Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: Bringing Up Bebe

I do not have children. Let me preface this book review by repeating, I do not have children.

I actually know very few children. Tallman has a nephew who is 2, but in the past 18 months I've seen him a total of 10 days, so I'm not sure it counts. Moving on...

I really enjoyed Bringing Up Bebe. I borrowed it from another childless young woman (though she is a terrific aunt and spends much more time with wee folk than I do), and I am planning on buying myself a copy it is so fantastic.

The French parenting techniques mentioned in this book are both revolutionarily huge (treating a child, even an infant like a person that understands why and how and most importantly your rights and their rights) and so small it might seem insignificant except that its brilliant (The Pause- waiting (even just 30 seconds) to respond to a baby so they learn to self sooth).

There is a lot in this book that compares French and American habits and it really makes Americans look like morons at parenting. Why has America made parenting, something that people have been doing for 200,000 years, into such a fraught pastime whereas France has more working mothers with higher levels of satisfaction as parents, as women and as workers? Why has America made schools feeding children a cause of obesity whereas France has institutionalized good eating and made it work? 

The book makes a good case for raising your children differently than the American norm of les enfant terrible, and child kings. But it also makes a good case against American public policy when it comes to children, though I'm not sure that was the authors intention.

I recommend this book for anyone who ever considers having a child, or being near children. Though if you can figure out a way to gift this book to a current parent without it seeming bitchy or critical, please let me know!

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