Hello there– I’d been wanting to read this book ever since I logged onto the Wall Street Journal site and poured over the interview/video with the author, Pamela Druckerman, an American mother living and raising her children in Paris.
Basically Druckerman, gives us an intriguing look at the differences between French and American parenting philosophies. She’s not an overboard France fanatic, admitting that at times she doesn’t even like living there that much. But over time she observes, through many conversations with French parents and a good deal of research with French parenting experts, some areas where American parents could learn from the French. She talks about training 3 or 4 month old babies to “do their nights,” sleep through til morning, about the consistent meal schedule most all children follow– 3 meals and afternoon snack starting as babies– no begging for sweets between meals. She addresses differences in pregnancy (women gain less weight & lose it faster), marriage with children (evenings afford some “adult time”) and training children to wait (using “the pause”) and respect for the parents authority (using a basic “cadre” or framework).
Druckerman’s writing is friendly and approachable. She can laugh at herself. It’s full of anecdotes, backed by research. This is not a parent “how to” book, but part informed observations and part expatriate memoir.
There is also a second version of this book, reduced down to Druckerman’s 100 keys to French parenting, kind of go-to reference guide. It’s good for those who want to read through her ideas in an hour or two. But I enjoyed the first, fuller version more.