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Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  52,456 ratings  ·  5,372 reviews
The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children. 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 t
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Penguin Press
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Sorina they look like separate books on her official website. However, when you read up on it, it says "French Children Don’t Throw Food (U.K. edition of Bri…morethey look like separate books on her official website. However, when you read up on it, it says "French Children Don’t Throw Food (U.K. edition of Bringing Up Bébé)" - so it looks like they are one and the same / maybe some variations to make it paletable to the UK public?

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Start your review of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
The popularity of books like this give the impression that today's American parents are willing to take advice from anyone other than their own relatives. The most helpful advice the French have about child rearing is very traditional, the sorts of things people everywhere have said for generations: don't pick the baby up the moment it fusses, No means no, you have to try a bite of everything, children and parents are happier when the parents are in charge. Excellent advice, and worth reading if ...more
Diana Holquist
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fetishization of the French (or the Chinese or whatever the 'hot' culture of the moment is) bugs me, to no end. I think that when you're a stranger in a strange land, as Druckerman was, you end up putting a great deal of emphasis on fitting in and behaving to the detriment of what's truly important. Druckerman admits toward the end of the book, as her daughter becomes more and more "French," that she's a bit disturbed and unsettled and not all that pleased by the results of her own "French" ...more
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The basis of the book has been recounted, but is worth retelling. An American author finds herself in Paris because of her husband's job. As she emphasizes, she is American; she does not live in France because of francophilia; she does not imagine that she will stay or live in France.

But... When she had her daughter in France, she was struck -- repeatedly, and at many levels -- at the difference between French and American children. Differences in how they behave, interact with children and adul
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This. THIS. It was such a relief to read this. I've worked with kids since 7th grade, and really want at least one of my own, but - well, frankly, a lot of people make it seem like the worst thing ever. "Forget sleep, when you have kids" - "Enjoy your LAST VACATION THAT'S ACTUALLY FUN" - "Good luck eating chicken fingers the rest of your life." I always thought that sounded so utterly sad. I, personally, always really loved hanging out with kids but had the sort of subconscious thought that mayb ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
I failed to appreciate much of what this book had to offer based on many poorly backed assumptions and one substantial thought flaw. The author mentions that she believes the French public services don't explain the differences in parenting that she sees. One could easily argue that if many American parents didn't have to worry about child care costs, preschool, college tuition or health insurance their parenting styles would be vastly different.

There are far too many references to one extreme e
Emily Crowe
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
It's so interesting reading this book as a non-parent (and as somebody who never intends to be a parent). It's clear to me that most current American parents are slaves to their children in a way that my own parents were not. As someone who works with the public on a daily basis in a place that caters to children & families (as well as adults), I'm frankly appalled at some of the behaviors I see that would never have been tolerated a generation ago. I am aware, though, that it's easy to be smug ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, 2012
Also known as "French children don't throw food". One of the best parenting books I've ever read, and entertaining as well! I actually took notes and have been trying some things out. I love the author's attitude and I can see a lot of logic in many of the French ideas. But regardless, I really enjoyed reading the story of this family!
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've purposefully shied away from so many parenting books on the bookstore shelves these days. It seems like most of those geared toward pregnancy put you in a mild panic about all the things that could go wrong. And the rest? They induce a sense of fear, guilt and inferiority that, book lover though I am, I don't want to gravitate toward as I enjoy this stress-free pregnancy of mine.

BUT...I'd heard a lot of discussion about this particular book and I have to say, if it ends up being the ONLY b
Jun 29, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is terrible and from a journalist, shockingly unresearched. The author often cites one person or some French moms she spoke to to support her assertions about the French way! The same is true for her descriptions of an American she knows whose baby does xyz and that means all Americans parent in that way!

