Read Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children by Sara Zaske Online


In the tradition of Bringing Up Bebe and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a clarion call and practical guide for a return to rational parenting, from an American woman who learned how to raise strong, self-reliant children by following the common sense approach of German parenting. When Sara Zaske moved from Oregon to Berlin with her husband and toddler, she knew the transIn the tradition of Bringing Up Bebe and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a clarion call and practical guide for a return to rational parenting, from an American woman who learned how to raise strong, self-reliant children by following the common sense approach of German parenting. When Sara Zaske moved from Oregon to Berlin with her husband and toddler, she knew the transition would be multi-layered, adding parenting and then the birth of another child into the mix. She was surprised to discover that German parents give their children a great deal of freedom--much more than Americans. In Berlin, kids walk to school by themselves, ride the subway alone, climb giant play structures, cut food with sharp knives, even play with fire. But what she didn't realize was that German parents did not share her fears and their children were thriving. Was she doing the opposite of what she intended, which was to raise capable children? Why was parenting culture so different in the States? Through her own family's often funny experiences as well as interviews with other parents, teachers, and experts, Zaske shares the many unexpected parenting lessons she learned from living in Germany. Achtung Baby reveals that today's Germans know something that American parents don't (or have perhaps forgotten) about raising kids with "selbstandigkeit" (self-reliance), and provides many new and practical ideas American parents can use to give their own children the freedom they need to grow into responsible, independent adults. A blend of memoir, research, and reporting, this book calls for a return to rational parenting and an exploration of the cultural shift that has occurred over the past few generations. Zaske illustrates how our American anxiety is a culturally specific rather than a globally shared modern stumbling block--which readers can overcome using Zaske's crucial insights into the German perspective on parenting....

Title : Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250160171
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 239 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children Reviews

