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

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
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As a retired pediatrician and a grandfather, I am often intrigued by literature pertaining to child rearing, and when I read several reviews of this book and watched an interview with the author, I was especially interested in reading the book for myself. Druckerman is an American, married to an Englishman, who has lived in Paris for a number of years, and she has had three children during her sojourn there. When she and her husband noticed, to their chagrin, how much easier the French managed child rearing and how much better behaved, apparently happier, and more flexible the French children seemed than her own and those of her American friends in both the US and France, she set out to discover why. This book presents her findings and conclusions. It should be noted that this is in no way a scientific study. It is more “My Observations, Generalized.” Nonetheless, it is vastly entertaining, seemingly insightful, and potentially productive of causing introspection on the part of today’s American parents, leading them to examine and possible modify their own ways of approaching and raising their children. Much of the book makes sense to me, and it was a treat to read. Druckerman’s sense of humor is infectious, and she makes her points gently but based on acute observation. She is honest about noting areas of French parenting with which she is a bit uncomfortable, although it must be admitted that in most cases she comes around to the French point of view, largely because she is able to note the results, including the fact that French parents and children seem to be calmer than Americans often are. She traces the trajectory of raising children from birth into adolescence, noting the French tendency to set firm outer limits with much freedom within those limits, and she applauds that autonomy that French parents are able to foster in their children. Having observed my share of out-of-control and self-centered American children who are not much fun to be around, I support Druckerman’s willingness to look inside other cultures to see what they might have to offer and her ability to try approaches that seem initially unfamiliar and awkward. This was a delightful book to read, a book that engenders much food for thought, and I suspect that many American parents would enjoy and benefit from reading it.
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Started Reading
February 28, 2012 – Shelved
February 28, 2012 – Finished Reading

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