The book is also filled with inaccuracies. The supposedly French and superior method of raising children described by the author is so obvious and indistinguishable from what many Amer
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, nonfiction
This book was recommended to me by a good friend.
Very funny written, entertaining and good read, but not as a typical guide.
Listen to your intuition and do not let the "counselors" influence you!
Steven Gaskin
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot to filter out in this book - specifically, the author's lack of objectivity, considering that she appears to live in a manner to which most people do not have the financial means to aspire - but the core ideas she's captured from her experiences in Paris are very useful for parents struggling to raise their children with discipline and manners without resorting to shouting. I was looking for some tools to communicate with and educate my son, as at 3 and a half, he's becoming increa ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This will be one of the only - if not THE only - parenting style books I read. I'm a Francophile anyway, but I loved this American expat's take on the study of French parenting & how she tried to integrate it, as best she could, into her children's lives while living in Paris. Firm rules & boundaries, but with freedom within that. Respect for children as intelligent beings capable of learning - and NOT in need of constant hand holding to do so. Respecting the fact that parents have lives & needs ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-lit
I loved this book and most of the advice. I do think think that 'the pause' is enacted way too early and, although I agree with a feeding schedule, four times a day isn't enough for an infant in my opinion. I love how the French teach their children the importance of Bonjour, Merci, Au Revior, as well as how they introduce them to food and get them involved in the kitchen. Some of the reviewers lambasted the author for depicting the parenting styles of upper-class Parisians as 'out of touch' wit ...more
I've always had a soft spot for the French (well, except for that kid, Pierre, who took one of my classes and affirmed every single bad stereotype of Parisians I'd ever heard, and then some). I especially love to read about how Americans perceive French life; I suppose this is an example of me living vicariously through my book choices. Anyway. Bringing Up Bebe has been popping up on my various radar screens for weeks, and I've been at my wit's end with my newly minted three year old lately, so ...more
Kim G
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
At the core of this book are a few decent parenting strategies (it's OK to say no in a firm but rational way, it's OK to let your baby shift around and cry for a few minutes while sleeping because they might just be between sleep cycles, believe in your kids and you'll be surprised what they can do, it doesn't make you a selfish monster to have your own time and your marriage be priorities) so I know I shouldn't completely take a dump on it, but for me those ideas were drowned out by soooo much ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Let me start by saying that I could write a doctoral thesis on this book. You know, if I were a lot smarter and still in school and hadn't had to look up how to spell "thesis".

Let's also start from a premise in which I have no children. The four small people wandering around my home are a tribe of nomads and they are just passing through so I have no dog in this fight regarding the best way to raise children. Because I don't have four of them so my self worth isn't riding on the outcome of this
May 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Infuriating. But once I got past the crazy, indulgent American parent v. calm, wise, strict French parent nonsense, I could enjoy this author's engaging, witty writing. Obviously I disagree with the premise that the French are better parents. Sorry, a 2-month-old sleeping through the night is not uniquely French. Neither is an obedient, well-mannered child. The author's view of parents in Paris, as well as her research of numerous French parenting ideas, is extensive. Had she applied her journal ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Michelle by: parenting book club
Shelves: never-finished
I started reading this book b/c I had heard about it, and then a new parenting bookclub that I'm in had talked about it a lot. So I came to it with curiosity and hope for insightful perspectives. Instead, I could barely get through the intro and first chapter. Unlike many people, I did not like this book.

The author writes well, but I could tell that she is a journalist (in a bad way) b/c she writes in soundbites. It's very catchy, sexy, but she makes sweeping generalizations, and her writing is
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, let's clear something up, shall we? No, I am not pregnant nor do I have any plans to be in the near future.

I picked up this book because It was in the office, the cover looked nice, it had a blurb from Amy Chua in the back, and I've always wondered why American children are unpleasant compared to those of other cultures. This book attempts to answer that question with a look at how the French bring up their kids. I liked the idea of hard limits and boundaries, what the book refers to as c
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Let me first say, that I am not a parent. Nor do I intend to become a parent in the near future. I would like to have children within the next four or five years, but am in no rush within that time frame. So I know how odd it might seem for a non-parent to read a parenting book.

The reason I decided to read this book is based, in large part, on my own fear of parenthood. In a recent discussion with my mother she was horrified to learn that I had lived most of my life with a fear of having childre
Emma Cameron
Although this was an enjoyable read and was easy to follow I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with smug French women who rear these "perfect children" who sleep through the night, eat all vegetables and never whinge. Really? As I read on I realised that maybe their kids do do all these things but at what price? French women don't like to breastfeed, go back to work very quickly and expect the creche and nursery to bring up their children.