  • Dawnie
    2019-05-09 23:16

    Okay let me start this out with: I am not a mother, i do not have children i take care of (at least not the human kind -do furry kids count?!?) BUT i was interested in this because i am German and i always interested to see an American share their option on Germany. Because honestly most of the time? Its HORRIBLE and wrong and just... in which year are you living because we are no longer in world war 2? So yes, okay? I only requested this book because it has a german title and the subtitle of an american mom learning the german art was just enough to make me click "request" on NetGalley and read this book. But honestly? Its pretty GOOD!I think its a nice book if you simply want a view into a different culture -or like me are just curious to see your own culture compared to a different one and actually see the differences. I would defiantly recommend giving this book a read! If nothing else, it is quiet entertaining to read the author struggle through german's bureaucracy and all the paper work. (because yes, she got that PERFECTLY!)Lets start with me saying that:I LOVE her for actually saying that America did not save or ended the second World war, that America is not the sole saver of everyone and that they did not influence Germany and make it into the country it is today. Because THANK YOU! Its nice to read that from an American, that actually summaries the European history and America's part in it as it most likely was and does show that Germany is not this huge anti-everything country. That Germans are not the devil, evil or against any and all people that are not blond and blue eyed. I also appreciated that she actually said she expected germany and its people to be completely different to how they actually are. Because that is just how is. We all have specific stereo-typical notions we grow up in from different countries around the world. I grew up with the believe that Americans all only ever eat McDonalds and eat it in from of their TV. I am just guessing here but i don't think thats really what all of America is like. Moving on the to actual "Parenting aspects" of this book:I think that her entire attitude towards letting kids explore, learn and decide for themselves what to be scared of what to do and when is great. And yes in some way resembling some aspects of how kids in Germany do grow up. And she is defiantly right that in germany most kids spend a good amount of time outside especially when they are still in the ages between toddler years and 10 years old. Not as much in the last 10 years as it has been when even i personally was growing up, but yes, kids in Germany are mostly told to go outside to play and run their energy off. (can i just add that i never even thought about that that might be something new or strange to anyone? Because how else would little kids play if not outside in any and all weather for the most parts?)Its also nice to read that the author clearly took some nice parenting ideas with her from Europe. I honestly think that we could all learn from each other on how to raise our children, maybe find a way to combine different aspects to finally raise an entire generation of children that don't fear everything they don't know, don't hate people that look different or believe differently then they themselves or even just generally learn that every human is just the same as any other human in most aspects. So it was GREAT to see those principles being talked about and mentioned. I also loved how she shared little snippets of her kids how they struggled with the culture differences and how her daughter ask her if it was allowed for the kids to wait for their mom in a cafe until she had gone to the toilet. For one because that entire concept i a bit strange for me as someone having grown up with it being completely normal that as soon as you can go to the toilet on your own, you go do that even in a cafe when you know or can find it on your own, or when its just normal your parent can leave you in a place that like that for a few minutes until they return. So reading that it is NOT something completely normal and typical was a bit of an eye opener on just how different growing up in different areas of the world really are. And now lets get into the negative (or should i say the things a German finds a bit annoying and strange because i never heard of it in that way and shouldn't i have as a German?):- its really, really, extremely over simplifies and generalises Germany as a whole. Berlin is a huge city, its also a world city with a huge mixture of different cultures, believes and school systems all mixed together. I am not saying its a whole different world than the rest of Germany, but it is quiet different to a lot of other areas in Germany. Especially since -as the book itself states- Berlin was split into two very different Germany's for a long time. So it mixes a lot of very different German believes together. What i mean by that is (For example i am not listing EVERY SINGLE thing here because that would be about the size the actual book had, but just... you know, some examples to showcase what i noticed right away and found bit annoying!):- German kids go or ride their bikes to school alone -at the latest from second year on.Which is NO!Excuse me? What are you talking about!Lets start out with the biking!Not all german parents let their kids ride their bikes to school basically from second grade on. For example its actually not allowed in Bavaria where i live until the kid is in fourth grade -or in other words at least eight, most of the time nine years old and actually have to complete something that i can most easy translate into a "bike license" (meaning you have to take a test that shows that you can successfully navigate your bike through traffic without problem and only after you pass that test and get your "license" you are allowed to drive your bike to school!)And while it is true that a lot of kids walk to school alone from second grade on, they don't walk ALONE, they go into groups of other kids that meet up at the latest two streets from their home. German public schools short their kids from specific districts the houses are marked under. So specific neighbour groups of houses all go to the same school, and with that a good amount of children go to and from the same school at the same times. There are at least always in the morning specific adults present on busy streets to assure that kids don't get hurt. And that is how i personally as a German know that it goes down with letting kids go to school in the whole of Germany.So yes, sure in a way in Germany Kids from a very young age go to school without their parents. But they do not go alone. They go with at least three to four other kids either their age or older and on the way there are a few adults placed that look out for them on streets that might be dangerous. I don't know if that is something unique or strange or different to america. Who knows? Apparently if the book got the American side right. - since we are on topic of schools... shall we talk about that?Because that hippy-dippy- lets all play and have a great time mojo? Thats "waldorf" schools. Which are basically special education places where its a lot more easy going and slower paced learning with lots of breaks. i am not in any way saying those are bad schools! They are actually good schools, but sadly hard to get places in for most kids and also a lot of them are not public but private or you have to have a special needs child to qualify for them in many areas in Germany (maybe thats different in Berlin. Could be. Possibly)But they are NOT the norm in germany. The school that the author description in America -teacher talking and talking and talking and handing out lines and punishments if you are not doing what they want?- THAT sounds like a typical german school! Also the after school "hort" the author mentioned? Not something that most schools actually offer, its a special program that a kid has to go to after school most of the time not even in school but for example housed in Kindergärten and are not for doing homework but rather to keep the kid busy until the parent can come get them after work. I am not saying that they don't exist in the way the author described them. But they are not the norm at all in germany, and not typical in the way that she described them as. - And than there is the entire section on parenting time: the book basically states that every one that has a child is allowed up to three years without problem, either mom or dad, during which they will get paid and than get their job back if they take those years without problems. Sure theoretically on paper that might even be mostly true. In actuality??Sorry, NO!Most people are lucky if they get six months, and the payment they get after two or three months is no where near what they normally make, so that most people have no choice but to go back to work as soon as possible to be actually able to continue to make the money they need to ... you know buy stuff? For example for the kid they just had?Also i will not even touch the subject of that that entire deal with the fathers being able to take that time to make it easier on not discriminating against specific women in jobs. The characters i have for this review would not be enough to clearly prove that so completely wrong. Lets just say that in theory, yes sure in germany there is such a thing as parent time and you even earn a little money and either parent can take it, even the father, but yeah... just because something theoretically exists does not mean that it actually works... and leave it at there are some things in this book that as a German, born and raised and still living there as an adult, are a bit of head scratchers. still this book was not a bad book And of course its hard to put an entire country and all its different states, customs and ideas into one book. And she could have hardly named the book "the Berlin way of rising a child" so i get it. And for the most part, Sara Zaske did a great job with sharing how Germans raise their children. *Thanks to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for a free and honest review!*

