Liberating and bloomin’ heartening (for us neurotic mothers-to-be spending all the livelong day counting the ways in which we could royally bungle our unborn sprog’s life) Cécile David-Weill’s offbeat parenting bible is a wake-up call. The bottom line? The road to bad parenting is paved with good intentions.

Consciously or not, we overlook the inescapable fact that we’re all under the influence. The aggrieved child within us taints and undermines all our aspirations as super-mums and dads, throwing up roadblocks at every juncture; while unresolved emotions drive us to reproduce the upbringing we received – including the behaviours that hurt us most.

Part warts-and-all memoir, part guide, in Parents the embattled French-American mother bares all, drawing on her own blunders and triumphs, popular culture and scholarship to end the vicious cycle and help us become effective, nurturing moms and pops. Candid, insightful, wryly observed yet never proscriptive, this game changer lobs the rule book out the window. A welcome antidote to preachy child-rearing how-tos.

Parents Under the Influence, by Cécile David-Weill, published by Other Press

From France Today magazine. For more France Today book reviews, click here

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