I found myself feeling very sorry for French c
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised at how much I disliked this book. I couldn't read very much without putting it down in disgust. It just made me so mad. American and French society are so different that of COURSE American parents differ in their parenting styles. I don't think one journalist talking to a bunch of friends and neighbors can constitute a new parenting style or even be included as a parenting book.

I especially disliked the section on sleeping babies. To someone who has tried "la stinkin' Pause" for
Jul 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I was originally going to read the first couple of chapters, which deal with infants, and stop there. But much to my surprise, this was a far better book than I had imagined. What I was expecting was another pat, self-help-section miracle solution to everyone's parenting woes type of book (the endorsement by and comparison to French Women Don't Get Fat wasn't helping). What I found instead was an honest, informative, well-researched, and well-written account of an American mother raising childre ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm beyond my child rearing days and headed into Grandma-land. So maybe this book was more enjoyable for me because I wasn't looking for gold nuggets or education. This was fun. I liked the author's personal view and her experiences as an American In France. I could relate to much of what she said though. So 4 stars. ...more
I found this book very helpful. BUT, like many e-books, it tricked me by ending at the 86% mark- after that it was all index, etc. I hate that! I thought I had a good 10% left!

Format woes aside, I enjoyed this little foray into the parenting how-to genre, mostly because it wasn't so much a "how-to" as it was a borderline anthropology experiment. It relies on a premise I've seen done several times over the last few years, starting with French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook. Basically, an American/B
May 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
(NB my 2 stars: 'It was ok' is probably more based on the content than the author's work)

I found it entertaining and easy to read but wish I never had!
Having just arrived in France and happily learning I was pregnant, I bought this book after reading reviews promising it would give me some insight into the culture of child-raising here and amuse me to boot. It did. But there was another 'to boot' - it completely got me down about this new culture I'd just committed to! It seems I'm not just not
Elyse  Walters

I have adult children. Its easy to look back 'now' and say...."I wish I would have had been less focused on my kids---- taken education 'less' serious, taken their hobbies-(dance, theater, swim classes, Hebrew School, ice skating, voice lessons, piano lessons, private schools, etc. all a little less serious) ---and gone on more family-fun-vacations. I wish I had not been in such a rush to DO IT RIGHT! (because I didn't do it right anyway).
Yeah...we all recovered. I'm married to a wond
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Having read many reviews on this book, I knew to not expect anything scholarly, but rather, one woman's observations from her life.

Even still, it was BORING. I cannot buy into the fact that EVERY French child is raised exactly the same, and that EVERY French child turns out well behaved.

On the flip side, perhaps because I'm not an upper-crust, Manhattan parent, I don't personally know any American that parents the way she suggests. If anything, within my community, more parents are like the Fre
Emmy Hermina Nathasia
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Such an eye-opener! Love the way the writers' approach in the book, regaling her own thoughts and experience and try to find a balance through research from parents and experts before adapting it into her own family. I find the book to be a fair balance of French parenting, not being too favourable as to deem as if these techniques are perfect, and not being too patronising towards the American ways (no matter how imperfect it is). I would definitely suggest expecting parents and new parents to ...more
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I've been trying to avoid the most super-trendy of the parenting books, because I was afraid they would make me crazy. This one was a gift, so I felt bad not reading it. At the beginning, I had severe doubts. Happily enough, I lost most of them by the end, although not necessarily for the reasons the author intended.

So. The author is an American ex-pat living in Paris who couldn't understand why her French friends' kids were well-behaved, her kids were kind of out-of-control, and her American f
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Pamela Druckerman is an American journalist and the author of Bringing Up Bébé (The Penguin Press: 2012); the U.K. version of the same book - French Children Don’t Throw Food (Doubleday UK: 2012); and Lust In Translation (The Penguin Press: 2007).

From 1997 to 2002 she was a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, based in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and New York. Her Op-eds and articles have since

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