"Bringing Up Bebe" by Pamela Druckerman- a gimmicky book not worth the hype- anyone? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Who is more innovative in the way they bring up their children- the French or the American mothers?
the French 1 100.00%
the American 0 0%
Voters: 1. You may not vote on this poll

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 19 Old 02-17-2012, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
terraka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 73
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Ok, so I just finished Pamela Druckerman's recent book on how the French do it (raise their kids).

I just "love" how an American journalist moves to Paris on a whim and proceeds to take full advantage of the state-run Parisian offerings while discovering that her ex-country-women are not so lucky.

Not so lucky indeed- this book will rub it in your nose every chapter in ever so subtly obvious ways.

The writer seems to desperately want to teach us a lesson, but ends up sounding like one more didactic mother who thinks she's found the best way and wants to give back by teaching us, the unenlightened American poor lost mothers who breast-feed till they drop and birth without epidurals.

Mrs. Druckerman quickly forgets that she came from this very country which instilled the freedom and individual prowess that gave her the spunk to move to another country in the first place. She also compares the USA and France as if you can compare a full stand with all kinds of fruit and vegetables to a sack of potatoes (and crème fraîche).

I know why the book caught on- like everything old written in a new way, it is catchy and addictive.

But it does not do American mothers any service. If anything, it belittles so much of what they have struggled to attain. It also forgets that so many mothers here come from countries that have a system very similar to the French one. 

But America is what it is exactly because people here, including mothers, have the freedom to experiment. It is a melting pot out of which fresh ideas sprout. And the government reflects that. Mrs. Druckerman compares the day care here and there as if there can be any comparison between the governments of the two countries and the lack or presence of state money. Mrs. Druckerman would do well to remember that her former home, unlike her current, is comprised not of one, but of many states, not of one, but of many people, and not of one, but of many ways. That is the American way.

I was brought up in a European country and I went to a state-run day-care and a state-run kindergarten. Yes, they were free, and yes, they were for the middle class.

But I gave up living close to my family and moved here and struggled to become American because at the end, this country is the land of the wonderful energized experimentation that Europe lacks. From New York City (where I live) to the vast plains of the Midwest to the Mississippi delta to the mountains of the West to the beaches of California to the rainforest of Oregon, this country offers ways yet to be discovered- by anyone who would dare that is.

To answer herself the question "Why do I have state-run creches that let me drop off the kids without paying much and go have my cafe-au-lait while I write my book?" and as a former journalist who wrote about politics, Mrs. Druckerman should look up what the US government spent on foreign aid and on the War On Terror last year. She will be shocked to see that as more than $ 119 bil, it is well over what France did, or could, or would if it could. She would also need to compare what she pays in taxes to what the French do. As probably most of her income comes from her English-reading audience (she does not write in French or for the French) in the USA, she should probably go and thank the French for paying the high taxes that run her local creche where her 3 kids went. Perhaps she should even contribute a little (to those taxes) instead of glorifying, selfishly, how wonderful it is to be on the receiving end.

Bon chance Madame Druckerman!

 

 

 


 waterbirth.jpg bf.jpg DD 5/19/2011 dust.gifcd.gif delayedvax.gif familybed1.gifgoorganic.jpg

terraka is offline  
#2 of 19 Old 04-02-2012, 10:10 AM
 
allisonrose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NoVa
Posts: 2,001
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Thanks for the review. My father bought me this book because he heard a story on NPR about it/the author and he felt I would find it interesting. I haven't cracked it open and am unsure if I will since (obviously) my parenting style runs to AP which is not typical in America. I believe I have the option to return it to Amazon for credit....


Mama to Blake, 5, and Grant, 3
ribbonpb.gif
allisonrose is offline  
#3 of 19 Old 05-04-2012, 06:06 AM
 
Diana Holquist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia PA
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'm halfway through...not sure I'm going to finish.  I think the sleeping part of this book was what was so intriguing to so many people: French bebés sleep through the night without "crying it out" at 2 months. What are French parents doing that's so amazing?!?!

