Do the French hold the secret to proper child rearing? That’s the debate swirling around a new book by Pamela Druckerman ’91, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who moved to Paris in 2003 and is now married with three children. The book is called Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (with a more blunt UK title: French Children Don’t Throw Food).
Since its release February 7, Druckerman’s book has been a topic starter for every major media outlet, from the New York Times to Time magazine to the Huffington Post. And if you’ve tuned into NPR in the past week, you’ve probably heard one of its parenting stories sparked by the book.
Bringing Up Bébé is being compared to last year’s sensational Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, in which author Amy Chua extols Chinese parenting techniques. Druckerman writes that French children sleep through the night at three months, eat well-rounded meals (including “grown-up” food like foie gras and braised leeks), and play contentedly by themselves while their parents carry on adult conversations.
So, do Americans need to learn from their global counterparts? It depends whom you ask. Some French women have disagreed with Druckerman’s claims, in online debates and as reported by The Atlantic in “French Moms: We’re Not as ‘Superior’ at Parenting as You Americans Think.” And on Tuesday, Slate published a conversation about the book between an American mom and a French dad, in which Jean-Marc Proust admits that he, too, was left with many questions about whether Parisians do it better.
Still, Druckerman’s successfully managed to help feed our insatiable hunger for information and opinions on parenting. Learn more about her book here.