If only we could look as cool as the French when we try to parent in their style.
On the heels of last year’s “Bringing Up Bébé,” author Pamela Druckerman offers up a companion piece to her book that explores the differences between American and French parenting styles.
“Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting” arrives in bookstores on February 12—and Druckerman will be in Highland Park on February 15 to talk about the new book. Make It Better spoke with Druckerman about the books and the parenting styles they’re about:
How are you feeling about the new book?
For anyone who read “Bringing Up Bébé” and it resonated, this one is going to resonate too. The reason I wrote it (is because) I got so many wonderful letters asking me for more information or to be more specific about certain things, such as mealtime.
Do you feel like parents have to go all-in on the French approach or can you glean what you want from it and mix it in with your own style?
You can take what sounds right to you and leave the rest … this is a slender little book that is more a set of skills and ideas—a general framework that will empower people to make decisions for themselves.
Author Pamela Druckerman will be at the Highland Park Public Library (494 Laurel Ave.) Friday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. for a free discussion about her latest book, “Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting.” Books will be available for purchase and Druckerman will be available for signing.
Since your first book, do you see any changes in either the French or American style?
The French are becoming more American in their style of parenting. (Some) think that parenting used to be much better in France, and some of their traditions are now being lost.
In your first book you talk about the “cadre”—the French framework for the parenting ideal. That ideal is to set firm limits for kids, but allow freedom within those limits. Can the American style of parenting get there, given the intensity with which some of us approach it?
We are a nation extremely responsive to research, and we’re quite evidence driven. I feel like a lot of what the French do by intuition or trial and error is the same here—there is a lot of overlap … Americans are really craving a sort of common sense approach to parenting—things have gotten a little bit of control, and that’s why “Bringing Up Bébé” resonated with people. I hope that “Bébé Day by Day” spells out more directly what some of those (French) ideas are.
Parenting can be a competitive sport. Should parents first eschew the competition in order to implement some or any of the keys in the new book?
Of course we all want our kids to turn out well and be successful adults. But the quality of the 18 years we’re spending raising them and living together matters tremendously too—both for them and for us. Let’s take that into account as well. I think that focusing on the present a bit more might ease up the competition.