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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 1 February 2015
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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on 1 September 2012
After reading this I decided I must be a French parent without knowing it! The advice is good, and having instinctively carried about 90% of her suggestions (about 10 years ago) I can confirm that they work.
She's an entertaining writer and it's interesting to hear her perspective. She's finally given me some insight into why a lot of children fuss about food or refuse to go to bed or throw tantrums in public all the time.
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on 2 February 2012
This is a well-researched, well thought-out book about the philosophical differences between the Anglophone and the French approach to raising children. I found it very thought-provoking, especially as a Mother of three small and boisterous boys.

Obviously the cultural structures (Creche/School/Food culture etc) that support the French approach to parenting aren't available here in Western Australia (!) But Pamela's discussion of the need for children to wait; the idea of the certainty of the cadre inside which children have freedom; the notion of trusting your children more; of respecting their rationality; of not beating oneself up about perceived failures of Mothering - these were all a-ha ! moments for me. She refers often to French experts on parenting who are quite simply unheard of in the Anglophone world (and unavailable in translation - like Francoise Dolto) and she also refers to the influence of Rousseau on the French approach to parenting.

I am about to re-read my Kindle version again, and take notes this time. I can't implement all of the ideas that she discusses - I don't have the level of support that she does; but I do like the idea of calmer, more confident children.

This book has a confiding, chatty tone that is extremely pleasant to read. I don't have a problem if she is rich (two writers ? I doubt it !) or if she lives in a certain area in Paris, or moves in certain circles - I'm a middle-class professional myself (or was, before I became a SAHM - and having read this book am now thinking quite hard about that as well). I don't think that the points that she makes are any less valid because of her perceived social status.

I think it is a little harsh to attack such a useful and thoughtful book on the basis that she has only covered the areas of French parenting that she is familiar with, and from the perspective that she is familiar with. She hasn't discussed the issues of raising a teenager in a working class suburb of Lyons because she has no experience of that and it seems pointless to me to attack her for only covering what she knows. She doesn't discuss teenagers much either - again because her children are only very young....

Don't be put off reading this book - it offers not only a thoughtful critique of the differences in approach to parenting, but also an analysis of how to implement those aspects of the French approach that you find appealing, in detail.
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on 29 September 2013
This book was about the author's move to Paris and having a family there, along the way observing that French families seem happier and calmer and their children better behaved, and learning how they do it. It was a hilarious read, full of amusing observations about both the French and Americans (e.g. a French childcare book that starts with a quote from Proust). It's not the normal type of child-rearing book, more an exploration of a different culture's child-rearing philosophy and how they put it into practise, but to my mind that made it a more valuable book. It's full of good ideas which might challenge you to think about how you normally do things, even if you don't change your mind.

On a practical level it gave me the confidence to stop feeding my 8-month old in the night, so now she is sleeping through.

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on 17 February 2012
I loved this book and wish I had read it before my first child was born but at least there's hope for my second!

I especially liked the information regarding the 4 month window frame and the 'pause' theory for babies to sleep through the night. I wish I had this information and avoided bad sleeping habits with my baby and eventually having to resort to controlled crying. Looking back now this information makes complete sense especially once you know the science behind a babies sleeping patterns.

If you're reading this book before you first baby is born a lot of the information may go over your head but down the line you may revert book to the information and realise how spot on it is.

The NHS should give this book to every new mum and eventually change our societies way of parenting as at the moment we seem to think that a baby going to bed late, waking up a few times during the night and rising early is 'just part of being a parent' when it doesn't need to be like that!
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on 31 January 2012
French children are raised in as many ways as there are parents (like everywhere else), they throw food, rarely sleep the whole night through at two months, and parents are worried sick about everything about them, and rarely wear vomit free clothes, plenty of schools "offer" not very healthy meals, French children also watch stupid shows on tv...
This woman writes from the point of view of an outsider commenting the external of a Paris upper-class scene ! She only judges by the appearences and neglect to fill her book with the necessary hundred of interviews of French parents that would lead the reader to a beginning of truth!
If you want to learn about French parenting and pedagogy read Françoise Dolto, Jean Piaget, Philippe Merieu... watch "le bébé est une personne" and take in it what seems right to you, But please use your critical sense and don't read books with fake statements as titles!
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on 4 March 2016
Bought this for content, ended up loving it for Pamela's writing style and fell in love with her for a little while. I was going through a hard time when reading the book and somehow found it therapeutic reading about someone else's experiences as a mother living in an unfamiliar city. I discovered that I like the way the French bring up children but also that I was unconsciously parenting in a French way anyway (apart from sending my daughter to nursery young). It's given me some confidence that what I'm doing is right, which some parents need fro time to time. I will miss Pamela as I have missed many authors after finishing their books. Buy it if you're interested in sociology, but it's not a quick-fix guide to stopping your children from throwing food.
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on 22 April 2016
As a French lady living in the UK and currently pregnant, a lot of the educating habits that the author noticed in France made me smile and understand the cultural difference of raising a kid between France and the UK, as well as the US. It was a very interesting book to read and reminded me of some aspects of the French culture that are dear to me - for example ask a child to wait before they interrupt your conversation, let them cry a little during the night before jumping to take them in your arms, and not having the expectation that you won't sleep during the first year of baby's life! I'd recommend the book to all expecting mothers, but read it as a journal or a blog, not as an educating guide - you can take some advice from this book though!
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on 1 May 2015
It's cute, funny and provides a healthy dose of common sense that French parents seem to have, at least in this book. I'm not from an English speaking county and culture originally, and many things in the book that French people do, which apparently appear so foreign to the american author actually seemed very normal to me and I remember being raised similarly. Parents have to have authority when it comes to children, they must set rules and limitations for them and teach them at least basic manners, which I don't see many modern parents in UK do these days. Hence, lots of unruly, spoilt and misbehaving kids around. I would recommend this book to people of English and/or English speaking background. It's also quite humorous and entertaining.
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on 24 November 2015
Neither Fish Nor Fowl for me. The book was recommended to me by my wife who read the Hungarian version and raved about it as a parenting guide. I was encouraged to read the English version and was expecting a classic 'How to' book format with dedicated chapters, bullet points, headings etc. It was only after reading the first couple of chapters and thinking 'This is a rather long anecdotal introduction' that I realised it was more or less, a novel. And this is where the problem came for me. It wasn't really enough of a novel to engage me, but at the same time it's not a guide book you can dip into for handy (and quick) advice or guidance. It was mildly amusing, occasionally informative but not enough of either to really get me enthused.
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