How to Bring Up Bébé, Not a Brat

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Pamela Druckerman moved to France in 2003 and discovered that French children were much better behaved than American kids. Here's what she brought back with her. 

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Pamela Druckerman had one of those "Aha! moments" shortly after she moved to Paris in 2003. When Druckerman was sitting in a restaurant she realized "it was only my daughter who was throwing food and running around the restaurant and whining and just generally having a miserable time." The French children, on the other hand, were sitting politely in their chairs. And they didn't see him to be fussy at all about what they were eating. 

What's the Big Idea?

Druckerman, the author of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, describes the French way of raising a child as an education. But this has nothing to do with school. "The French believe you teach children how to eat," Druckerman tells Big Think. And don't worry, this isn't another iteration of so-called Tiger Parenting. Rather, education is done "by introducing food as one of life’s great pleasures," Druckerman says.

Watch the video here:

So what if your child still thinks artichokes are gross, and continues to throw the food back in your face? Henry Rollins calls this punk rock. If you're a parent, you have a different perspective. So what's to be done. In the next video, Druckerman offers some humble tips from the French. 

Watch the video here:

Druckerman offers five humble steps from French parenting. Let's review:

1.  Get rid of the idea of "kids’ food."  Kids can eat whatever adults can eat. That means there is one dinner and everyone has the same thing.

2.  Serve vegetables first. Kids will be much more likely to eat them.

3.  You don't have to clean your plate. Just taste it. By tasting, Druckerman says, little by little kids get more familiar with food and more likely to eat it the next time.  

4.  There's one official snack time a day. Other than that afternoon snack, kids only eat at regular mealtimes. That means when they sit down to eat, they're actually hungry. 

5.  Approach food with joy. Introduce your kids to healthy foods because "each one is sort of going to be her friend for life," Druckerman says.  

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

‘Climate apartheid’: Report says the rich could buy out of climate change disaster

The world's richest people could breeze through a climate disaster – for a price.

(Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report from a United Nation expert warns that an over-reliance on the private sector to mitigate climate change could cause a "climate apartheid."
  • The report criticizes several countries, including the U.S., for taking "short-sighted steps in the wrong direction."
  • The world's poorest populations are most vulnerable to climate change even though they generally contribute the least to global emissions.
Keep reading Show less