Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

Front Cover
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, 2012 - Family & Relationships - 284 pages
3 Reviews

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.

What people are saying - Write a review

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

User Review  - Julianne Smith - Book Verdict

Druckerman (Lust in Translation: Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee) gives readers a clever and insightful look at the differences in parenting styles between Americans and the French. When she, along ... Read full review

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

User Review  - Barbara Hoffert - Book Verdict

After moving to Paris and having a baby, former Wall Street Journal reporter Druckerman noticed that French women just weren't that uptight about child-rearing issues. Meanwhile, French children ... Read full review

All 3 reviews »

About the author (2012)

Pamela Druckerman is a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered foreign affairs. She has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Marie Claire, and appeared on The Today Show and NPR's Morning Edition. Her previous book, Lust in Translation, was translated into eight languages. She has a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia. She lives in Paris.

Bibliographic information