  • Susan
    2019-05-23 18:18

    As a mom of 3 and as an elementary teacher, I'm always up for a read relating to children and parenting. I enjoyed the tiger mom book comparing Asian parenting with its US version. When I heard that Achtung Baby was out -- a book comparing German parenting with US -- I was thrilled. I *am* German; what a perfect book for me to read!The book's author is Sara Zaske. She heads to Germany with her husband, who gets a job there, and their toddler-aged daughter. They live in Germany for several years, during which time she has a son. They move back to America when her kids are about first and fourth grade age. This book is based on her observations during her time in Germany. They lived in Berlin.Sara begins: "I wanted to raise my children to be strong, independent, free individuals -- all very American values. Yet I tended to use paradoxical parenting practices: constantly correcting my children, overemphasizing their academic achievement, and closely supervising them to ensure their safety. Moving to Germany made me realize how American these practices were -- and how misguided."Basically, Zaske observes that Germans give their children much more freedom than Americans do. She discusses how Germans let babies fall asleep on their own rather than the more American practice of rocking the baby to sleep. In short, there's not a lot of "attachment parenting" in Germany. Children in Germany are in preschool earlier and more often than US kids, and German parents tend to think this is a good thing, with little "mommy guilt" that we expect here in the states. German children walk or bike to school regularly. Eight-year-olds walking to school, traversing busy intersections, is not an unusual thing. Zaske mentions that in America, parents have been arrested for things like this that are everyday occurrences in Germany.Achtung Baby is bound to raise the question, which method is better? Zaske clearly favors the German method, frequently touting its successes while speaking negatively about US parenting. As a more-experienced mom, I can understand some of this. I think all of us as parents tend to idealize the situation we're in when our own children are little. I can see advantages to the German parenting methods, and I am a proponent of giving children freedom. I'll always remember our "MOPS mentor" (an older mom who came to MOPS meetings when my girls were little) calling me "the laid-back mom." And I pretty much was. I didn't tend to check on my kids throughout the night to ensure they were still breathing, or hover over them as they played. Then again, there were definitely parts of the German parenting model as presented that I didn't care for.For instance, I never put my kids in preschool and was honestly sad when the time came for them to begin kindergarten. I cherished my time with them at home. Germans seem to feel that kids benefit more from the company of their peers than of their parents, even at a young age. Homeschooling is not just discouraged in Germany: it's illegal. This is just speculation on my part, but I wonder if part of this stems from the communist background that at least half of Berlin was under until fairly recently. "Children belong to the state, not their parents" is a very Communist line of thought.Zaske frequently added disclaimers to statements in Achtung Baby. When I finished, I concluded that, while there are probably a few broad differences in parenting between Germans and Americans, the differences may not be all that great. I don't feel, for instance, that the divide here would be nearly as large as that between US and Asian parents. Shortly after I began this book, I was sitting at Disney's Animal Kingdom waiting for a show, when I heard two people conversing in German behind me. I turned around and asked them (in German!) if they were from Germany. Thankfully, they switched over to flawless English and I learned that they had moved to Florida a few years ago from Stuttgart, along with their then-infant daughter. They both teach at the university here. I told them I'd begun reading a book comparing German and American parenting, and asked them what differences they saw. They both looked a little perplexed, and said that they felt that things probably depended more on the individual parent. They didn't really notice any differences. Stuttgart is in southern Germany, so I'm wondering again whether what Zaske observed was a more Berlin-specific, East German phenomena.What I gathered from the book is that we in the US can help our kids with a few tips from German parents: don't be afraid to give your kids responsibility. Let them play outdoors more. Let them play creatively rather than always in a planned, academic, media-focused way.Zaske finishes Achtung Baby: "The biggest lesson I learned in Germany is that my children are not really mine. They belong first and foremost to themselves. I already knew this intellectually, but when I saw parents in Germany put this value into practice, I saw how differently I was acting."

