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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think
I really enjoyed this book - it was written with humour, but interesting observations on different approaches to child-rearing in Britain/America and France. I wish I had read the bit about ignoring wakeful spells in their sleeping when my children were young -and I might have managed a full night's sleep before my eldest was five years old and the youngest two and a...
Published 20 months ago by KatyBee

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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but to be taken with a pinch of salt
I recently bought this book as I live in France and am expecting a child. It is an entertaining read, and I believe that is all it is meant to be. However the author's view on France is incredibly narrow and became increasingly frustrating. It is a shame that she insisted on generalising so much when her contact with France and the French seems to be very limited, she...
Published on 10 Feb. 2012 by Emma


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think, 4 Aug. 2013
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I really enjoyed this book - it was written with humour, but interesting observations on different approaches to child-rearing in Britain/America and France. I wish I had read the bit about ignoring wakeful spells in their sleeping when my children were young -and I might have managed a full night's sleep before my eldest was five years old and the youngest two and a half!
Lots of the ideas put forward as used by French parents were thought-provoking, like making them wait before responding to their demands, not 'pushing' them or expecting too much of them - but my children have grown up into successful, friendly, sociable adults and the writer seems to find many French adults distant and unfriendly and we know that the French have a reputation for disliking authority, so which way is right?
Most children grow into youngsters who eat a variety of foods and don't throw their food at the table so why worry?
A good read though.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical Advice for parents & caregivers, 9 April 2012
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I really like this book because it breaks down, in a very practical way, what it is that the French are doing to end up with children that don't need constant stimulation, and attention, don't constantly interrupt, eat well, etc. The book is basically telling us that the French (in general) have a more common-sense approach towards child rearing & haven't lost the plot or balance (as most in Anglophone countries have).
What I observe in English speaking countries is parents that don't feel comfortable in their authority. They allow their children to rule the roost, giving them way to much choice, power & control, wrongly believing that this is being 'nice' or 'good' to their child. The reality is that they're teaching the child that they should always be 'consulted' in every decision, always get their own way, and as a result they experience problems in school, with other children, etc. The book rightly asserts that parents need to be in charge, to say no, and very importantly, to delay gratification (i.e. teach them to wait & have patience).

The book also shows how most French parents handle guilt differently - Anglophone's tend to feel guilty for everything (working, going out, etc.) In contrast, the French culture believes(rightly) that parent's should work if they want or need to, and that they are entitled to time as a couple, and plenty of time away from the child/ren. They recognise that they will still be a couple after the child/ren leave/s home & they try not to neglect their relationship. It's all about balance & I think it's spot on! It's a must-read for all parents in Anglophone countries - & beyond!

One of the great bits of wisdom in it is how important it is to teach children, no matter how young, to acknowledge people by saying a simple 'hello' on entering someone's home, or on meeting anyone. The book claims that most French people are offended if a child does not acknowledge them in this way. Teaching children that they must acknowledge others is teaching them respect. Common sense has returned & is in this book! I plan to pass it around my friends; the ones with the worst kids get 1st preference! :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't sure about it at the start but was won over, 8 Sept. 2013
By 
Isey (Waterford, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: French Children Don't Throw Food (Paperback)
The reviews I had read here almost put me off this book. Then the opening chapter made me think the author and I were polar opposites.. She loves ' best friends guide to pregnancy' and I hated it,, she didn't like ' what to expect when you're expecting' but I liked it.
I read this just before I (an Irish woman) moved from the UK to Luxembourg. I had a 20 month old with another on the way. It gave me a great insight to how the French regard upbringing their children... And the Luxembourgers aren't dissimilar. The crèches are run in the same way, with particular regard to mealtimes. I have adopted some of the advice such as little or no snacking between meals, and giving a course of vegetables before dinner while my daughter is hungry. My daughter now greets sales assistants, babysitters etc.. With bonjour, and says merci and au revoir after every interaction. Indeed as an adult, it has taught me to be more respectful and greet people in a courteous, polite manner. It's amazing the difference in experience.
I probably docked one star as its a little anecdotal, but still a good read.
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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but to be taken with a pinch of salt, 10 Feb. 2012
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I recently bought this book as I live in France and am expecting a child. It is an entertaining read, and I believe that is all it is meant to be. However the author's view on France is incredibly narrow and became increasingly frustrating. It is a shame that she insisted on generalising so much when her contact with France and the French seems to be very limited, she mixes with a small section of wealthy and educated Parisians. Comparing Parisians to the rest of France is silly and shortsighted. Londoners do not represent the UK, nor do New Yorkers America.