 

Here it is so that you don't have to buy the book: The Pause. (Le Pause?) French parents "listen" to their children. So from the VERY BEGINNING, they are in tune enough to know the difference between a baby really crying and a baby struggling to put itself back to sleep. If the parents interfere at this critical juncture, the baby won't be able to learn how to link their 2-3 hour "sleep cycles" together.  So the parents pause. They listen. They wait. Not forever. Not if the baby is "truly" upset. But the pause teaches parents to listen, babies to wait, and thus to be able to self-soothe themselves back to sleep. If the parents miss this early (2-4 month) opportunity to let the child put itself to sleep, then all is lost forever (ok, not all, but almost all).  All (ok, not all, but almost all) French babies sleep through the night at 4 months.

 

Got it?

 

Yeah, like most of these miracle cures....it's a bit simplistic. 

 

One big problem I have with these parenting books is that the mothers write them when their babies are very young, so they really don't have the big picture. So an ex-pat like Druckerman thinks that good behavior is what is important. Maybe in a young child (not really, but for the sake of argument...), but certainly not for the long run.

 

I agree with Terraka. One precept guides American parents above all that makes our country and our culture still the go-to paradigm for education, business entrepreneurship, and the arts.

 

This one distinctly American value sets children raised the “American” way on the path to true success and happiness.

 

The value is this: American parents praise the rebel, the dreamer, and the outcast above all else. We’re not about chasing a stereotype to fit into the old ways; we’re about standing out and finding new ways. We’re not about conforming to society’s demands for good behavior. We’re about remaking society one amazing, breathtaking, shocking risk at a time.

 

We question everything.

 

Even ourselves.

 

So unlike the provincial French of Druckerman’s world, we’re out to grab the best of every culture we can get our hands on.

 

That’s why Americans raise the kind of kids who can invent Facebook and Google and Apple.

 

That’s why we raise the kind of kids who can write Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother or Bringing Up Bebe. Yes, those books were written by fierce, questioning, re-inventing American moms. Heck, the Chinese edition of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is called Parenting by a Yale Law Professor: Raising Kids in America.

 

Even they know that we know the secret to raising amazing kids.

 

Americans take the best from every culture, avoiding destructive mistakes, because we’re not culture-bound. That’s why America is still the go-to country for mad creativity, fierce independence, and daring self-direction.

 

Despite our kids not sitting still at restaurants or not scoring perfect on the goodie-goodie Test of the Day, America still rocks.

 

One awesome, hell-hollering, wild child at a time.

Diana Holquist is offline  
#4 of 19 Old 05-15-2012, 08:05 PM
 
allisonrose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NoVa
Posts: 2,001
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Diana - Love your post!

(I still have not opened this book.)

Mama to Blake, 5, and Grant, 3
ribbonpb.gif
allisonrose is offline  
#5 of 19 Old 06-23-2012, 04:47 PM
 
Geist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I love these replies mainly because they seem to view the book as completely looking down on America and Americans, instead of being a cross cultural study that it is. That is mainly how I viewed it and it struck a deep chord with me since my family is multicultural--my husband is from Finland and I have family in Germany. She and I had a lot of shared experiences. I always heard about how my German friends' babies were sleeping through the night from so many weeks/months and just assumed they were crying it out, but when my son was 9 months old and I visited, they were constantly asking me why I went to immediately when he would wake up. The thing of the Pause---listening to the baby to see if they were really awake and needed to be fed or if they were just fussing while they were asleep--never occurred to me. I always assumed in order to be the Best Mom I Could Be, I needed to respond IMMEDIATELY. And my son slept terribly because of it. At one point he was waking up every 45 minutes and he rarely slept more than 2 hours at a stretch and usually woke up once during naps.