  • Stephanie Moran
    2019-05-13 20:26

    Sara Zaske wrote this book about her experiences of raising her children in Berlin, Germany. Instead of being preachy and telling parent's do's and don't's, she explains her direct experiences with a different mode of parenting. What I love about Zaske is not only is she open minded to German parenting methods, but she is completely honest with her thought process, the surprises she encountered, and honest when she disagrees with some of it. What Zaske shares is that German culture and German schooling expects parents to give their children certain freedoms and rights. Basically that kids will be responsible for themselves from an young age - this includes going to the park alone, walking to school alone, travel, etc. Zaske is honest that she doesn't readily give her children the complete freedom that some of the other parents do, but basically that she eventually gives her children more freedoms as the get used to their routines. German schools also value free play, and lots of it, during school. This is something beyond what Americans can imagine. Germans have found children are more focused when they need to be the more free time and play they are given. I really loved hearing this, although it makes it hard for me to imagine that happening here in America. German early schooling also incorporates decision making. For example, the teachers ask students for ideas on what they should learn next and then everyone participates. Zaske talks about how in Germany the parents often band together to make changes in their schools for the benefit of their children. While the US has the PTA organization, American parents tend to not be involved - I feel the direct cause of this is organized sports and clubs that Americans are obsessed with. They don't have time - Germans seem to not be into organized activities for children and are more supportive of free play, where children make the decisions on what to do with their time. I feel that is a much more natural approach. Zaske does give a brief explanation on how her children had to adjust when moving back to America and the expectations here. She also mentions some of the changes that she has tried to implement. I think it would be interesting if she was able to get more of the positive parts of German-influenced school approaches implemented here. California, where the author lives, seems like the perfect area to do a trial. Great read, excellent resources, & relieved me of some of the stress and guilt I held since I am apt to give my children some more freedoms than others see as appropriate.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-29 18:19

    If you have kids or care for kids or teach kids, you need to read this book. In Achtung Baby, Sara Zaske shows us American parents how much we can learn from the Germans. They're outpacing us in virtually every metric -- success, happiness, mental health, physical health, economics. We need to take their lead and let our kids learn by doing, instead of keeping them in bubbles or suburban "safety" where they can't walk to school or choose what to do with their time. "We've created a culture of control. In the name of safety and academic achievement, we have stripped kids of fundamental rights and freedoms, the freedom to move, to be alone for even a few minutes, to take risks, to play, to think for themselves."It's time to let kids have their childhood back and, ultimately, to give them a better chance at a successful, happy adulthood. Ironically, it's the supposedly authoritarian Germans who have the most to teach us freedom-loving Americans about giving our kids the room to grow that they need -- by being less controlling.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-05 23:22

    I really enjoyed this book. I found it fascinating to compare cultures of child rearing. Much like Bringing Up Bebe, but with more studies to back up her findings. I appreciated hearing about her return to the US and learning to re-adapt to the culture she left. As with Bringing Up Bebe much of this was how I was raised (in the US, but many years ago).

