in August, 2012

I really enjoyed this as essentially an autobiography on getting used to expat life. Aside from the slightly obnoxious overuse of the present tense, it's witty, entertaining, and fast-paced. As a parenting guide, many of the suggestions seemed to me in large part common sense. Which, now that I stop and think of it, probably just means that French parents differs from American parenting in many of the same ways that Russian parenting does. Case in point: feeding kids real food (not the chemical mess that's called kid's food around here), not rushing instantaneously to a crying baby (I know this in theory, but it's damn hard to implement in practice), remaining calm and correcting small mistakes rather than escalating to big scenes, and letting kids lead their own non-micromanaged lives all seem to fall in the category of good sense. Some of the practices mentioned (dropping breastfeeding in the first few weeks, leaving the child alone from bedtime to morning, serving multicourse meals every day, ...) do not sound like a great plan. But hey it's not a manual just an observational study. And that might be what makes it so much less obnoxious to read than most other dictatorial parenting books out there. While I'm skeptical that French parents are quite the dazzlingly efficient figures of calm competence that the author makes them out to be, I enjoyed reading about how the target ideals differ so much from the ones espoused here.
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