Bringing Up Bébé
One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
By Pamela Druckerman
Read by Abby Craden Random House Audio, 2012
An Unabridged Recording on 8 CDs
Genre: Parenting, NonFiction
Reviewed by Angela Evans - May 7, 2012
When Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist had a baby in Paris, she never imagined that it would change everything she always thought she knew about parenting - but it did! Druckerman noticed that French children never seem to fight and that they seem quite content to play alone, peacefully, while their parents do other things, like talk to friends, or simply relax. Why aren't American children so self sufficient and peaceful? Druckerman set out to get to discover what parenting techniques French parents use that could benefit American parents who want to raise happy, well behaved, and adventurous children who sleep through the night and who eat anything set before them. The end result of her 'study' is her new book, Bringing Up Bébé.
This is a must read for every parent, or anyone considering the notion of having a child. (This unabridged audio edition of Bringing Up Bebe is read by the noted voice actress Abby Craden.) It is not your typical 'how-to' book. Rather, it is an exposé on French attitudes and how they differ from American ones. For example, many Americans' feel that if a child doesn't pay attention it is because that is the way they are or because they are suffering from a 'disease' such as ADD that can be treated with drugs. The French attitude is that any child can be taught patience, and once taught, this skill seeps into every facet of their lives, affecting not only their behavior but it also teaches them how to delay gratification and how to persevere through trying times. This is not to say that every French parent uses this methodology, or that it is the best and only method out there. Rather, Druckerman is simply explaining a methodology that she observed and which she obviously admires.
In addition to the insights into French parenting proffered by this book, Druckerman offers up an interesting tale about what it is like to be an American living in Paris, and she also relates some of her adventures in France. Along the way she also provides keen insights into French culture and foodways and their insistence that children eat at a fixed schedule - and the benefits that this entails. Funny, informative, and insightful, I highly recommend Bringing Up Bébé to every parent and parent-to-be out there!
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