Some of her facts about France's views on baby rearing are incorrect. She claims that in France practically nobody breastfeeds and it is not considered beneficial. That is untrue on the RSI website it states very clearly that breast is best, should be done (if possible) for the 1st 6 months and going back to work was not a reason to stop.

I also find her generalisations about Anglophones frustrating as again I don't think that her experience of British people has much depth. Admittedly she is married to a Brit, but he was brought up in Holland and so possibly not a true representative. Some of the things that she seemed to be amazed about in France are also common place in the UK.

All in all it is an entertaining book with a couple of good pointers, but be aware that there is a lot of generalisation and so should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practice 'The Big Eyes'!, 19 May 2013
By 
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: French Children Don't Throw Food (Paperback)
This review is from: French Children Don't Throw Food (Paperback)
A remarkable reality story, an experiment that worked well and has much to remind and teach us about parenting/child rearing. Thank you Pamela for sharing all this with us and for using your humble brand of self deprecating humour that strikes a chord with anyone involved with children day to day. I realise that the author only met a narrow circle of French parents but still their attitude was admirable, an antidote to more tiring, immersive messages on giving in to little children.

I was kindly lent this by another 'granny' friend and having roared through it I feel almost evangelical towards the 'cadre' and method by which better behaved, more socially aware, patient and calm children can be 'awakened'. The sections about mealtimes and diet were fascinating and instructive, there is something to be taken from this tale for everyone (apart from Mary Poppins).

Pass it on and there could be a collective 'shoulder dropping' mood of relaxation and enjoyment overtaking tiredness, tension, shouting, frustration and impossible servitude towards 'the child king'. I loved it and want everyone to know how good it is. Back to basics with bells on indeed. Be gentle, be calm, say Hallo, Goodbye, Please and Thank You, try the taste, acknowledge the humanity of others...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a French mum: if you are going to read only 1 book during your pregnancy, pick this one!, 1 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: French Children Don't Throw Food (Paperback)
Being myself French, I got this book offered by my British mother in law for my first pregnancy. It's the only book I've read (I wasn't intending to read any book at all before I got it) and I've found it very reassuring as it more or less summaries the way I was brought up and the way I want to bring up my children.
My husband (he is British) also read it so we were on the same page. We've clearly used the "pause" technique right from the beginning, and we were lucky that our daughter started sleeping through the night from the age of 5 weeks old (understanding from 00:00 until 6:00am and progressively increasing until 10-11 hours in a row at night). I am pregnant again, I am going to read his book again and I'll see if we are as lucky the second time.
I am living in UK, and I am amazed by the fact that it is expected for parents to be sleep depraved for years and years until their kids finally are able to sleep through the night.
Yes there are French stereotypes (I think there are also anglosaxon/american stereotypes as well), but it is overall a very nice, funny and easy book to read. Full of common sense and reassuring from my point of view.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the title, 3 Dec. 2013
This review is from: French Children Don't Throw Food (Paperback)
Pamela has obviously lived in France for a while and knows many French people. I don't think she thinks that everything is better in France. I'm sure that she does not defend the very low, even lower than in the UK, breastfeeding rates (she breastfed her own daughter for one year!) and short maternity leave. She just states that the French obesity rates happens to be quite low despite that. She also says that she gets tired of the "bonjour" ritual. However, she points out where French parents do better than others, the best example being how babies sleep through the night. I'm sorry but here in the UK, we have two-year-olds who still demand to be fed and/or rocked back to sleep every 3 hours at nights, and their mums (and dads) are pushed to the brink. What concerns me is when us French are reported to let newborn babies cry it out, as one of my friends understood. That is not what we do, nor what Pamela said we did. To me, letting a baby cry one minute to transition to the next sleep cycle or find his thumb has nothing to do with letting him bawl his eyes out for three hours.
I thought her book was balanced, depsite the title, and could recognise a lot of things from my home country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this if you have already read "Bringing up Bebe" but if you haven't, buy it, 2 Jan. 2015
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I bought this book as Amazon suggested that other people who had bought "Bringing up Bebe" also bought this. It seems that this is the UK title of the book and "Bringing up Bebe" is the US version. So if you've read that don't buy this. To be fair, I enjoyed the re-read even though I had read the book only 8 months before. My view on the book is unsurprisingly similar to my comments on "Bringing up Bebe". I bought this book after my wife kept laughing at her foreign language version. I was intrigued what was making her laugh so much. So I bought my own version. I was not disappointed. Druckerman has written in a witty and engaging manner. As a soon-to-be new parent, I found the book contained some useful ideas on getting babies to sleep and children to eat a wide variety of foods. I discussed the book with a French friend who said that it is true many of the ideas are "accepted wisdom" in France. I liked this book so much I gave Bringing Up Bebe to my brother and French Children don't throw food to my cousin.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh yes they do and they strop & hurl insults too!!, 11 Feb. 2012
By 
M. Crosbie (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Living in france for many years and having lived with a frenchman with 2 children for four years (until the antisocial behaviour of the youngest drove me insane) I can confirm that french children can also be out of control, nasty, selfish, conniving and lazy brats with foul mouths just like their uk counterparts. And yes french mothers do scream like fish wives and french fathers do lose their cool and shout and french children do eat McDonalds and swear and smoke and drink underage(just stand outside any french high school for five minutes and your ears will turn red with the foul language)and, and, and..... in my experience it's the same story the world over but just maybe not in the dizzy hights of this authors social milieu. This genre of writing is so twee and fanciful and so far removed from reality it should be marketed as total fiction. It is grossly irritating that certain expats abroad write about the french and french lifestyle through rose tinted spectacles as if their lives are so superior ...... life in France presents all the same problems and challenges just with different shaped bread! Don't believe the hype!

