It neglects or totally ignores the characteristic that is immediately apparent to every foreigner who has contact with French schools : the dictatorship of the classroom. A culture that is unforgiving, demeaning and sometimes humiliating. A culture that has made a cult out of high-pressure evaluation and yet gives only short shrift to the notion of individual motivation.
A culture of excellence, certainly, but one which pushes down the weakest students rather than giving itself the mission of lifting them up. A culture of worthlessness, in short, that is the diametric opposite of the grandiose promises of the republic. French Vertigo English version French version. You hear these words all the time in France. You used to hear them a lot in other European countries, too, but in places like England and Germany, the old humiliating approach to education has long since been replaced by a more nurturing, positive one that seeks to encourage rather than to put down.
Why does France persist with this culture of negativity? Either the author has a very small and odd set of friends which are coloring her perspective or she wrote this as an amusing work of fiction. The author supposedly quotes the well known book What to Expect as evidence of how neurotic American parenting books are except I read that book and did not recognize any of the ridiculous quotes. Maybe she has a copy from the 50s.
Addition: I think I blocked this from my memory because it was so ridiculous, but a recent conversation reminded me of it.
Druckerman suggests that American parents are horrified by the idea of daycare and would do anything to avoid it, including quit their jobs. Those who use it do so reluctantly with fears their children will be molested or suffer permanent damage. She says in France, they are superior because they think of daycare as a way for kids to learn things and be socialized, unlike in the US. This is completely insane. Every single one of my friends with kids except one has their kids in daycare and they have all cited socialization as a main reason why they decided to send their kids to daycare.
My one friend with a nanny even expressed doubt about her choice because she feared her kid wouldn't be socialized. There's a lot to filter out in this book - specifically, the author's lack of objectivity, considering that she appears to live in a manner to which most people do not have the financial means to aspire - but the core ideas she's captured from her experiences in Paris are very useful for parents struggling to raise their children with discipline and manners without resorting to shouting. I was looking for some tools to communicate with and educate my son, as at 3 and a half, he's becoming increa There's a lot to filter out in this book - specifically, the author's lack of objectivity, considering that she appears to live in a manner to which most people do not have the financial means to aspire - but the core ideas she's captured from her experiences in Paris are very useful for parents struggling to raise their children with discipline and manners without resorting to shouting.
I was looking for some tools to communicate with and educate my son, as at 3 and a half, he's becoming increasingly wilful and reluctant to listen. I knew I was getting locked into cycles of behaviour that were frustrating us both, but the core ideas in this book - coupling respect for your child's freedom to experiment and learn, with absolute authority on key issues - are already helping. Kindle Format: near-perfect, although the default font size was smaller than I'm used to. Mar 14, Amanda rated it it was amazing. This will be one of the only - if not THE only - parenting style books I read.
Respect for children as intelligent beings capable of learning - and NOT in need of constant hand holding to do so. Respecting the fact that parents have lives This will be one of the only - if not THE only - parenting style books I read. No hovering, over analyzing, emphasis on "parenting style", constant praise, paranoia like American parents today do. Their parents respect them enough to allow them to do so, and in return, they respect their parents' needs separate from them, too. Feb 10, Jessica rated it liked it. I've always had a soft spot for the French well, except for that kid, Pierre, who took one of my classes and affirmed every single bad stereotype of Parisians I'd ever heard, and then some.
I especially love to read about how Americans perceive French life; I suppose this is an example of me living vicariously through my book choices. Bringing Up Bebe has been popping up on my various radar screens for weeks, and I've been at my wit's end with my newly minted three year old lately, so I've always had a soft spot for the French well, except for that kid, Pierre, who took one of my classes and affirmed every single bad stereotype of Parisians I'd ever heard, and then some.
Bringing Up Bebe has been popping up on my various radar screens for weeks, and I've been at my wit's end with my newly minted three year old lately, so when the opportunity to read a book for pleasure this afternoon presented itself, I decided, why not?
Kids Don't Come With a Manual and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. The Working Parents' Guide: To Raising Happy and Confident Children. Start reading Kids Don't Come With a Manual on your Kindle in under a minute. Editorial Reviews. Review. A wonderful piece of work. It reads well, it is easy to digest, and it Similar books to Kids Don't Come With a Manual: The Essential Guide to a Happy Family Life.
