In France ‘neurotic’ isn’t a self-deprecating half-boast; it’s a clinical condition.
This culture of honouring anxiety seems to have made some anglophone parents lose their common sense. It turns out that French babies sleep through the night because their parents wait a few moments before rushing in to pick them up when they cry, to check if they really are awake. Parents talk to their children as if they are rational humans, and it turns out they are. Feeding babies vegetables and fruit helps to develop their palates; not giving them snacks means they have an appetite at lunchtime. A lot of the time it’s astonishing that this is news to anyone, but apparently it is, and if occasionally Druckerman labours the point, it’s hardly surprising when you consider the vast literature of anxiety she’s up against.