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Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
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“When I ask French parents what they most want for their children, they say things like "to feel comfortable in their own skin" and "to find their path in the world." They want their kids to develop their own tastes and opinions. In fact, French parents worry if their kids are too docile. They want them to have character.

But they believe that children can achieve these goals only if they respect boundaries and have self-control. So alongside character, there has to be cadre.
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Within a few hours of meeting him, I realized that "love at first sight" just means feeling immediately and extremely calm with someone.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“The French believe that kids feel confident when they're able to do things for themselves, and do those things well. After children have learned to talk, adults don't praise them for saying just anything. They praise them for saying interesting things, and for speaking well.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Yet the French have managed to be involved without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children, and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. "For me, the evenings are for the parents." one Parisian mother tells me. "My daughter can be with us if she wants, but it's adult time.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“My first intervention is to say, when your baby is born, just don't jump on your kid at night," Cohen says, "Give your baby a chance to self-soothe, don't automatically respond, even from birth.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“There are so few years to just be a child.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Like the French, he starts babies off on vegetables and fruits rather than bland cereals. He's not obsessed with allergies. He talks about "rhythm" and teaching kids to handle frustration. He values calm. And he gives real weight to the parents' own quality of life, not just to the child's welfare.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Autonomy is something fundamental that your child needs. (Francoise Dolto said that by age six, a child should be able to do everything at home that concerns him.)”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“But in real life, the ideal Parisian woman is calm, discreet, a bit remote, and extremely decisive.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“French parents are very concerned about their kids. They know about pedophiles, allergies, and choking hazards. They take reasonable precautions. But they aren't panicked about their children's well-being. This calmer outlook makes them better at both establishing boundaries and giving their kids some autonomy.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“In the United States, a four-year-old American kid isn’t obliged to greet me when he walks into my house. He gets to skulk in under the umbrella of his parents’ greeting. And in an American context, that’s supposed to be fine with me. I don’t need the child’s acknowledgment because I don’t quite count him as a full person; he’s in a separate kids’ realm. I might hear all about how gifted he is, but he never actually speaks to me. When I’m at a family luncheon back in the United States, I’m struck that the cousins and stepcousins at the table, who range in age from five to fourteen, don’t say anything at all to me unless I pry it out of them. Some can only muster one-word responses to my questions. Even the teenagers aren’t used to expressing themselves with confidence to a grown-up they don’t know well. Part of what the French obsession with bonjour reveals is that, in France, kids don’t get to have this shadowy presence. The child greets, therefore he is. Just as any adult who walks into my house has to acknowledge me, any child who walks in must acknowledge me, too. “Greeting is essentially recognizing someone as a person,” says Benoît, the professor. “People feel injured if they’re not greeted by children that way.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“When I tell her about the expression "MILF" ("Mom I'd like to Fuck"), she thinks it's hilarious. There's no French-language equivalent. In France, there's no a priori reason why a woman wouldn't be sexy just because she happens to have children. It's not uncommon to hear a Frenchman say that being a mother gives a woman an appealing air of plentitude (happiness and fulness of spirit).”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“[French] Parents see it as their job to bring the child around to appreciating this [food]. They believe that just as they must teach a child how to sleep, how to wait, and how to say bonjour, they must teach her how to eat.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Frenchwomen don’t see pregnancy as a free pass to overeat, in part because they haven’t been denying themselves the foods they love—or secretly binging on those foods—for most of their adult lives. “Too often, American women eat on the sly, and the result is much more guilt than pleasure,” Mireille Guiliano explains in her intelligent book French Women Don’t Get Fat. “Pretending such pleasures don’t exist, or trying to eliminate them from your diet for an extended time, will probably lead to weight gain.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“You don’t say, “I’m sorry,”’ he says. ‘Getting injections, and experiencing pain, is part of life. There’s no reason to apologize for that.’ He seems to be channelling Rousseau, who said, ‘If by too much care you spare them every kind of discomfort, you are preparing great miseries for them.’ (I’m not sure what Rousseau thought about suppositories.)”
Pamela Druckerman, French Children Don't Throw Food
“One reason for pausing is that young babies make a lot of movement and noise while they're sleeping. This is normal and fine. If parents rush in and pick the baby up every time he makes a peep, they'll sometimes wake him up.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Walter Mischel says the worst-case scenario for a kid from eighteen to twenty-four months of age is "the child is busy and the child is happy, and the mother comes along with a forkful of spinach...