  • Anne Willette
    2019-04-27 23:19

    This is a perfect pairing to how to raise an adult

  • Karin
    2019-04-27 00:11

    This is an interesting, well-written book about an American family who spent 6 yrs in Germany and what Sara and her family learned about raising kids in a letting-go way. To raise responsible, self reliant kids, German parents let them do things like: walk to school by themselves, go to the store and park by themselves, go on the subway by themselves, ride bikes by themselves. AS soon as the kids are asking to do something and the parents feel it will help them function better in their world, they hold their breath and say 'yes'. Not everyone; the helicopter parent is also alive in Germany but the laws and attitudes of the majority make sure that children keep those rights. Reminds me of when i was growing up. WE could ride our bikes anywhere, go for a 15 minute walk to the candy store, walk to the library if we wanted to go. Now kids can barely sneeze without being checked for the flu. This was a lot easier when we lived in the city. Tom would come to us and say what he felt like he should be allowed to do and we would talk about it. I would watch him to see if he was actually following the rules of the road and of biking and if he was, increase his boundry-lines. Somewhere along the line he was allowed to go to the park down the street as long as he was with a friend or 2.Unfortunately in the hilly countryside at the edge of North Bay, it's a bit harder to 'let' my daughter have the same freedom as it's hard for a kid to learn how to ride a bike and practise on the road we live on. So biking is done as a father-daughter activity where they drive to the city and then bike around. Hopefully this summer she'll be confident enough to ride around on our street. (She learned how to ride a bike just last year, thanks to our busy, hilly street and the fact that we were doing ocd therapy when she was little and that took up our energy and time). We had tried it a few times with Tom's old kiddie - bike, but she was too scared, so we gave up. It wasn't that important compared to therapy and dancing.I like the values in this book and hope i'll remember. Kat is almost 12 now, so the 11 yr old age-restrictions are behind us. I worried when i left my 10 yr old in the car with the doors locked and a book, more about what other adults would say, than if she were going to get kidnapped. As an only child (she's 14 yrs younger than her brother) she's very responsible and adult about many things. I and my dh just need to not be afraid of what others think, trust ourselves and how well we know our daughter and slowly let her go.I was always a proponent of stay-at-home mothering if i could but when my son was a child I worked part-time as a substitute teacher, so Tom went to different child care arrangement. He liked going to after-school care at his first school, and they let me pay by the day, so sometime's i'd let him go there just to play with his friends.According to Zaske, this is good for kids. IN Germany most kids go to day cares after their long parental leaves are over. These are play based day cares. The way she described them make me rethink my 'mommy is best' beliefs. Katrina started day care at 14 months b/c my ocd was so bad, i wanted her to learn what it was like to be around normal people! Foretunately we were able to get 2-days-a -week care b/c of my illness while my dh was back at school. Later when he was working we just paid it ourselves until she was old enuf for pre-k. In Germany however, the preschool teachers are all educated. It's not a minimum wage job. The teachers find out what the children want to learn and then provide them with time, materials etc to do the learning. This even includes how to use matches, knives and other tools! They believe kids need to learn how to be comfortable in their environment instead of just to be safe. Learning how to use the tools is more empowering and safe than being told just to stay away from them.

  • Arielle
    2019-05-13 22:16

    I really enjoyed reading this book! It was interesting to learn about how the German desire to raise self-reliant, independent children leads to differing norms and practices in parenting and schooling. While I'm not going to adopt all of the ideas in the book that she suggested, there were many ideas that I will.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-24 00:41

    I was excited about this books debut. I enjoy reading books about various parenting techniques. I pick and chose what works for our family. Achtung Baby started out interesting as the author compared and contrasted various parenting methods and observations from her experiences as a parent in USA and Germany. As the book went on I felt like author was defending the choices she has made as a parent that she feels guilty about. Ultimately left me disappointed.