I also enjoyed the bit about how the French assume a baby understands everything. In the US, it's quite the opposite. I've heard a lot of moms comment how you can't explain things to a baby because they don't understand and how they don't reach an age where they do understand until so many months/years. Everything American kids can't do, it seems, is panned off as an developmental thing. A friend's 3 (almost 4) year olds can't sit at a table because it's a developmental thing and they'll reach it when they do. But all the German kids I know at that age and younger do so regularly. It's just a matter of habits and cultural priorities.
I don't think at all that the reason why the US is so much how it  is---dynamic, entrepreneurial, whatever---is because of how they raise their children. it's because of regulation and economic systems. If we tax and regulate our economy to death, we'll have the same sort of system as in Europe without changing how we raise our children. Plus, I know tons of dynamic people who were raised in Europe---my husband among them! Some of them still live in Europe, others I know immigrated to the US because they didn't want to pay high taxes. That's more or less the reason why we live in the US instead of Europe. I'd rather have low taxes than free daycare because I don't mind staying home with my kids and I don't mind paying out of pocket when I need childcare. But there are some things about Germany and Finland that I feel very sorry my kids won't experience---mainly the ability to roam around freely by themselves. I love how I see tons of kids roaming around town by themselves and you just don't see that in the US anymore. It doesn't happen. Even when I was a child it didn't happen. I could ride my bike around the block but that was it until I was a teenager.

I also loved how she pointed out Americans tend to worry over every single little incident and if it could ruin their child or if they're a bad mother/father instead of just assuming bad experiences and mistakes are part of growing--both up into an adult and as a person.

The only thing I thought her book was missing was that she never returned to the US to live so she could finish experiencing the Culture Shock Cycle.

If you've never experienced it, culture shock goes like this: Admiration (everything in your new country seems great and charming and you love it!) then annoyance (why are they doing that? They should do it the way we do it back home) to Culture Shock (you hate everyone and want the country to burn to some degree) then adjustment (things aren't so bad you get used to it and are okay with it), then you go back home and have reverse culture shock: You go home and things are fine for a few weeks and then everythign annoys you and was so much better in the other country, but then you readjust and become truly bi-cultural: you see the good things in both countries as well as the bad. Druckerman never got to experience the last bit of readjusting to American culture. I am very curious as to how it would have changed her book if she had.

But as it was I found it extremely fascinating just how much of my own parenting decisions have turned out to be culturally based instead of parenting philosophy based as I had always assumed (AP vs Baby Trainers vs whatever)
 

ilovemygirl and beccamama31 like this.

Mother to one (8/08) with another on the way (04/11)
Geist is offline  
#6 of 19 Old 06-25-2012, 11:07 AM
 
ilovemygirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 534
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

Thanks Geist for such a well done post.

 

I just started reading this book but I'm already fascinated by her talk of children being able to understand everything. I certainly lean AP style or I wouldn't be here on mdc but this idea that children aren't ready or capable or able to understand things in the US that they most certainly can in other places in the world is something that's always kind of irked me. There's this excuse for justifying lousy behavior by hiding behind these blanket comments of he/she's too young when that's clearly not the case outside of American culture. Now I totally agree it's arguable which way is better (American/European) but I feel Americans lose credibility in the argument by lying this way.

 

I'll update when I finish the book!


mama to three little ladies
ilovemygirl is offline  
#7 of 19 Old 06-25-2012, 06:26 PM
 
Geist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I wouldn't say Americans lie when they say this--I know I genuinely believed it when I said it! But I think it shows how very out of touch we are with our own culture. They say that explaining culture to people is like explaining water to a fish--you don't see it because it's all around you. We don't see our culture or how it affects how we see things because we take it for granted. We take it for granted that the reason our kids don't sit still at the table is because they aren't old enough to without asking ourselves if it isn't maybe because we don't actually expect them to. We take it for granted that our children can't, say wait for a candy because our culture tells us waiting is hard even for adults so how could you possibly expect a child to do so?

 

It's a mind warping experience to step outside that culture and realize all the beliefs that you take for granted are seen as WRONG in nearly every other place on earth!

beccamama31 likes this.

Mother to one (8/08) with another on the way (04/11)
Geist is offline  
#8 of 19 Old 07-01-2012, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
terraka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 73
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

This is cool that we got a discussion going! 

