I think I’m noticing a trend in recent parenting books: comparing parenting in America to parenting elsewhere. Bringing Up Bébé definitely fits this trend; another one that comes to mind is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
The author of Bringing Up Bébé, Pamela Druckerman, is an American journalist who lives in Paris. After having her first child (she calls her “Bean” in the book), she noticed that French children seemed remarkably well-behaved compared to Bean and to her American friends’ children. So she set out to discover how French parents are getting their children to sleep through the night, eat all kinds of food, and not throw temper tantrums in public.
The answers to those questions are fascinating. According to Bringing Up Bébé, French parents have a different attitude toward parenting than American “helicopter parents” do. I’m a parent, and I happily picked up a few pointers from these French parents. Druckerman did a lot of research for this book, including talking to the French mothers around her, reading French parenting manuals and looking at scientific studies related to parenting. I think that this small trend in multicultural parenting styles is a sign of parents looking for answers that we haven’t been able to find here. And I think that’s a good thing.
Rated: Mild. No foul language, but there is a brief discussion about sex, including some anatomical terms. This is a book about having children, after all.