Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Reviewing Bringing Up Bebe
To satisfy my strange curiosity for reading parenting books about stupid things parents are doing with their children these days I decided to check out the "controversial" book Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.
As it turns out "controversial" pertains to certain aspects of parenting that the French have refused to compromise on like babies learning to sleep at night, children respecting their parents, and eating food at mealtimes. I doubt this is as controversial to those of you reading my silly blog as to American society at large. The French as described by Pamela Druckerman seem to come by this parenting wisdom naturally, if not effortlessly. It seemed refreshing to hear of a society where these basics of baby-rearing still seem so commonplace and natural, not contended and confused.
In amongst the telling of French secrets of sleeping, discipline and feeding small people, was the description of France's socialized day care program which includes drool worthy French food each day for the little tots. The food was described in such an amazing way I wanted to go to that day care! And although simply the idea day care makes me cringe, last week I think I would have enrolled all my littles if offered by these chic chic child care centres! The day care aspect was the main difference of opinion I had with the French style of parenting, as apparently a stay at home mom is practically non-existent. But most of the general areas Druckerman touched upon I agreed with in theory, if not try to implement to some degree myself, which was kind of surprising to me.
While I was reading this book the general theme that came to my mind the most however, was how strongly the "French" parenting culture seems to permeate French society. There seems to be little debate in France, there are base principles for child rearing and they are simply inherent and expected. It seems to stand in strong contrast to our general lack of any agreed upon parental culture here in Canada, and North America at large. We've lost out way in the basics of parenting principles by becoming so polarized and far from common sense in all our spoiling, catering, and chauffeuring of our children. At the very least we can take some relief in knowing that some Europeans still hold onto a basic expectation of decorum and behaviour in their children, and that those of us trying to raise our kidlets along the lines of common sense aren't entirely alone.