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Achtung Baby: The German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

Sara Zaske

3 Reviews

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Advice on parenting

In the tradition of French Children Don't Throw Food and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a clarion call and practical guide for a return to rational parenting, following the Germans' common sense approach

An entertaining, enlightening look at the art of raising self-reliant, independent children based on one Mum's experiences in Germany.

'Warm and companionable . . . I closed Achtung Baby feeling more relaxed and confident. While both my kids were up a tree.' - Helen Brown, Daily Mail

When Sara Zaske moved from Oregon to Berlin with her husband and toddler, she was surprised to discover that German parents give their children a great deal of freedom. In Berlin, kids walk to school by themselves, ride the subway alone, cut food with sharp knives and even play with fire. German parents did not share her parental fears and their children were thriving. Was she doing the opposite of what she intended, which was to raise capable children?

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 other parents don't (or have perhaps forgotten) about raising kids with 'selbstandigkeit' (self-reliance), and provides many new and practical ideas parents everywhere can use to give their own children the freedom they need to grow into responsible, independent adults.

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Praise for Achtung Baby: The German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

  • Zaske details her experience mothering in Germany to present a portrait of German-style parenting that is at once entertaining, surprising, and instructive. With curiosity and insight, she reveals how many of our parenting assumptions stem not from evidence but from insecurity and fear - Kim Brooks, author of The Houseguest and Small Animals, and editor, Salon.com

  • I was completely drawn into this marvelous account of how Zaske learned to trust her children and allow them the freedoms they craved. It is the story of one family and, at the same time, of childrens' and parents' lives in two huge modern nations. I recommend it to all American parents, educators, policy makers, and others concerned with children's lives and the future of our society - Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn: How Releasing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

  • This is a beautiful book. Zaske uses her personal experience raising her children in Berlin to reveal the differences - fundamental and trivial, serious and humorous - between German and American parenting, finding lessons in the ways Germans rear their children from birth to adolescence. Zaske probes our cultural differences and mines the hard data to offer us her pungent observations. Her insights deserve our attention - Robert LeVine, author of Do Parents Matter?

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Sara Zaske

Sara Zaske is an American writer who lived in Berlin for six and half years. Her articles on her family's experiences in Germany have appeared on Time.com, The Times, and Germany's largest Sunday paper, Bild am Sontag. She now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.

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