I have to admit that after recently returning from Europe I am still baffled by the fact that I did not observe one crying baby for the whole duration of my

trip. I did not see a single tantrum or episode of screaming from newborn to pre-school. And I was in a densely populated town with lots and lots of the forementioned ages. 

I was there for a month and here is what I saw every day:

- mothers in a group with their babies in strollers sitting in outdoor sidewalk cafes sipping coffee leisurely and chatting while the babies dutifully entertain themselves or sleep;

- mothers by themselves doing the above;

- mothers shopping and the above;

- mothers walking in the park leisurely and chatting and the above.

 

I was constantly out with the baby and the one time I sat down at a coffee shop and she was not sleeping I had to leave pretty quickly because she wanted to play with everything and she would take my purse and want to empty it out (on the sidewalk), and would get pretty upset quickly if I don't cooperate. Needless to say, I rushed through my latte and attracted attention.I did sit down quite a few times but timed it with her naps.

I also observed that more frequently that one would imagine, mothers there wear high heels while out with toddlers. I wonder if this means they do not have to chase them around much.

There definitely is something in the air there that makes babies and toddlers surprisingly well-behaved.

swede likes this.

 waterbirth.jpg bf.jpg DD 5/19/2011 dust.gifcd.gif delayedvax.gif familybed1.gifgoorganic.jpg

terraka is offline  
#9 of 19 Old 07-02-2012, 09:27 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,345
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Agreed with Geist. I read this as a culture study and I enjoyed it. It also gave me some ideas for things I can do with my own kid as she grows, because a lot of the values that are discussed in terms of interpersonal interaction are ones I also share--kids are part of the interaction, but not the center of it, so they don't get to interrupt all the time, they have to say hello and goodbye, etc. I'm a first-time mom and my parents did imo a lousy job of socializing me, and I've never watched a kid be raised through these stages, so I am still gathering ideas of how I want to do it. Sure, I might have gotten these or similar ideas from another book, but what's wrong with getting them from this one?

erigeron is offline  
#10 of 19 Old 07-05-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
terraka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 73
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Well, erigeron, I think whether you get it from this book or not, you will not be able to do it all on your own. What P. Druckerman describes is how the whole culture does bringing up- it works because the community around her chips in. I think something like teaching your kids to greet all present adults is doable, however all presented ideas in the book are not doable by one mother alone.

Here in the USA interactions between individuals and the community are radically different. People are a lot more focused on the individual and respecting and protecting her rights so that they may be treated the same way.

However, in Europe it is not so. People there will expect you to conform and total strangers might walk right up to you and tell you what you are doing is wrong. It can be very very confrontational. In my culture usually elders and neighbors do it- and family does it all the time.

Total strangers can yell in your face: "What are you feeding this child, aren't you ashamed of yourself?" if they find that you are giving your child a snack that they don't like. People here don't do this. At most people here will smile and offer a compliment, but that is about it. Never criticism- as long as you are not breaking the law.

At "home" or where I grew up, everyone knows what you are supposed  to do culturally and they will steer you into it.

Of course, culture is constantly evolving, so there are many new trends that come in as well, but they get tested and many times they will not last.

In many European cultures there is always a lot of pressure to conform, and that pressure is not present here, which is pretty refreshing.

However, too little or no pressure has lead to inexcusable trends, such as not teaching your children to meet/greet or letting them run the show in the restaurant.

When I first came here 12 years ago, I was totally shocked by this, and still find it does not agree with me when I visit DH's family and none of the teenagers bothers to say "hello" or "good bye". It's really weird. It's like they see me, but they are so much into their own world that they cannot break out of it. Of course, the times I greeted and started a conversation they were very polite, sometimes shy, intelligent and giddy, like many teenagers, so I thought "Ok, they just don't know to say hello, but otherwise they are normal".


 waterbirth.jpg bf.jpg DD 5/19/2011 dust.gifcd.gif delayedvax.gif familybed1.gifgoorganic.jpg

terraka is offline  
#11 of 19 Old 07-10-2012, 07:20 PM
 
Geist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by terraka View Post

Well, erigeron, I think whether you get it from this book or not, you will not be able to do it all on your own. What P. Druckerman describes is how the whole culture does bringing up- it works because the community around her chips in. I think something like teaching your kids to greet all present adults is doable, however all presented ideas in the book are not doable by one mother alone.