My big complaint with this book is that Pamela Druckerman creates a vision of American parenting that is absolutely abominable. Okay, sure - you, Pam, went off the deep end when you were pregnant and took all of those insane pregnancy and parenting guides seriously. You have an ongoing aversion to asserting yourself with your own children. There are plenty of American moms just like you, who can't bear to tell precious Ella "no" and who pretend that children are incapable of rational thought. But let's call a spade a spade here and admit that your problems are your problems!
Just because you know someone in America who won't go to a restaurant or use a babysitter because little Johnny "won't let them," doesn't mean that we're all insane! That makes sense to me, but if this interview of which many apparently speak portrays the author as smug, elitist, and somewhat pedestrian, well, you probably won't be able to stomach the actual book, either, because after I read it, I can tell you that I aspire never to meet Ms.
Druckerman for coffee, in Paris or Park Slope. She seems like a truly neurotic and stereotypical American mother, and it makes me cringe a little to know that she's out there in Europe, representing the rest of us American moms without our knowledge or consent! All my irritation aside, however, I highly recommend this book. It comes the closest to my own ideal parenting style except for the approach to eating - definitely need to work on that that I've seen in print, and I'll be happy to pass it on to any new moms I meet in the months and years to come!
Enjoy your children - and your marriage. Parent like the French!! View all 4 comments. I loved this book and most of the advice. I do think think that 'the pause' is enacted way too early and, although I agree with a feeding schedule, four times a day isn't enough for an infant in my opinion. I love how the French teach their children the importance of Bonjour, Merci, Au Revior, as well as how they introduce them to food and get them involved in the kitchen. Some of the reviewers lambasted the author for depicting the parenting styles of upper-class Parisians as 'out of touch' wit I loved this book and most of the advice.
Some of the reviewers lambasted the author for depicting the parenting styles of upper-class Parisians as 'out of touch' with how the French really raise their children but so what? If that's what she's depicted then it should be considered as a peek into the lives of upper-class Parisians. It doesn't make the information presented any less interesting or valuable. At any rate, I couldn't put this book down, and I have lots of take aways that I'll use in the future.
View all 5 comments. Mar 20, Kim G rated it it was ok Shelves: This book is a lot of memoir, and it's a lot of fantastically obnoxious memoir. And if you're not loaded, with a few fancy degrees, a thin frame obsess much, Druckerman? I like a good anecdote as much as the next person, but this isn't a good anecdote. I think this book is intriguing to a lot of people because they all want to find the magical secret that will make their kids stop throwing their food on the floor, and maybe eat a vegetable now and again. The answer is exactly what you knew it to be all along, diligent and patient effort.
No magic bullet here, folks, because if I had found it I may have put it through my brain about halfway through this book. May 02, Kimberly rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction. But once I got past the crazy, indulgent American parent v. Obviously I disagree with the premise that the French are better parents. Sorry, a 2-month-old sleeping through the night is not uniquely French.
Neither is an obedient, well-mannered child. The author's view of parents in Paris, as well as her research of numerous French parenting ideas, is extensive. Had she applied her journal Infuriating. Had she applied her journalistic skills to discovering what we American parents are doing across the Atlantic, instead of relying on what she sees wealthy parents doing in a park in New York City, or even worse, what she read in What to Expect When You're Expecting, she would have understood more of her American subject matter.
We don't snatch up our infants at every tiny noise they make. We don't allow our four-year-olds to crawl under the table and bite our hostess during dinner. And I've never seen a parent slide down the slide with a child. Putting your newborn in high-quality, government day care and then proceeding on with your regular life while taking over in the evenings and weekends raises a question--just who is raising this adorable child?
And I can't pay much attention to this fabulous parenting advice when I'm watching your little French 4-year-old darling with a pacifier in her mouth!? I was eager for an explanation after seeing this numerous times in France and Belgium, but that problem was only mentioned in the glossary but never discussed. My experience with francophone children is that they can be as equally obnoxious and demanding as their anglophone counterparts, and the parents can be similarly anxious and exhausted.
My favorite quotes heard frequently from French parents: "Arrete! Shut your mouth! Your head doesn't work! I was disappointed that the author claimed that French parents only calmly said, "Wait" to their children. I'm sure this book is a wild success in France, but I had to laugh at this book's praise on the back cover by the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and the author of French Women Don't Get Fat. And no quotes from American experts? A fascinating read, but the parenting advice is nothing new, and definitely not uniquely French, except for those preschoolers' pacifiers.