  • Carin
    2019-05-11 22:13

    I am not a parent so you wouldn't think I am the audience for this book but it was utterly fascinating. Sara and her husband moved to Germany for his work, along with their baby. It takes them a while to get settled in. but once they do, everyone starts asking Sara when they're going to enroll their toddler in preschool/daycare. Sara is confused as she's not working so she had assumed that she was taking care of their daughter, especially since a mother is the best and most important person in her world and in the best position to provide her with everything she needs, right? Right? Well, that's certainly not the assumption in Berlin. Instead, it is assumed that the child will learn from her peers and learn how to navigate social settings, along with a lot of other benefits, and it's kind of crazy not to send your child to school. So, Sara realizes she can pursue her long-delayed dream of being a writer and send her daughter to daycare, only to discover she's pregnant again.So now she gets to navigate the German system from scratch, learning about how your register at the hospital ahead of time, even for a home birth, so if things go awry and you end up at the hospital, you aren't trying to fill out mounds of paperwork while in active labor. She meets her midwives, and the one for after the birth is especially helpful in showing Sara how, by not saying no to her son at all to anything during the day, she was in part creating the situation where he screamed all night. It's not Ferberizing, but it also isn't attachment parenting at all. Which makes sense, in a country where people park their strollers with kids in them outside a restaurant or coffee shop before they go inside to eat and see friends.And that's not the only baffling thing Sara experiences in the five years of raising her kids there. in kindergarten children do these long, complicated projects where they have to not only learn about a topic they pick out, but figure out what they're going to learn, and where they're going to get the information from. She's confused that one of the topics to be mastered in grade school is "traffic and mobility" until she discovers that, by third grade, her daughter is the only one in her class whose parent is still walking her to school. All the rest walk or bike themselves to school, crossing busy streets, some of them going further than a mile. Then she gets a permission slip asking if it's okay for her daughter to use matches at school in a section about fire. That's after the section they've already done on knives.Obviously, Germans value autonomy and independence above all else in school. And while Grammar and math might take a back seat in the first few years (they don't really care if a child hasn't mastered reading by the end of first grade, figuring he/she will learn eventually when they're ready), scores on international testing, the same tests where Americans score abysmally so we add more testing, and our scores get worse, they do pretty well. A big part of this mentality comes from the understandable very strong anti-totalitarianism mentality in Germany. And there are still some residual differences in the former East Germany, where, for example, the rates of day care use are highest, as under communism all women worked.While the book is pitched as a parenting guide for parenting the German way, I instead read it as a memoir of moving to Germany with a young family, with a side of sociology about the educational field. And as someone childless by choice, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read it in just over one day. Couldn't put it down. And couldn't stop talking about it for weeks afterwards, thoroughly annoying all my friends and family.

  • India
    2019-05-18 19:24

    First up, I'm a Mother living in Germany who originates from the UK and I bought this book to help me understand the differences between the two cultures (parenting wise). I'll do this review in English because I think most readers will be American/British people wanting the same.I burned through this book in a day because it's an entertaining and easy read (I took it to the park and read, whilst my daughter played in the sand). I loved the style of writing, it didn't preach but made a good case for most of the claims (backed up by data, although sometimes the comparisons weren't like for like I noticed). The author is also careful to state that this is HER experience in Berlin and that regionality plays a huge part in the variance across Germany. There are mentions of other Berlin parents but this won't give you a picture of other parts of Germany.The bottom line is that a bilingual Kita in Berlin is going to do things very differently from a Kita where they speak only German in Baden Württemberg (where I live). I'll be honest, some of the most awesome things in this book (overnights at Kita and week-long vacations without parents at 6 years old) I don't expect come as standard, but I'll find out :)I think the book is fantastic for a general snapshot of Berlin attitudes to parenting in modern Germany as opposed to wider American ideas. I absolutely loved it for Zaske's point of view, and the fact I couldn't put it down speaks volumes.

