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.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read! Another to add to my list :)

  2. Í'm reading this book too right now, checked out from the BB library! Interesting for sure, though I keep wondering about how much of this parenting culture will endure when the French birth rate continues to remain so low (at least for natives). Lots of plain old common sense in there for sure, though!

  3. Most definitely Erin! Within one, maybe two generations, any "parenting" culture will be tough to find, other than within Muslim communities? Its interesting that the supposed claims of daycare is to support the family, but even in France with such a socialized daycare system it seems as if having more than two children just doesn't happen, and with women working the family doesn't seem to spend much time together. This book obviously displays the French as holding solutions to many American parenting problems, but they are modern answers to modern problems.

  4. Bravo! Encore! As I have desperately tried for the last 2.5 years to implement full-blown attachment parenting, I realize that in a lot of ways I'm basically initiating a martyr complex in myself. Blah blah blah studies and my kids will hate me and will be damaged horrifically forever, anyway, I have to be sane and to not be depressed four out of five days would be nice, so we are shifting to a more "common sense" as you say, approach to parenting. Cause this momma has to function and thrive :) and sleep is good, for everyone.


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