In other words… how the French do it better 😛 My brief review of Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bébé: One American Woman Discovers The Wisdom Of French Parenting.
Since finding out I was pregnant I have read many, many, many pregnancy books and parenting books. The last (almost) year of my life has been consumed in finding the ‘correct’ way in raising a child. Some advice in the books I read was great, some was common sense and some… not something that I would follow.
This book though has had a huge impact on me. Not only because I’m obsessed with “everything French” but because it is well written and an easy/entertaining read. Druckerman tells the tale of her experiences raising a child in Paris, where she found French kids to be way more well behaved, polite, autonomous, and willing to eat food that isn’t beige and shaped like dinosaurs sort of like in North America.
What I really enjoyed about the book is that they author explains the history behind why French parent’s behave and believe what they do. From the biggest influencers in child rearing to lessons in history.
A lot of what Pamela Druckerman points out seems common sense such as when saying “No” to your kids mean it and be consistent.
My takeaways from the book:
- the French believe that newborns are able to understand you so be respectful from the very beginning (this same idea is also talked about in the book “The Baby Whisperer” which I also enjoyed) So they say please and thank you to their children from the very beginning – how polite!
- In terms of babies sleeping through the night or as the French say “Do their nights” – don’t go to your kids as soon as they start crying – give them time to self soothe, let them nap during the day in the sunlight so they know their difference and talk to your infants of the importance of sleep.
- FOOD! this was super interesting for me. I’ve always loved how the French appreciate and enjoy food and here the strategy of French parent’s is simple. Enjoy the food with the kids and let them appreciate it from the very beginning. There are no kids menus in France. From serving them vegetables first, to going beyond words of like and don’t like. THere’s a lot more to it than that but very interesting read!
- Fun fact: The author mentions that French mothers contribute 89 percent more to their families house work and child care than French fathers while in the U.S. mothers do only 25 percent more house work and child care than the fathers. She mentions in the book that French mothers don’t ‘fight’ with the fathers about this they accept it and because of that there isn’t as much tension in the household. This “tip” I had a hard time with…
- The French exert their authority by declaring, “C’est moi qui décide” (“It’s I who decide”). The result of raising children in this French style, the authro writes, is “a fully functioning society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters and reasonably relaxed parents.”
Essentially, the book emphasizes that the French create rules for their kids but within these rules children are able to have freedom. These rules the author and the French refer to as the ‘cadre’. For example, at night/bed time children are not allowed to leave their room, they can do whatever they want in their room but they cannot leave their room. This apparently works well on the authors children as well. (A strategy I plan to implement in my own household)
Overall, this book doesn’t read like a “how to” of parenting it’s more like an interesting story full of fun facts!
I highly recommend not only to parent’s to be but really anyone who wants to know more about how the French raise their kids.
If you have read this book let me know your thoughts in the comments section below! AND if you have any other books that you would recommend to me please let me know as well!