Friday, October 8, 2010

Bringing up Girls

Book Review: Bringing Up Girls, Dr. James Dobson

In the past 12 months, I have read a bit about girls (5 Conversations, Girltalk, Getting Real) and am keen to keep thinking about raising daughters. This recent release by Dr. James Dobson seemed an obvious choice. I read his Bringing Up Boys a few years ago, and recall enjoying it (I plan to re-read it in the next few months).

It's a good book, very easy to read being full of anecdotes and stories. That makes it very quick reading. Sometimes I think there are a few too many anecdotes, and I would prefer a bit more 'meat', but having said that it's still definitely worth a read.

Here are some things I liked and that it made me think about:

1. Passing on your faith to your children is vital
If it is true that children should be trained in the knowledge of the Lord, and Scripture tells us it is, then there is one task in parenting that outranks all others in significance. It is the responsibility of Christian mothers and fathers to introduce their children to Jesus Christ and to cultivate their understanding of Him at every opportunity. (p258)
2. Mothers are critical. I guess we know this deep down, but as a mother, it's certainly nice to read it.
To put it succinctly, Mom, you are indispensable. The start your baby gets in life is in your hands - and in your voice and in your heart. What a wonderful privilege and responsibility it is to welcome her with open arms. (p62)

3. Involved fathers (or father figures) are crucial. Interestingly there was one chapter about mothers and daughters, but 3 about fathers. There is a place for a father with girls that a mother cannot fill (p88). These chapters about fathers I found very helpful and I will place this book in my husband's hands, for him to read those chapters if nothing else. I suspect mothers have an intrinsic understanding of how their daughters work, but girls can mystify their fathers - this will help both to realise how important fathers are, and how much power fathers hold in the healthy development of their daughters.
I have watched daughters talks to fathers... Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers. They might take their mothers for granted, but not you [fathers]. They light up - or they cry. They watch you intensely. They hang on your words. They hope for your attention, and they wait for it in frustration - or in despair ... Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can't shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives to no other man. (p19-20)
4. As parents, we need to stay in touch with what interests our kids - online, movies, music, books, etc.

5. We need to actively teach against the 'hook-up' culture, which encourages kids to have sex with who ever they want and do whatever they want. We need to instill morals and manners as a priority and work at fighting the prevalent messages of culture.

6. I was surprised how positive he was about the 'princess movement'. (eg. the Disney Princesses) But when I thought about it further, I could understand why. While there are negatives (you need to be beautiful to get Prince Charming, you are only complete with a man, etc), there are some positives. The princesses wait for the right man & they are treated by that man with respect and care. The subtle message is that you wait for Prince Charming, then you marry him, and then you live happily ever after (there is a level of purity here). Often they need to develop some character trait to succeed, and while their clothing has become less appropriate with time, "Cinderella and Snow White do not wear low-rider jeans or thongs" (p120).

There were lots of useful ideas, information and tips that will encourage you along the way as you raise a daughter. And it will keep reminding you that God is sovereign, and that he loves your daughter too.

1 comment:

Mickyd said...

Hi Wendy,

I write a review on this today... should have copied yours!

Anyway here is a briefing article on the princess idea. Thought you might be interested