Today I am reviewing a book I just finished. Why do I love it? Because I appreciate a different perspective on parenting.
The book is called Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. Pamela is an American who wrote this book about raising a baby in Paris. She got the idea for writing the book when living in Paris she noticed how well behaved french babies/toddlers were. Sitting through five course meals, using their manners around the clock, etc. Pamela was inspired to find out the reason for these really great mannerisms.
I am going to give you a inside peek into what you can read about in the book. I’m commenting on what I took away from the book that was either valuable to me as a parent or interesting. That way you can decide whether or not there is something for you in this parenting book!
French children sleep through the night within weeks of being born. What? It’s true! Pamela describes how it’s all about “observing” the baby. Allowing the baby to learn to self soothe. She calls it the “Pause” She claims American researchers write about similar techniques as the French.
All French children are on the same eating schedule. Crazy. Morning. Noon. 4pm and 8pm.
Babies understand language. Start teaching them as newborns the ways of the world. They know what you are saying.
French mothers apply to daycares when they are pregnant. The daycares are subsidized by the state and it is the norm to send your child. Stay at home mothers are not commonly seen in France.
They don’t call it dieting but french woman, on average, lose the baby weight incredibly fast. They claim it’s all about “paying attention”.
A large part of the preschool curriculum (also known as daycares) is to teach proper french and good manners.
Insurance companies pay for reeducation of your perineal (strengthening those loose muscles with more than just Kegels) . They also have something called abdominal reeducation. The state even helps pay for some tummy tucks!!!!
There’s a entire chapter that talks about the importance of the relationship between the husband and the wife. I loved this chapter. I agree, in twenty years, Dave and I will be alone again when the girls have moved away. It’s important that we keep strengthening our relationship in the meantime…
The author talks about how she serves her kids their meals in courses. This is genius! She gives them fruit to eat while making their breakfast and they start with a vegetable before lunch and dinner. She says they eat more of their healthy foods this way. I am going to try this!
One of the last chapters was on discipline. Basically, the difference between authritative and authoritatian is described. She talks about the difficulties finding the balance between being the boss and also listening to a child and respecting him. In france, parents tell their children “it’s me who decides” “It’s about setting limits but also about observing your child, building complicity and then adapting to what the sitaution requires.”
Finally, there was a discussion about how children are taught to be independent at a very young age. That parents don’t overly praise their children for fear that they will start to do things only so that they can have the praise. Interesting.
I liked the book. It was well worth my time reading it. I am left with a few ideas on things to try in my own parenting and I am left confused about a few things. Check out the book, Bringing Up Bebe and find out more about the author, Pamela Druckerman here.
Photo: Dave and I in Paris in 2007