  • Janet
    2019-05-16 22:31

    I think that this book is a rift on the "Europeans do it so much better" ala fika and hygge and everything Scandinavian, Finnish schools being better and Danish Parenting, etc. etc. Did I learn anything from the book? Not really ... I was raised to be self-reliant and not to turn to an anxious mummy who is wondering if her friends are judging her for how she raised her kids. This book feeds into the horrifying aspect of MOMMY SHAMING that is so evidenced in social media --- even celebrities get Mommy Shamed!Will you learn something from this book? Maybe .. but I would not really, in my honest opinion, recommend this book as you won't really learn anything new and usable until YOU turn off your anxiety and not worry about feeling bad about how you raise YOUR kid. Work on that and then maybe read this book.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-08 22:12

    This is an excellent book that blends memoir with research to explore differences in American and German culture as relates to parenting. It is readable and informative and would be a great book to spark discussion.I received an ARC from NetGalley. The book will be available on January 2, 2018.

  • Jennifer Lara
    2019-05-04 22:22

    Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske is a memoir of sorts as she recounts her parenting experience while living abroad in Germany. She describes the cultural shock and barriers as she begins her life in Germany and a young mother of a toddler. Ms. Zaske discusses the American view and attitudes of the German people and discovers it’s all wrong. She also discusses the strengths in the German parenting styles and their educational system and compares the weaknesses of the American parenting styles and its educational system. She covers the topics of the attachment theory which American parenting advice books seem to give great importance to early education in play rather than instruction. The German educational system is designed to let the children have an active role in what they learn and how they learn. The children learn from the very beginning with hands on experience. Is there anything Americans can learn from German parents? Achtung Baby is an interesting read as I discovered the German educational system and how the parenting styles emphasizes teaching self-reliance and independence in their children almost from the very beginning. Ms. Zaske asks that American take a hard look as to why “we” don’t. While I disagreed with some of her assertions about American parenting, you cannot argue with the fact that something needs to change in American parenting. Ms. Zaske had excellent points. She points out that Americans have the attitude of “work is life.” This attitude is that you are defined by what you do for a living and it’s so true. I also found myself realizing that I do do some of the things that German parents do for their children in order to instill confidence and independence in their children. I found Achtung Baby fascinating and I recommend it for all parents as well as those who are becoming parents.Achtung Babywill be available January 2, 2018in hardcover and eBook

  • Lidia Radzio
    2019-05-25 01:16

    Knowing relaxed atmosphere of Berlin, I was sure it's a nice place to raise kids. However, when we've finally moved here, the city surprised us on many levels. And changed us a lot. We've learnt the "German approach" to parenthood from our neighbours and our kids' mates as well as from school and institutions, which constantly supported us. It wasn't long, when we realized, that our kids are happier and more self-confident. But what's this "German approach"? Well, It's as simple as allowing your kid to go outside without a jacket in a cold day. Or to quit boring piano lessons. Or as difficult as trusting that choices your kid makes are good (even if you'd make things a different way). This book describes many of my own experiences even if I'm not American. I totally recommend it to all parents, not only those who consider moving to Germany. 

  • Christine Henneberg
    2019-04-24 19:26

    I thought this was going to be an imitation of Bringing up Bebe, which I had just finished. To my surprise, I liked it better. Zaske's writing is less crafty and less fun than Druckerman's, but her book is more substantial: The content is better researched and, frankly, of greater consequence. She doesn't muse about German women's health and fitness routines or compare her American body to theirs. (How does a chapter on "losing the baby weight" belong in any book on parenting, anyway?) Instead she focuses on German history and social change over the past century and explains how they impact common child-rearing approaches, mainly discipline and education. Well-referenced, with several practical suggestions in each chapter on how American parents can organize to influence policy and norms in the U.S. to allow for more selbstandigkeit for our own children.

  • Susan
    2019-04-27 00:31

    This book is a combination of a memoir, a journalistic piece, and a how to book. The author, an American, moved from the Bay Area to Germany with her husband and toddler. She notices that Germans give their children more freedom than Americans- German children walk to school at a young age, for example. For the next six years, she observes and learns how the Germans raise self- sufficient children who walk to school at 5 and take city buses at 7, cut fruit in pre school and learn to light matches in first grade. The stories of her family and their encounters with Germans and their customs are funny and instructive too. My children are grown but I remain fascinated by books about child development and child rearing - really fascinating.

