francophile friday: bringing up bébé

Have you heard of the new book by Pamela Druckerman? It is a memoir that encourages American mothers to emulate the laissez-faire style of French parenting to bring up well-behaved, independent children while they still maintain a sense of curiosity and creativeness.

I have not read the book and even I have, I am not mom so, I really couldn't critique it well. But I not really keen on extreme generalities that say an entire culture does something better than another. (Oh and, just so you know, some French women are fat.)

But I think reading and finding what works for you (and what doesn't), won't hurt. (French children did seem very well-behaved while I lived there.)

I will probably pick it up at sometime even if it isn't until I am a parent. But maybe I will check it out of the library sooner rather than later because I am a francophile.

Mom or not, what do you think?


  1. Personally I read every book I could get my hands on when I was pregnant AND after my babe was born...and most of it hasn't helped me at all! Each child is SO different, like you said it's so hard to have generalities. I will say I loved the Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy and Chardonnay Is Not for Sippy Cups. They didn't really offer advice, but just commiseration and made me feel like what I was going through was totally normal, even though most of the time I feel totally insane!

  2. I lived in France for 10 years growing up and I'm expecting my first in July. I really want to get a copy of this book! :D

  3. You might want to check out this piece from the Post this morning: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/when-french-parenting-mixes-with-threesomes-a-lesson-on-hiding-indiscretions-from-the-kids/2012/02/09/gIQAZUU62Q_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

  4. sorry Morgan, but this book really CHAPS MY ASS. since we just had a baby, we've been FLOODED with "helpful pointers" from friends who either read this book, or read the WSJ article that summarized it. i have 2 comments, and then i will end my rant.

    1) there is a very ANTI-BREASTFEEDING sentiment in france (and apparently all of Europe). read more about it HERE. it is widely known that formula-fed babies sleep through the night longer and sooner because formula is so rich and caloric. breast-fed babies NEED to wake up to nurse and nourish themselves, particularly during growth spurts. i find it ironic that a culture so obsessed with eating well would feed their children FORMULA. ***

    2) spanking is a very common form of discipline in France. just because children respond well to fear does not mean that it should be a part of GOOD PARENTING. the root word of 'discipline' is DISCIPLE, which as a noun means "pupil" and as verb means "to teach". as a seasoned teacher, i can tell you with certainty that fear and learning DO NOT MIX.

    this book is just another in a long line of 'how-to' parenting publications. it's a way to make a quick buck, not a resource for sound counsel.

    *** while formula is certainly not toxic or poisonous (most babies drink it without incident and flourish), there is absolutely no denying that BREAST IS BEST.

    1. i realize i sounded like a total C U Next Tuesday. Oops, i'm just a hormonal mama that wants what's best for her little baby.

  5. i'd check it out, just to see the theories

  6. I literally JUST saw the author of this book on the today show a couple days ago and it made me think of you

  7. I absolutely want to read this. I keep hearing about it around blogland, and it really resonates with the kind of mother I hope to be someday. Part of why I haven't been too excited about having kids is the mentality that a "good mom" drops everything after the baby is born. A "good mom" forgets about herself. I'm sorry, but that won't make me happy. I think being a "good mom" also means having a life of your own and not obsessing over your child.

    Anyway, I'm glad to see I'm not alone in my feelings. Even if people who think like me are across an ocean.

  8. I recently picked up the book after seeing it here, and though I'm not a mom, am enjoying it. I too lived in France for a stint, and found the children there (and in Europe in general) much better behaved than American children. Seeing frazzled mamas trying desperately to placate their screaming, mid-meltdown children makes me not want to have kids. But, in reading this book I'm hopeful that having children doesn't have to mean giving up on sleep, sanity, and embarrassment free public outings.

    And, so the author wrote an article about a threesome. While I personally find that distasteful, I don't think it discredits her observations and experiences as detailed in the book.

    Great post!


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