Here in the USA interactions between individuals and the community are radically different. People are a lot more focused on the individual and respecting and protecting her rights so that they may be treated the same way.

However, in Europe it is not so. People there will expect you to conform and total strangers might walk right up to you and tell you what you are doing is wrong. It can be very very confrontational. In my culture usually elders and neighbors do it- and family does it all the time.

Total strangers can yell in your face: "What are you feeding this child, aren't you ashamed of yourself?" if they find that you are giving your child a snack that they don't like. People here don't do this. At most people here will smile and offer a compliment, but that is about it. Never criticism- as long as you are not breaking the law.

At "home" or where I grew up, everyone knows what you are supposed  to do culturally and they will steer you into it.

Of course, culture is constantly evolving, so there are many new trends that come in as well, but they get tested and many times they will not last.

In many European cultures there is always a lot of pressure to conform, and that pressure is not present here, which is pretty refreshing.

However, too little or no pressure has lead to inexcusable trends, such as not teaching your children to meet/greet or letting them run the show in the restaurant.

When I first came here 12 years ago, I was totally shocked by this, and still find it does not agree with me when I visit DH's family and none of the teenagers bothers to say "hello" or "good bye". It's really weird. It's like they see me, but they are so much into their own world that they cannot break out of it. Of course, the times I greeted and started a conversation they were very polite, sometimes shy, intelligent and giddy, like many teenagers, so I thought "Ok, they just don't know to say hello, but otherwise they are normal".


This is very true. In the US we lack that support network because we all come from different cultural backgrounds. There used to be more of an "American" way of doing things---either you raised your kids The American Way or you were a Foreigner who hadn't assimilated yet. But now that we're more multicultural and that's seen as a GOOD thing, people are more afraid to step in and say anything at all. Or if they do step in, it's not very helpful.

In the European countries I've been to, if you're raising your kid differently, you're just wrong. Period. And I have to say being the parent Druckerman describes--the only one with a kid running off, throwing fits, not sleeping well, etc.--is super embarrassing.
I think if you come from a different culture you can easily meld the positive aspects of American parenting (more customization, individual attention, etc) with the positives of "French" parenting (for lack of a better term, so just assume I mean what she talks about in the book--kids who have firm limits, but freedom within those limits). I think it's just important to remember that You're The Parent---You Decide. It doesn't mean you're a dictator, but you want to be the authoritative parent, not the authoritarian parent who rules with an iron fist nor the permissive parent who just sits there and goes "If I don't give them what they want, they scream!" The European parents I know (both in the US and in Europe) seem to be able to hit the authoritative balance so NATURALLY it makes me jealous!

 

I was talking to some of my (American) friends a while back about Free Range Parenting and Take Your Kids to the Park and Leave Them There Day to find out if any of them are doing it (mine are still too young) and the answer was basically no. Even though one of their kids was 8 and another was 6, neither of them were. The worries were basically, what if something happens? I forgot to mention "Worst First Thinking" and just said well they won't be too far from home and if it's really bad I'm sure there will be another adult there who can help or they can find SOMEONE. And then she brought up the objection, "But that's like I'm expecting the community at large to take responsibility for my kids when it's my responsibility!" And I've come to realize that that is pretty much the attitude Americans have when it comes to childrearing--even I have it. It's MY responsibility. I alone am responsible for my kids---100% of the time. I don't live close to my family so I can't expect them to help out, my friends out here all have there own kids and are just as busy with them. To expect anyone else to weigh in or share the responsibility would be unfair.

In Germany, it is SO different. Not only does family usually live close by, but you have friends and neighbors you've known your whole life who aren't afraid to weigh in---they know you well enough to know you won't get offended. My host family and friends certainly weren't afraid. In a way it was annoying, but it was also nice. It was like they were showing how much they cared and that my kid(s) were as important to them as they were to me.

