Monday, November 11, 2013

Bringing Up Bebe

I grabbed this book randomly at the library a month ago, I had never heard of it before but it looked interesting. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman is filled with fascinating observations and research about the differences between French and American parenting styles. She was raised in the United States and moved to Paris after marrying an Englishman. When they start their family they couldn't help but notice that the behavior of their daughter was quite different from the French children around them. Which led her to look into the way she was parenting.

Druckerman shares a lot of information on studies that have been done, interviews with well known pediatricians and other medical professionals, and her own personal experiences.

I found it really interesting that French babies learn to sleep through the night by three months old, often times much earlier. They learn to eat four times a day - three meals and one snack before they are a year old; they also eat four course meals and are able to sit through dinner at restaurants without making a fuss. They rarely interrupt their parents and they seem to live freely within the boundaries the parents set up (and the parents are consistent)

She also writes that French women to maintain their sexual femininity post-childbirth, keep their marriages thriving and go back to work. They seem more detached from their children than American parents. Basically, having children doesn't change the way they live. Most of this seems possible because France provides subsidized childcare for most families (there is an application process). Even if women don't work outside the home, their children still spend at least part of the day at day care.

It was inspiring to read that things don't have to be so chaotic with children. After reading the book, I wished I could implement what the author shared, but I have to admit, a few weeks later and I've already forgotten most of the details. It was an interesting read, perhaps I'll look into this French way of parenting more later.

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