Monday, March 12, 2012

Book 13 - Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

This is a parenting memoir (a la Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) but, instead of intense, hand on parenting that borders on abuse, this is more of a laissez-faire style that the author would have her readers believe is actually pretty deceptive. In this memoir, Druckerman, who has moved to France, gotten married to a British sports journalist and has had children, documents her attempts to become a perfectly French mother. Her theory, which may actually contain some sentiment of truth, is that French parents are not actually obsessed with their children the way most British and American parents are. They don't spend weekends acting as the mom taxi and they definitely don't negotiate tantrums - instead, they have firm boundaries that allow for their children to be creative so long as they don't go outside of those boundaries. The French seem to base their parenting theories on a few, dare I say, common sense ideas: 1. That children and babies are really rational and miniature adults that can understand everything that we say as long as we explain things to them; 2. That children adapt to adult routines because it's important that they learn that they aren't alone in the world and that there is a time and place for everything.

What I found to be the most fascinating about this work was the research that Druckerman did in writing this book and how she incorporated it into it. I loved her interviews with the other parents that she came across in France - both the expatriates that she interviewed and the French parents that she owned. I also really enjoyed how she managed to incorporate the scientific and psychological research into her memoir as well. However, I didn't feel that anything that the French do is particularly unique to them - in fact, a lot of the stuff that was done was pretty common sensical so I'm not quite sure why this was particularly fascinating to Druckerman.

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