 

I guess I wish I had a bit more of a strong, nurturing community built up in the US, but that takes many many years. And here people don't live in the same place long enough for that to develop.


Mother to one (8/08) with another on the way (04/11)
Geist is offline  
#12 of 19 Old 07-12-2012, 06:41 AM
 
Geist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

okay and who on earth added the poll atthe top of the thread?Bringing up bebe has nothing to do with the French or Americans being "more innovative" as far as raising children is concerned and it's completely irrelevant. Plus there's no none of the above :P


Mother to one (8/08) with another on the way (04/11)
Geist is offline  
#13 of 19 Old 07-12-2012, 07:18 AM
 
nyssaneala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 344
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by terraka View Post

This is cool that we got a discussion going! 

I have to admit that after recently returning from Europe I am still baffled by the fact that I did not observe one crying baby for the whole duration of my

trip. I did not see a single tantrum or episode of screaming from newborn to pre-school. And I was in a densely populated town with lots and lots of the forementioned ages. 

I was there for a month and here is what I saw every day:

- mothers in a group with their babies in strollers sitting in outdoor sidewalk cafes sipping coffee leisurely and chatting while the babies dutifully entertain themselves or sleep;

- mothers by themselves doing the above;

- mothers shopping and the above;

- mothers walking in the park leisurely and chatting and the above.

 

I was constantly out with the baby and the one time I sat down at a coffee shop and she was not sleeping I had to leave pretty quickly because she wanted to play with everything and she would take my purse and want to empty it out (on the sidewalk), and would get pretty upset quickly if I don't cooperate. Needless to say, I rushed through my latte and attracted attention.I did sit down quite a few times but timed it with her naps.

I also observed that more frequently that one would imagine, mothers there wear high heels while out with toddlers. I wonder if this means they do not have to chase them around much.

There definitely is something in the air there that makes babies and toddlers surprisingly well-behaved.

 

We were in France in May, I also noticed a big difference in the behavior of children and babies in restaurants. I was so happy that DD 'lived up to the expectations'. winky.gif Although, I also found servers at nice restaurants much friendlier towards her than the way she is treated at nice restaurants here in the US.

 

The one place where I noticed the exact same behavior from French children (and parents) as American children (and parents)? The playground. EXACTLY the same!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geist View Post

 

I also enjoyed the bit about how the French assume a baby understands everything. In the US, it's quite the opposite. I've heard a lot of moms comment how you can't explain things to a baby because they don't understand and how they don't reach an age where they do understand until so many months/years. Everything American kids can't do, it seems, is panned off as an developmental thing. A friend's 3 (almost 4) year olds can't sit at a table because it's a developmental thing and they'll reach it when they do. But all the German kids I know at that age and younger do so regularly. It's just a matter of habits and cultural priorities.

 

I guess I have the more 'European' view, as I also don't agree with a lot of things that are panned off as developmentally inappropriate. I have always communicated with DD the same way I do with adults, just in a softer tone. As a baby, I never used baby talk, or abbreviated sentences. Sometimes I would read to her from the newspaper, or a classic novel, and we regularly listened (still do) to 'adult' music: jazz, classical, rock, indie, and world music. I never offer her alternative meals at the table, at restaurants I usually just share our entree or order off of the appetizer menu rather than the kid's menu, and I expect her to sit with us through most of the meal at home, until we have finished (unless it is a long drawn out meal with friends, then whenever the last child is done, they are usually all free to go play). I think I'm partially blessed with an easygoing child, but she has always done well at restaurants, road trips, travelling, visiting relatives, etc. It's not that we ever punished her for not doing the above. We just expected it from the very beginning, and she seemed to intuitively get that, even at a very young age. The same with chores. She is not disciplined for not doing chores, it is just an expectation. At age 4, those chores include helping with laundry, occasionally helping make dinner, and cleaning up after herself.

 

So this part of the book I enjoyed. I do think the book overall is rather patronizing and simplistic.


