Bringing up Bébé, by Pamela Druckerman

Want to teach your little fish how to swim like a big fish, just like the French nursery rhyme? Well, ‘Bringing up Bébé’ can help.

By Tamsin Oxford

As an American mom-to-be living in France, Pamela Druckerman noticed that French children were remarkably well behaved. They slept through the night within two months, they ate all the food on their plates, and they didn’t throw food or otherwise misbehave in restaurants.

What, she wondered, was the secret? It was this thought that inspired this funny and beautifully written guide to becoming a parent, using the clever tricks French parents have employed for generations.

The book serves as a story, a parable, a guide. You discover the idea of La Pause – the author’s name for that beat in time that French parents wait before attending to a child’s cries.

They don’t leap up when a baby yells. They give them a moment to overcome their frustration and self-soothe. As you page through this book, you realise that the gift it gives you is belief in your child.

The belief that this baby, toddler, and child is capable of learning and overcoming frustration on their own. That childhood is something to be savoured and nurtured, within boundaries.

Kids aren’t mollycoddled and pandered to. Parents see their children as perfectly capable of making friends, exploring life, and planning their own futures. As most parents know, it’s easy to fall into the trap of babying your baby.

Perhaps most wonderfully, the author argues that couples come first. Mom is a woman first, not a baby- or child-management team. Relationships are a priority because they create healthier homes. If mom is happy, so are the kids.

While this is not a book for every mom, it’s worth reading if you want to discover another way of raising your kids. It’s an entertaining read that will inform and inspire you.

  • This article first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes. The opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BrightRock.

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