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The Best Parenting Book I Have Ever Read!

I have read a lot of parenting books over the years. Falling pregnant with my first daughter at 21, I was very nervous and insecure about being a mum. I wanted to be the perfect mother and didn't want to do anything to "screw up" my child. So, I read as many parenting and baby books as I could. In the end though, I ended up feeling more confused and more insecure about being a parent. 

Fast forward 8 years when I fell pregnant for the third time, I decided to just trust my instincts as a mother (obviously it did help that I had prior parenting experience). But I have learnt over the years that confidence in yourself, in your abilities and especially in your decisions really are the most important skills to being successful parent, whether you are a first-time parent or a parent for the fifth time. Therefore, I decided I didn't want to further confuse myself by reading anymore books...... except one! 

When my two older daughters were around 5 and 6 years old, I discovered an amazing book called French Children Don't Throw Food, by Pamela Druckerman. I have always been interested in the French culture, so I was intrigued to learn about the how the French parent. I downloaded the kindle version on my phone and started devouring it straight away. There were so many nuggets of gold in this book! I kept thinking "I wish I had found this book when I was 21!"

So, naturally when I fell pregnant 17 months ago, I immediately downloaded and listened to French Children Don’t Throw Food on Audible several times. I was so happy that I was going to be able to try out many of the tips I learnt with my new baby, Scarlett. The most helpful of them was getting Scarlett to sleep through the night at 6 weeks of age! This was amazing for me as my two older daughters didn’t sleep through the night until they were nearly 2 years of age!

I love that French parents are encouraged to be there for their child when they need them, but when their baby is happily playing on their mat on their own in a safe place, they just let them be. French parents don’t overstimulate their child. I feel like parents are expected to do so much these days; work full time, be with their child constantly, talk and play with their child constantly, follow their child around the play-ground, start teaching their child to read and write before they start school and put their children in as many extra-curricular activities as possible.

Like the rest of us, the French believe that you should talk to your baby, show her things and read her books. But they don’t think a mother should spend eight hours a day talking non-stop to her infant like an irritating house guest. Babies need down time. They don’t want to be constantly watched and spoken to.

- Pamela Druckerman, French Children Don't Throw Food

Is anyone actually happy revolving their whole life around their child/children? I think its insane! It is not healthy for the parent, and it is certainly not healthy for the child. Children need space. They need time on their own so they can learn to be independent and discover who they are. They need a lot of play time to be creative and expand their imagination. And parents need alone time. Parents need time for themselves and they need time together.

‘The family is based on the couple. If it exists only through the children, it withers,’ a French psychologist explains.

(Long-term co-sleeping is very rare in France, in part because it prevents relations between Mum and Dad from getting back to normal.)

- Pamela Druckerman, French parents don't give in

I also love that parents are encouraged to be Calm. Pregnant mothers are encouraged to be calm during pregnancy because it is good for their unborn child. Babies sense their mother’s moods and are jolted by too much stress. Likewise, Calm parents are better for developing children. French parents focus on teaching their children patience from a very young age.

One reason why French family life often feels so calm is that parents emphasize patience. They believe that waiting – and related skills, such as coping with frustration and delaying gratification can be learned and honed.

The French focus on patience partly because they find the alternative intolerable. They’ve seen households in which adults are never able to finish a cup of coffee, and where kids collapse in hysteria each time they’re denied a chocolate bar. They don’t want to live that way or think it’s inevitable that they should. And they don’t think that living that way would make their children happy either.

- Pamela druckerman, french parents don't give in

Frankly I agree! Children seem to be running the show these days, instead of the parents and it should be the other way around.

There are so many tips and topics in this book that I agree with, I feel like this book was just written for me. A lot of it is just common sense, but reading this book helped me to gain some clarity out of the sea of parenting techniques out there. And most life transforming was the fact it allowed me to release a lot of the guilt I was holding. If any of this resonates with you, I highly recommend reading this book. If you don’t want to read Pamela Druckerman’s whole story she published a shorter book with her top 100 tips called French Parents Don’t Give In; 100 Parenting Tips from Paris. I think both are very valuable.

I would love to hear which book you think is the best parenting book!

Paula Cummings,

Inspire Baby Wear


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