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

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Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self Reliant Children by Sara Zaske has been on my list to read for a long time because my spouse is from Germany, and I was curious about an American perspective on German parenting. We also want to raise our children with values from both cultures, so I was eager to learn.

Zaske’s book surprised me in a lot of ways. I thought I had done a good job of letting my daughter experiment and try things for herself without overshadowing her. But reading about how much autonomy children have in Berlin, even children under five, I realized I and the U.S. have a long way to go. I do feel it is important to mention this memoir is Berlin-specific, and Zaske herself notes that there are regional differences, although most of these parenting philosophies reach across Germany.

The other main point that surprised me about this book is that the German parents that Zaske interviewed didn’t necessarily enjoy providing their children with a lot of autonomy and selbstandigkeit (self-reliance), but they felt it was important for their success as future adults. They still felt very worried about letting children do things for themselves or having more distance than most American parents would tolerate, but the German parents felt there was an important purpose to it. Zaske’s book was a fun, thought-provoking read. It’s has helped me reflect on how I want to do things differently and also on what I am doing right.


Reviewed By:

Author Sara Zaske
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Picador 
Publish Date 2018-Jan-02
ISBN 9781250160171
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2018
Category Parenting & Families
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