Feb. 10, 2012

Tips on Raising a French Baby

French women may be more stylish and slim than us Canadians, but do they also raise better behaved children? Pamela Druckerman is an American expat living in Paris who recently published Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (which was also published in the UK under the title, French Children Don’t Throw Food: Parenting Secrets From Paris). Her observations pull out some of the ways French moms remain calm and poised, while toting around well-behaved children and maintaining an intimate relationship with their spouses. Her findings (which are genius by the way!)?
  • French moms teach their kids to say bonjour. It seems so simple, but encouraging children to greet friends and strangers makes them less self-absorbed and more aware of their place as social beings in a community.
  • French moms don't look for kids' menus. If you don't want your child to eat only pizza and chicken fingers, open them up to a wide variety of foods early on. All restaurants are child-friendly if your child is taught to appreciate and explore food like an adult, which begins by leaving 'family restaurants' and taking your little ones to 'adult restaurants' from an early age.
  • French moms allow their children to be independent. They pause before rushing in to the nursery at night when their baby cries, so as to see whether the baby can learn to transition from one sleep cycle to the next on their own.
  • French moms trust their children to cuss. Children are taught one swear word -- caca boudin (meaning poo sausage) -- and are trusted to use it appropriately. This teaches discretion from a young age and prevents young children from using adult swear words.
  • French women emerge from pregnancy as women, not just moms. Becoming a mom seems all-encompassing in Canada, but in France women remain women, which allows an individual identity apart from the role of mother to be maintained.
  • French parents think date night is a bizarre idea. Every evening is a time for adults in a French home.
I can't wait to pick up a copy of the book! Images of Jane Birken via Domestic Reflections.


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  2. definitely on my reading list - find these concepts super interesting! but also wonder if they are over-generalized stereotypes...

    1. Liz, I'm in agreement that these might very well be over-generalized stereotypes, but there's something that appeals to me about packaging little ways to streamline life together and wrapping it in a stylish self-help-esque bow :)