Shelves: never-finished. So I came to it with curiosity and hope for insightful perspectives. Instead, I could barely get through the intro and first chapter. Unlike many people, I did not like this book. It's very catchy, sexy, but she makes sweeping generalizations, and her writing is anecdotal in a not-helpful way and not data-driven. For example, she makes the broad statement that French children sleep through the night at age months whereas American children don't even at age 1.
Where is the data? Is this a fact, or is based on the people she randomly talked with, which is also subject to measurement error? Perhaps she has nationally representative data later on in the book, but if she does, then her writing is not rigorous enough to credit the data results when she relies on it in the intro. I could not get past the soundbite nature of her writing. First, she didn't even transition to explaining the role of this section of writing. Anyway, she came off as a self-absorbed writer who liked to hear herself talk. Several people mentioned that this book was helpful in seeing that French mothers don't feel guilty about numerous aspects of their parenting the way American mothers do.
My spouse pointed out that it's books like these that contribute to mother guilt here in America, books that say you're doing it wrong, do it this way. I thought that was an interesting observation. So this book was not for me. I strongly disliked her style of writing, and I prefer parenting books by trained professionals on the topic and based on high quality academic research.
View all 8 comments. Nov 04, Suzanne rated it it was amazing Shelves: Let me start by saying that I could write a doctoral thesis on this book. You know, if I were a lot smarter and still in school and hadn't had to look up how to spell "thesis". Let's also start from a premise in which I have no children. The four small people wandering around my home are a tribe of nomads and they are just passing through so I have no dog in this fight regarding the best way to raise children. Because I don't have four of them so my self worth isn't riding on the outcome of this Let me start by saying that I could write a doctoral thesis on this book.
Because I don't have four of them so my self worth isn't riding on the outcome of this debate. If it is safe to assume that an American journalist married to a European journalist and living in Paris while writing her book on comparative cultural attitudes toward marital infidelity would lean to the left of the political center then you would not be surprised to find her writing a book that celebrates the parenting styles of the the French while eschewing those of Americans.
So, what is surprising is the part where Druckerman takes to task the more "liberal" aspects of American attitudes toward child rearing and promotes what appears to be a more conservative paradigm. What is also surprising is that for a book whose title and cover give the appearance of being a light hearted frolic through the streets of Paris this is actually a thoroughly researched book that covers a range of parenting topics from basic nutrition to Rousseau to "poop sausage". Which, frankly, is a progression that makes perfect sense to me. I loved this book in spite of its many criticisms of what was my personal devotion to the Dr.
Sears School of Attachment Parenting and in spite of its celebration of the working mother, a lifestyle of which I know nothing and a topic which I find to be complicated and uncomfortable to discuss. There is no mention of homeschooling. I think I was so open to it not because I'm typically open to criticism but because Druckerman has a rare ability to criticize a thing without belittling it. This is not to say that she doesn't take sides or see superiority in one thing over another.
She doesn't appear reasonable by remaining neutral. She just takes the ego and emotion out of her argument. It really is that simple if not that easy. I also appreciated that she made clear that when she talked of American and French methods of parenting she was referring to IDEALS and not always to the practical application of said ideals.
Even though I was an attachment parenting groupie when I had infants, I quickly dismissed the Sears approach to toddlers and older children. Without knowing it, I had adopted a French way of parenting with a heavy dose of German Luftwaffe commander. I agree that children require and desire clearly demarcated and enforced boundaries. I don't think kids should hit their parents this is apparently not a hanging offense in the Druckerman home and I do insist that "I get to decide" on the rules for my home.
I do not believe in praising mediocre work of any kind and rarely gush over anything my children do. I don't think children have fragile egos that can be crushed that easily and am more concerned that false praise is no more than erecting a rickety scaffolding around their sense of self-worth.
In that way and in many others, I agree with the French ideal of parenting. But there are contradictions. While much is made of the French obsession with eating and serving the best quality and freshest food, they appear to see no issues with giving their infants one of the most processed foods known to man: infant formula. Over the years, I've softened my position on the need to breast feed but I don't think it serves the debate well to pretend that infant formula is a "whole food".
The contradiction is not resolved because it really can't be. The criticism of American nuttiness when it comes to overachievement and obsessive micro-parenting is important.
So few books feature girls who are smart and resourceful. Each book in the series tackles another chapter in the life of Septimus Heap, his family, and his friends. See the snow. Would I be giving up everything I love and am to create a tiny human who would in turn make me miserable? And, if you decided to have a life away from your children you were selfish, you weren't living your life with your children as the center of your universe.