p.s. and take heart, many french women are fat!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gimmicky but a couple of good ideas, 31 Aug. 2012
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I thought this book was gimmicky. It's based on an idea that seems OK on paper, although doesn't quite work; basically what the book says can be summarised in a couple of phrases. The central idea is: children in the UK & US are catered to far more than necessary; the parents are not in charge; the parenting methods in those countries have become far too child-centred. In France, on the other hand, parents are in charge. They have a life, including a sex life, that doesn't centre on their children. Children know what's expected of them.

That's it! Hardly rocket science. After the reader gets to grips with this main idea, there's not much else that's original / interesting. I suppose the ideas around having a 'cadre'(a strict framework for children within which there is much freedom) is fairly interesting. I also kind of liked the idea of the 'pause' i.e. teaching your newborn to learn how to sleep by waiting for a bit before responding to them when they cry. Finally, I kind of fantasized about and played with the idea of children eating 4 course meals at restaurants, quietly. Not that I believe it's strictly true that happens in France...Generally, I seriously doubt everything that this book talks about is anything more than a generalisation, it seems (as other reviewers have said) based on the author's impressions while living in upper middle class France. Not that that's necessarily bad (to write from your own experiences) as long as it's funny, original or interesting. This book is only mildly funny, hardly original and not that interesting although to be fair it's not excruciatingly bad either, it can make for an OK read if you haven't read any parenting books & are looking for some general ideas of how to create a structure for your kids.If however you've read other books about parenting, this really won't add much & will seem repetitive. If you want ideas about structuring your children's life, creating rules & routines that work, read something like Noel Janis Norton which goes into much more details rather than this.

A final note: this book clearly cashes in on the success of 'French women don't get fat', describing some elusive ideal way of bringing up children that supposedly escapes UK & US parents, similarly to the elusive (and false) idea of a 'French' diet that works spectacularly well, as if by miracle. I also didn't like the sections where the author goes on & on about her family life, which hardly added anything to the book's arguments.

All in all, a really mediocre read & I do wonder why this book created such a stir.
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French Children Don't Throw Food
French Children Don't Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman (Paperback - 17 Jan. 2013)
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