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Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother…

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French… (2012)

by Pamela Druckerman

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6253915,533 (3.93)26

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English (37)  French (1)  German (1)  All (39)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Lots of sensible ideas about child raising, told in an entertaining way. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Interesting, but perhaps over-hyped French mothers rarely/prefer not to breastfeed their babies. GASP! Children as young as 4-5 go on week-long "camps" with their school, away from their parents. GASP! They even sometimes get chocolate for breakfast. Whaaaat?
Pamela Druckerman is a US-born author/former journalist who met and married a British man. Only problem was that he was living in Paris. So she moved to Paris. Eventually they had a daughter and later twin boys. These non-French parents had to figure out a system different from their own.
The author describes various aspects of child-rearing, parenting, and the like. It starts from how pregnant women behave and are viewed (ie what she was used to as "no-nos" such as wine and smoking are not considered to be death sentences or bad for the baby if the mother chooses to occasionally indulge) and discusses various things: day-care, schooling, getting babies to sleep through the night, discipline, the role of children in the house, what differs in a French child's upbringing vs. others (typically Druckerman uses her experiences in the US and her friends to compare).
Some of it was quite interesting to see how such things are compared and the differences between the two cultures. (For example, Druckerman cites the chocolate example above in the larger context of candy, eating and how food is viewed. She notes that more US children are considered obese, vs. French children. And this disparity only gets larger when older children/teenagers are compared). Having read French Kids Eat Everything I was already familiar with some of the differences North American (US in the case of Druckerman, Canadian for the Eat Everything book), so some of the info was a little repetitive. Druckerman's style can also be quite uneven: sometimes it's really fascinating, others I was quite bored with her going on and on about how difficult it was to find friendships with French mothers and often spoke to Anglophone or ex-pat parents from elsewhere.
Still, I had wanted to read this for quite a while and it was enjoyable. There are certainly some tips that parents might find handy or at least interesting to think about (but it is not a "how to" book). Francophiles might enjoy adding this to their libraries.
  ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
Picked this book to read even though my only child is already 22. ;)

When I read this I really thought she was on to something. Nowadays it feels like parents are slaves to their children. The children decide what they eat, what they buy, when they go to bed and if not they will have a temper tantrum.

Today I was on my bike and a mum passed by with a child of about 3 or 4 on the front of the bike, having a big tempter tantrum. Screaming hs lungs out. The bike was shaking and the mum looked embarrassed and only said in a sweet voice, now stop it. Of course the child did not listen. ;)

As i said before, I have a daughter of 22 and I am guilty of spoiling her. Soiling her because it made me feel good and not have a guilty conscience but I see now that best way to love a child is show them the boundaries.

I am going to tell my daughter to read this before she has babies.

Take a pause before you rush to your child for his or her every need. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Mar 12, 2016 |
I agree with some of these book advices. It is also a nice summer reading. Some of the advices though, didn't make sense for me as a mother. Each mother educates in a different way and must see what makes sense for her and what doesn't. ( )
  Leticia.Toraci | Feb 10, 2016 |
Great book. I recommend it to my daughter who just had her first child. ( )
  bridgetann | Jan 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Much of the so-called French child rearing wisdom compiled here is obvious. ... Ms. Druckerman is oddly unjournalistic here. "Bringing Up Bébé" is essentially a series of generalizations based on her American and French friends and her own experiences as a mother.
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Les petits poissons dans l'eau
Nagent aussi bien que les gros.
The little fish in the water
Swim as well as the big ones do.

-- French children's song
For Simon,
who makes everything matter
First words
When my daughter is eighteen months old, my husband and I decide to take her on a little summer holiday.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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 through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play. Motherhood itself is a whole different experience in France. There's no role model, as there is in America, for the harried new mom with no life of her own. French mothers 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. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids that Druckerman can only envy. Of course, French parenting wouldn't be worth talking about if it produced robotic, joyless children. In fact, French kids are just as boisterous, curious, and creative as Americans. They're just far better behaved and more in command of themselves. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are-by design-toddling around and discovering the world at their own pace. With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman-a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don't just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is. While finding her own firm "non", Druckerman discovers that children-including her own-are capable of feats she'd never imagined."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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