  • Courtney Stofko
    2019-05-08 23:25

    This book was extremely eye-opening to not only parenting in another country, but just living in another country. Not gonna lie, it kind of made me want to go to Germany.My issues with this book were that 1. there were SO many references to various studies, articles, various psychologist's/teacher's/parents opinions and 2. I felt like the author got a little preachy at times. I really just wanted facts, like what her kids experience in Germany vs. in the US. However, I don't think there would have been enough for a whole book if she hadn't included how many various opinions, including her own. Overall, it's worth a read just because it's extremely fascinating. I don't have kids, nor do I plan to anytime soon, and I got a lot out of it.

  • Liz
    2019-05-21 20:14

    I found it difficult to connect with the first few chapters in this book. The author had initially subscribed to some of the more extreme beliefs of attachment parenting, so I couldn't help but think "well of course your parenting style is at odds with the German style--it's at odds with most American parenting beliefs too!!"As the book goes on, there are some truly interesting chapters about German life, including a section about how the generations that followed WWII have wrestled with the atrocities committed by their ancestors during the Holocaust. For sure, there is definitely some overlap between the concepts of this book and those in "Bringing Up Bebe" but I still recommend this quick and compelling read! Also, now I really want to visit Berlin.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-28 18:38

    An honest, conversational account of raising young children as American expats in Germany. I'm interested in this type of book because it's just fun to see how other people live and I can usually get some useful ideas. This one was good - nothing shocking or new really, but some good realistic advice on how to give children more freedom in this country full of helicopter parents. "German parents worry too, but they refuse to let fear drive their interactions with their kids. They treat their children as capable beings worthy of trust, and, most important, they respect their children's rights; to move freely, think for themselves, and ultimately as they grow older, to run their own lives."

  • Mythili
    2019-04-29 23:20

    Some of the anthropology-light annoyed me, and the general idea-- that American parents need to stop coddling their kids so much-- is a familiar one, but there's a lot of sensible stuff here and no shortage of concrete examples of how different cultural norms bring out different qualities in kids. Also, her kids' daycare/preschool sounds fantastic. I liked that near the end of the book Zaske took some time to think about how intimately parenting is connected to society-building (and the many forms that work takes).

  • Kirsten
    2019-05-16 02:22

    I liked this pretty well, for the most part - though I did start skimming by the end. More of a parenting memoir than a straight how-to parenting book (which is fine with me as I much prefer the former!). The American parents she knows are definitely, um, more high-strung than the ones I know, but I can't deny that those attitudes are part of general American culture.

  • Sonja
    2019-05-10 18:25

    I generally like the book. As a German with an American husband raising a small child I thought this book might illustrate some of the differences in our approaches. It does. There are about ten German words in the book - sadly they are mostly misspelled.. be it the capitalization of nouns (or lack thereof) and then: the word is Abitur, not arbitur... :)

  • Ang
    2019-05-17 18:33

    I'm not a parent, so ymmv with this one, but how interesting! It was super fast and breezy, and the personal anecdotes mixed with the science REALLY worked for me. Food for thought for us as a society for sure, and for parents specifically.

  • Carola
    2019-05-12 00:26

    A comparison of the child-rearing practices common in Berlin as compared with the US. The author laments saw first-hand how US culture makes it difficult for children to become independent and confident. It was perhaps a little longer than it needed to be to get the point across.

  • Rae
    2019-05-19 02:37

    They do education and parenting differently in Germany. Self-reliance is the norm.

  • Katie
    2019-05-04 20:36

    This was a really nice read!

  • Karin Garcia
    2019-05-10 22:23

    The author had many ideas that I strongly disagreed with and some I heartily agreed with, so it was an interesting read. It did challenge me to change a lot of my own mentality as I raise my kids.

  • Heather O'Leary
    2019-04-25 00:20

    An interesting look at German parenting philosophy. Recommended for parents interested in seeing how things are done in other cultures.

  • Bethany99
    2019-04-28 23:15

    really liked it