 

I am also a lover of books reading.gif, treehugger treehugger.gif, and occasional soapbox stander! soapbox.gif

 

nyssaneala is offline  
#14 of 19 Old 07-12-2012, 07:35 AM
 
nyssaneala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 344
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geist View Post

 

 The worries were basically, what if something happens? I forgot to mention "Worst First Thinking" and just said well they won't be too far from home and if it's really bad I'm sure there will be another adult there who can help or they can find SOMEONE. And then she brought up the objection, "But that's like I'm expecting the community at large to take responsibility for my kids when it's my responsibility!" And I've come to realize that that is pretty much the attitude Americans have when it comes to childrearing--even I have it. It's MY responsibility. I alone am responsible for my kids---100% of the time.

 

I think this is a great point, and very true! That is the American viewpoint, and can be very different in other cultures.


 

I am also a lover of books reading.gif, treehugger treehugger.gif, and occasional soapbox stander! soapbox.gif

 

nyssaneala is offline  
#15 of 19 Old 07-12-2012, 10:26 AM
 
ilovemygirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 534
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyssaneala View Post

I guess I have the more 'European' view, as I also don't agree with a lot of things that are panned off as developmentally inappropriate. I have always communicated with DD the same way I do with adults, just in a softer tone. As a baby, I never used baby talk, or abbreviated sentences. Sometimes I would read to her from the newspaper, or a classic novel, and we regularly listened (still do) to 'adult' music: jazz, classical, rock, indie, and world music. I never offer her alternative meals at the table, at restaurants I usually just share our entree or order off of the appetizer menu rather than the kid's menu, and I expect her to sit with us through most of the meal at home, until we have finished (unless it is a long drawn out meal with friends, then whenever the last child is done, they are usually all free to go play). I think I'm partially blessed with an easygoing child, but she has always done well at restaurants, road trips, travelling, visiting relatives, etc. It's not that we ever punished her for not doing the above. We just expected it from the very beginning, and she seemed to intuitively get that, even at a very young age. The same with chores. She is not disciplined for not doing chores, it is just an expectation. At age 4, those chores include helping with laundry, occasionally helping make dinner, and cleaning up after herself.

 

I could have written this! Many people have trouble understanding what I mean when I say my dd who is 5 just does these things because they were never optional. We expected her to and she obliged. There was/is no struggle or drama or discipline. 


mama to three little ladies
ilovemygirl is offline  
#16 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 06:30 PM
 
Geist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I could have written this! Many people have trouble understanding what I mean when I say my dd who is 5 just does these things because they were never optional. We expected her to and she obliged. There was/is no struggle or drama or discipline.

 

It's the same with us. Whenever my DS doesn't want to do something that we always do, like clean up toys in the evening for example I just tell him "Es muss sein." It must be. There is no NOT doing it (unless we're out late of course :P) and it's what we've always done, so not doing it isn't an option. Of course, it helps that we really have ALWAYS done it. It's a lot harder with habits we're trying to start up but we haven't actually always done thigns that way so I can't just say we always do it, it's not optional! Drat that!
 


Mother to one (8/08) with another on the way (04/11)
Geist is offline  
#17 of 19 Old 08-25-2012, 11:08 PM
 
phathui5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 17,474
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I really enjoyed reading Bringing Up Bebe. A lot of it resonated with me. I especially liked The Pause and setting high expectations for children and assuming that they are capable.


Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
phathui5 is offline  
#18 of 19 Old 08-27-2012, 08:18 AM
 
ilovemygirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 534
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

It's crazy that I still haven't finished this book! I have to admit that although I LOVE a lot of what I've read so far, some things are really really starting to irk me.

First of all, I'm getting the feeling that middle class must mean something very different in France than it does in America. Paying for multiple nannies while buying property in an expensive city like Paris and renovating it ... wow! In my book, that's not even upper class, it's beyond my wildest dreams and comprehension kind of rich!

I think this is an important issue to look at because she really makes a point in the book and in interviews and articles that this book is based on average middle class families- not the rich or poor. Being a New Yorker myself, this lifestyle resembles the elite on fifth avenue and not working families. It's hard to compare American and French culture (which it's claimed is the point of the book) when it is so far off from what "middle class" people are in America. 

