Parenting Book Review — Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

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Is your child a fussy eater? Do you find it difficult to say “no” to your child? Are squabbling siblings a problem in your family?

You’ll find advice on these and many other parenting issues in Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting, published in the USA by The Penguin Press in 2013.

The book is written by Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist living in Paris, France, with her British husband and three children.

It is based on the author’s own experience of bringing up children in Paris and contains parenting tips from her previous book, published as Bringing Up Bébé in the USA and as French Children Don’t Throw Food in the UK.

Ms Druckerman’s observations on how the French style of parenting differs from those in the USA and the UK have caused some controversy because of their apparent criticism of American and British parenting styles.

However, as the author states in her introduction to this book, the most striking discovery for her as an American was that “if family life is centered entirely on the children, it’s not good for anyone, not even for the kids.”

She therefore questions whether the child-centered style of parenting often found in the USA and the UK is best for children and their parents.

She describes an alternative style of parenting based on her own observations of French parents and children. She admits that this style of parenting may not be appropriate for everyone because each child is different.

The chapter on encouraging a baby to sleep through the night by the age of three or four months is particularly interesting.

French parents believe that babies can learn to go from one sleep cycle to another without any fuss. They need to be given the opportunity to learn this skill without too much interference from their parents.

This means that a parent should pause for five minutes or so before picking up a crying baby. This will allow the parent to see if the baby is able to settle down and go into their next sleep cycle without any intervention.

In general, French children eat their meals at the same times as their parents and they eat the same foods as their parents without any fuss.

This seems like a dream come true for many American and British parents!

The book describes how French parents make this a reality. It includes several recipes for nutritious dishes that are eaten by young children in crèches in Paris.

Be a Partner, Parent and Person in Your Own Right
The sections on motherhood and adult relationships emphasize the importance of trying to strike a balance between looking after your children, being a person in your own right, and nurturing your relationship with your partner.

Most women don’t find it easy to strike this balance which is essential for your own physical, mental and emotional health, in addition to the well-being of your family.

Even if you have only five minutes to spare in your busy life as a parent, you can read one or two parenting tips from Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting.

It contains 100 bite-sized tips arranged in 10 different categories, all the way from pregnancy to authority.

Whether you read this book all the way through or dip into the sections or tips that interest you the most, it should give you a different perspective on parenting.

You may not agree with all the tips and you may prefer to do some things in a different way.

However, in some areas, you’ll find that the advice makes sense and encourages you to try a fresh, new approach to a parenting challenge you’ve been facing.

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