Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review - Bringing up bebe By Pamela Druckerman

Because of my love of all things French, I was very eager to for this book to come out. Having visited Paris before, I have witnesses French parenting in action on a number of occasions. What I have seen is similar to what this author describes- well behaved children who sit politely at adult restaurants without causing a fuss. 
Druckerman lived in Paris with her three young children and throughout the book outlines the many differences between French and American parenting that she witnessed, and why the French method seems so superior.
Some of the differences that struck me were- how most French women go straight to formula (no breastfeeding), how babies are expected to sleep through the night by 2-3 months, general eating habits and simply how differently children are treated in France. She claims that French parents are less stressed out, and try not to let their lives completely revolve around their children all the time, which in turn creates more independent children and less stressed out parents. They try not to over complicate their children lives either, mainly by not enrolling them in too many after school activities. The French preschool system is also something we in North America should be envious of- free quality daycare with highly educated caregivers and fresh gourmet meals. 
 I think we can learn a lot from the French mommies. The only issue I had is how the author seems to think that French parents are simply the best all around and that ALL American parents are crazy helicopter parents that stress out over everything. Obviously there are good and bad parents everywhere and Druckerman has very little scientific proof of one method being superior in the long run, just her own observations.
Overall I thought this book was well written and very informative, the author makes many great points. There are many parenting techniques outlined throughout the book that I think would be worth a try, especially the ones on children's eating and sleeping habits.  Now if only the author could revel the secret we all really want to know - how do the French lose all that baby weight so quickly? I think a sequel specifically on this topic would definitely be a best seller! 

Next on the list is another book outlining how (north) Americans are doing it wrong- 'Battle Hym of the Mother Tiger'  By Amy Chua. And 'All Joy and No Fun: the paradox of modern parenthood'  By Jennifer Senior. Stay tuned for those reviews! 

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