Does it seem funny that a home school mom would be critical of "helicopter parents"? It might. But maybe not if you watched our day. My children tend to work independently. I give the lesson and walk away. I don't hover. I don't follow them at the park narrating their play.
In fact, if they come over to my bench my reaction tends to be, depending upon my mood, mildly dismissive to openly hostile. Park time is for them to go play away from me and for me to sit and read without interruption. I agree with those in the book who think parents spend too much time organizing and interfering in their children's minute to minute existence while somehow remaining tremendously aloof from what their children are being taught in school. And there are other contradictions and criticisms.
You'll have to find them for yourself. You won't be sorry. It is truly as funny and engaging as it is thought provoking and you don't have to come out on one side or the other. Although this was an enjoyable read and was easy to follow I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with smug French women who rear these "perfect children" who sleep through the night, eat all vegetables and never whinge. As I read on I realised that maybe their kids do do all these things but at what price? French women don't like to breastfeed, go back to work very quickly and expect the creche and nursery to bring up their children.
I found myself feeling very sorry for French c Although this was an enjoyable read and was easy to follow I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with smug French women who rear these "perfect children" who sleep through the night, eat all vegetables and never whinge. I found myself feeling very sorry for French chilren who seem to be starved of affection because the "cadre" says so.
French women came across as being selfish, self-absorbed and narcissistic. The way they look and getting their bodies back if they even lost them in the first place seemed more important that caring for the babies that they gave life to. It was almost like they had given up nine months nuturing their babies in the womb and that was all they were prepared to give.
Once they were out it was all about the mum's getting their "me time" back, going on holidays with their husbands without their children and instilling a modern day "Children should be seen and not heard" ethos. Having said that I am not sure that the Anglo version of parenting can be described as perfect.
We certainly seem to bring up spoilt, over stimulated and bad mannered children.
I think if we could combine the best bits of both cultures we might have cracked it. I was surprised at how much I disliked this book. I couldn't read very much without putting it down in disgust. It just made me so mad. I don't think one journalist talking to a bunch of friends and neighbors can constitute a new parenting style or even be included as a parenting book. I especially disliked the section on sleeping babies. To someone who has tried "la stinkin' Pause" for I was surprised at how much I disliked this book.
To someone who has tried "la stinkin' Pause" for many a baby, and many a night, my babies never figured it out like her precious "Bean" did in 9 minutes. The only take away that I have from this book is that only because we are parents doesn't mean that our lives have to be centered around our kids every second of every day. I already knew that. She says that French mothers are consistently "happier" than American parents. I could be cheery with my kids all the time too if they spent all day 5 days a week in day care.
I could be perfectly patient and gorgeous for the remaining two hours of the day that they were awake. I love staying at home with the kiddos and my kids don't have to be in daycare to be socialized. View 1 comment. Let me first say, that I am not a parent. Nor do I intend to become a parent in the near future. I would like to have children within the next four or five years, but am in no rush within that time frame. So I know how odd it might seem for a non-parent to read a parenting book.
The reason I decided to read this book is based, in large part, on my own fear of parenthood. In a recent discussion with my mother she was horrified to learn that I had lived most of my life with a fear of having childre Let me first say, that I am not a parent. In a recent discussion with my mother she was horrified to learn that I had lived most of my life with a fear of having children. I had heard over and over that having a child meant the end of your life as you know it and of course, to a degree that is true.
This fear even carried over when one of my best friends announced she was pregnant. I had heard for years that having children meant you stopped being you , and started being a mother. You stopped having friends, because you didn't have time to do or be anything other than a mother. You lost the intimacy with your partner. You ceased to be an individual and became an ideal. And, if you decided to have a life away from your children you were selfish, you weren't living your life with your children as the center of your universe.
Wave goodbye to sleep, you won't do it for a few years.
Tantrums at any given time? Perfectly normal, no matter how embarrassing. These ideas were supported by media which describe mothers who are tired, haggard, in ill-fitting and unattractive clothes and rats-nest hair, who deny their husbands intimacy, are unable to enjoy a meal with friends, and can't even shower or use the restroom uninterrupted.
This is a terrifying, dreary picture for a young girl though excellent birth control. And one my mother swears she never meant to paint. But nonetheless, as a woman now becoming interested in having a family, shaking off this picture of the American mother was hard. Would I be giving up everything I love and am to create a tiny human who would in turn make me miserable? Bookstart gifts free books to all children at two key ages before school to help families read together every day and inspire children to develop a love of books and reading.
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