FRENCH TWIST by Catherine Crawford


An American Mom's Experiment in Parisian Parenting
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Chronicle of the author’s French take on parenting.

"It's clear to me," writes Crawford, "that, even as we have tried harder than any of our ancestors to mentor, please, and encourage our kids, we have completely lost control of them, and in the process we've lost control of our own lives as well." With this thought in mind, the author strived to regain jurisdiction in her family, reaching out to her French friends, who seemed to have it together; their children were "obedient, respectful, and, when told to be, quiet." Concerned that American families place too much emphasis on the thoughts and feelings of the child rather than the adult, Crawford established a new paradigm in the household. She and her husband were the undisputed leaders, and they would no longer tolerate the temper tantrums, eye rolling, insults and other shenanigans that they had endured. No more jumping through hoops to ensure that their child's spirits were safe; it was time to take charge and re-enter a world where adults made the laws, not the children. Every time Crawford faltered, she only had to look to her French neighbors for guidance—though she drew the line at spanking, a punishment frequently used in France. The author also compares how the U.S. and French governments treat motherhood and parenting, with the French providing substantial financial support to families from birth to age 18. Presented with a touch of humor and spot-on descriptions of childhood (mis)behavior, the advice, which touches on such topics as breastfeeding and school participation, is practical and useful.

A refreshing approach to raising children.

Pub Date: March 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-345-53326-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2013


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