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

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

By Sara Zaske, Katherine Etzel (Index by)

Picador USA, 9781250160171, 256pp.

Publication Date: January 2, 2018



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 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.

About the Author

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 newspaper in the UK, and Germany's largest Sunday paper, Bild am Sontag. She's a former staff reporter for the San Francisco Examiner where she covered a range of issues including education, health and human services, and development. She now lives in the eastern suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.