The second thing, is childcare. I couldn't help but feel sick a little when she brought up having four different nannies around the clock and joked about her children not knowing who their mother was. Ummm, does anyone really think that's humorous? While I agree that having a little help when you need it and having some time to care for your own interests can be important, how can anyone agree that having other people care for your newborn nursing infants around the clock is beneficial for anyone? This isn't a mommy wars type thing. I'll admit I'm not a fan of putting my child's care into the hands of strangers but this goes far beyond that. I don't know ... it's super judgy and maybe not a constructive comment but it just feels like there's a difference between having a pause in reaction to your child requests (which I agree can be beneficial sometimes) and never being there to hear or answer those requests because you've paid every which way to Sunday (through private nannies and then taxes to the government) to have someone else deal with it.


mama to three little ladies
ilovemygirl is offline  
#19 of 19 Old 09-07-2012, 05:52 PM
 
Geist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

It's crazy that I still haven't finished this book! I have to admit that although I LOVE a lot of what I've read so far, some things are really really starting to irk me.

First of all, I'm getting the feeling that middle class must mean something very different in France than it does in America. Paying for multiple nannies while buying property in an expensive city like Paris and renovating it ... wow! In my book, that's not even upper class, it's beyond my wildest dreams and comprehension kind of rich!

I think this is an important issue to look at because she really makes a point in the book and in interviews and articles that this book is based on average middle class families- not the rich or poor. Being a New Yorker myself, this lifestyle resembles the elite on fifth avenue and not working families. It's hard to compare American and French culture (which it's claimed is the point of the book) when it is so far off from what "middle class" people are in America. 

The second thing, is childcare. I couldn't help but feel sick a little when she brought up having four different nannies around the clock and joked about her children not knowing who their mother was. Ummm, does anyone really think that's humorous? While I agree that having a little help when you need it and having some time to care for your own interests can be important, how can anyone agree that having other people care for your newborn nursing infants around the clock is beneficial for anyone? This isn't a mommy wars type thing. I'll admit I'm not a fan of putting my child's care into the hands of strangers but this goes far beyond that. I don't know ... it's super judgy and maybe not a constructive comment but it just feels like there's a difference between having a pause in reaction to your child requests (which I agree can be beneficial sometimes) and never being there to hear or answer those requests because you've paid every which way to Sunday (through private nannies and then taxes to the government) to have someone else deal with it.

Re: the nannies: I think she was just emphasizing how absolutely overwhelmed they were. I think her oldest was...2 or 3 when the twins were born, which is still a fairly needy age. And then twins! Yowza! I was overwhelmed when I added my second and my oldest was 2.5. I couldn't imagine having 2 babies instead of one. I left that section of the book thinking she had a bit of PPD. I don't think all of them were nannies and I didn't think all of them were full-time either. I think one was simply in charge of laundry (european washing machines tend to be smaller than American ones and in all likelihood no dryer so they would have had to hang their laundry). But with two parents working and both of them seem to be doing really well in their careers, I would say they are almost certainly UPPER middle-class. But then again, I think in order to live in NYC without any assistance in a non rent control apartment you have to be upper middle class :)
My German friendss I know live fairly simply. They *might* have a car, but both parents work and their children go to the state daycares, either from 3 months or from 6 months, even though they  can stay home a year simply because they can't afford to stay home a year with their babies. But they have fairly nice apartments (though nothing extremely fancy) and make good use of their  6 weeks of paid vacation a year. They aren't rich, but you don't get the sense they are living as much pay-check-to-pay-check as the vast majority of Americans are.

Re: Culture: While reading tihs book I did a lot of comparisons not only French to American but German to French to American. And a lot of the things she talked about the French doing resembled very closely things my family in German had mentioned to me but I failed to understand at the time. They are solidly middle class and are definitely NOT wealthy. So I don't think class plays as much into it as you'd think. I'm middle class in the US and I found a lot of the things she said about American parenting hit extremely close to home and resembled not only things I've done/said but things people I know have done/said.


Mother to one (8/08) with another on the way (04/11)
Geist is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off