"The mothers who really foul it up are the ones who are coming in when the child is busy and doesn't want or need them, and are not there when the child is eager to have them. So becoming alert to that is absolutely critical.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“French parents do offer a few sleep tips. They almost all say that in the early months, they kept their babies with them in the light during the day, even for naps, and put them to bed in the dark at night. And almost all say that, from birth, they carefully “observed” their babies, and then followed the babies’ own “rhythms.” French parents talk so much about rhythm, you’d think they were starting rock bands, not raising kids. “From zero to six months, the best is to respect the rhythms of their sleep,” explains Alexandra, the mother whose babies slept through the night practically from birth.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Give willingly, refuse unwillingly,” he writes in Émile. “But let your refusal be irrevocable. Let no entreaties move you; let your ‘no,’ once uttered, be a wall of brass, against which the child may exhaust his strength some five or six times, but in the end he will try no more to overthrow it. Thus you will make him patient, equable, calm and resigned, even when he does not get all he wants.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“When I describe this scene to Michel Cohen, the French pediatrician in New York, he knows immediately what I’m talking about. He says these mothers are speaking loudly to flaunt what good parents they are. The practice of narrated play is so common that Cohen included a section in his parenting book called Stimulation, which essentially tells mothers to cut it out. “Periods of playing and laughing should alternate naturally with periods of peace and quiet,” Cohen writes. “You don’t have to talk, sing, or entertain constantly.” Whatever your view on whether this intensive supervision is good for kids, it seems to make child care less pleasant for mothers.2 Just watching it is exhausting”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“One day I have a revelation. ‘I think we’re actually quite compatible,’ I tell him. ‘You’re irritable, and I’m irritating.”
Pamela Druckerman, French Children Don't Throw Food
“Babies are designed to cry when they need something and mothers are designed to respond.”
Pamela Druckerman, French Children Don't Throw Food
“Awakening is about introducing a child to sensory experiences, including tastes. It doesn't always require the parent's active involvement. It can come from staring at the sky, smelling dinner as it's being prepared, or playing alone on a blanket. It's a way of sharpening the child's senses and preparing him to distinguish between different experiences. It's the first step toward teaching him to be a cultivated adult who knows how to enjoy himself. Awakening is a kind of training for children in how to profiter - to soak up the pleasure and richness of the moment.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“It quickly becomes clear that having a child in France doesn't require choosing a parenting philsophy.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“Another phrase that adults use a lot with children is “I don’t agree,” as in, “I don’t agree with you pitching your peas on the floor.” Parents say this in a serious tone, while looking directly at the child. “I don’t agree” is also more than just “no.” It establishes the adult as another mind, which the child must consider. And it credits the child with having his own view about the peas, even if this view is being overruled. Pitching the peas is cast as something the child has rationally decided to do, so he can decide to do otherwise, too.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“French parents don’t just think these separations are good for parents. They also genuinely believe that they’re important for kids, who must understand that their parents have their own pleasures. “Thus the child understands that he is not the center of the world, and this is essential for his development”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“I want my kids to be self-reliant, resilient, and happy. I just don't want to let go of their hands.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“I realize that i've seen French mothers and nannies pausing exactly this little bit before tending to their babies during the day. It hadn't occurred to me that this was deliberate or that it was at all significant.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“One rule on the handout was that parents should not hold, rock, or nurse a baby to sleep in the evenings, in order to help him learn the difference between day and night. Another instruction for week-old babies was that if they cried between midnight and five A.M., parents should reswaddle, pat, rediaper, or walk the baby around, but that the mother should offer the breast only if the baby continued crying after that. An additional instruction was that, from the child’s birth, the mothers should distinguish between when their babies were crying and when they were just whimpering in their sleep. In other words, before picking up a noisy baby, the mother should pause to make sure he’s awake.”
Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
“The French magazine Parents says that if a baby is scared of strangers, his mother should warn him that a visitor will be coming over soon. Then, when the doorbell rings, ‘Tell him that the guest is here. Take a few seconds before opening the door . . . if he doesn’t cry when he sees the stranger, don’t forget to congratulate him.’ I hear of several cases where, upon bringing a baby home from the maternity hospital, the parents give the baby a tour of the house.9 French parents often tell babies what they’re doing to them: I’m picking you up, I’m changing your nappy, I’m going to give you a bath. This isn’t just to make soothing sounds; it’s to convey information. And since the baby is a person like any other, parents are often quite polite about all this. (Plus it’s apparently never too early to start instilling good manners.)”
Pamela Druckerman, French Children Don't Throw Food

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