I recently read Bringing up Bebe on my kindle - first parenting book I've ever read, possibly the last.
I really enjoyed it.
Lots of other people have read it, and you can find more thorough reviews in other places (Goodreads!). For me, though, the main value of the book is that it describes a parenting style which actively prevents entitlement.
The problem of entitlement that is rampant in our culture; that turns parents into maids and chauffeurs and personal secretaries; that makes teaching kids of any age a living nightmare. The problem of entitlement that has created a generation of people who think the world owes them something, who can't commit to a person or job or even a major because it might limit their happiness.
Slice and I have discussed this problem to great length, and fortunately, we're on pretty much the same parenting page. As I read this book I told him about all the things he's already doing the same as French parents. (Case in point: making kids say "hello" and "good-bye" to visitors in addition to "please" and "thank you." There's a whole chapter on the social rules that French children are expected to follow, same as adults. They learn from the start that the world doesn't revolve around them.)
We both feel that many parents don't expect as much from their young children as they could.
Of course there are things in the book that I disagree with. The disturbing sexism and deliberate pleasure-seeking of French culture, the anti-breastfeeding attitudes, and the standard full-time daycare are a few. It almost sounded to me like these French parents are having kids just because it's the chic thing to do.
But, I'd still recommend the book to parents and future parents. I keep thinking about how nice it would be if all the adults I knew had a collective understanding (like the French appear to have) about what we should expect of children. Then maybe we could watch each others' kids without worrying about stepping on the parents' toes.
(Or, maybe I could let Liam play with other kids without worrying about the bad habits he's picking up from them.)
(Readers: NOT YOUR KIDS.)
Other good stuff I've been reading:
Sue's excellent post on First World Problems (I can really relate, and the comments on her blog are always worth the read), and Azucar's similar post.
The post that everyone read (and I'm glad they did) about same-sex attraction and a truly beautiful relationship.
An article about same-sex marriage and kids. Some things to think about.
Posted by Jean at 10:02 AM