Bringing up Bébé

Bringing up Bébé

[one American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting]

Downloadable Audiobook - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Books on Tape, 2012
Edition: Library ed
ISBN: 9780449010891
Branch Call Number: Online Audio Book
Characteristics: 1 sound file (9 hr., 8 min., 8 sec.) :,digital
Additional Contributors: Craden, Abby
OverDrive, Inc


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Aug 03, 2018

Highly, highly recommend.

If only I could go back in time and give a copy to all my gfriends and extended family...all of whom I can’t call or have a conversation in person, due to a child acting up wanting attention from their mom.

ArapahoeAlicia Sep 07, 2017

As a Francophile and new parent, I found myself equal parts dreaming of a life abroad and reflecting on the common sense of french parenting that seems to be missing from some modern parenting approaches. A great read!

Jul 08, 2017

I loved this book and recommended it to many friends

JCLChrisK Apr 11, 2014

Ah, if only I'd read this last summer or fall, sometime before my five-month-old was born, because I'm quite drawn to many of the ideas. Some I'd already claimed as my own* before encountering the book, some were vague notions that have now been articulated and solidified for me, and some still feel rather surprising and foreign. I'm not one to unquestioningly adopt any model--parenting, leadership, eating, or what you will--without tweaking it and making it my own, but I believe considering and practicing these ideas will make me a more effective parent.
"Model" seems the best word I can think of to describe what Druckerman is presenting; it's an examination of parenting, but not presented as a formula or handbook as many others are--part memoir, part sociological comparison, part research, it's her investigation into the cultural framework from which French parents operate, as understood through her American lens. Druckerman found herself an accidental, reluctant expatriate by way of marriage (to an Englishman) in Paris in her mid-thirties, feeling like her three young children were wildly out of control, loud, and difficult compared to their peers. Her experience as a parent seemed drastically different--and much less successful--than the French parents she saw all around her. So she decided to make a study of them to see what practices she could imitate, and in doing so she learned she first had to come to understand an entirely different mindset for thinking about parents and children.
At the heart of that framework is the idea that children are fully aware, rational, capable humans from birth as deserving of respect and equal treatment as any adult, and that the role of parents is to help them grow into their autonomy through polite teaching within a frame of firm limits. Children are taught to manage themselves, respect the needs of parents, and integrate into adult society as quickly and seamlessly as possible. That sounds simple enough when summarized, but of course there is much more to it--and its differences from the predominant American approaches--than might be expected. Druckerman's explorations are revelatory, and her writing is engaging and entertaining. I expect anyone who works with or spends time around children--parent or not--would enjoy reading this simply for its insights, and many would find it more than a little helpful.

Sep 14, 2013

I can see the logic of some advice. Wish I listened to this cd before I had a kid. Will be implementing some suggestions.

Jul 23, 2012

Despite the criticism for this book, it gave some good information. Before getting offended by the thought that someone else might do some things better, read it and decide for yourself.

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