Monday, May 8, 2017

The Princess Bitchface Syndrome 2.0

The Princess Bitchface Syndrome 2.0, Michael Carr-Gregg and Elly Robinson

This fully revised version of Carr-Gregg’s book caught my eye - its bright pink cover and arresting title tends to do that.   Which also meant I kept it hidden from the prying eyes of my own children.

He outlines the main issues with teenage girls, particularly the ones he defines as ‘Princess B’s’ – the somewhat more extreme version of the teen female.  He charts stages of adolescence and the current pressures at home, school and in cyberspace.

Then he helps parents to think through how to help their teen grow and mature.  He outlines various styles of parenting, concluding that authoritative (rather than permissive or authoritarian) is the way to go.   He has common sense tips and strategies to help with all the main issues, and then some detailed chapters on sex, bullying, alcohol, illegal drugs and mental health.

In the end, it’s a helpful, all-encompassing guide to the main issues girls face and gives practical wisdom and tips for parents.

A couple of things that were helpful:
  • When considering the online life, present choices in terms of four ‘P’s’ – people that your daughter should be OK with people seeing about them online – that is - parents, police, school principal or a paedophile.  If you wouldn’t want those 4 groups to see what you are doing or saying online, don’t do or say it.
  • There were many references to other resources, such as how to talk with your children about pornography ( and helpful tools for mental health (eg. MoodGym, Brave Program, etc)

One of the things I find with secular parenting books is the lack of an overall reason for the parenting strategies, or an overall goal to where you are headed.   It was highlighted most clearly with the questions that girls ask themselves at different ages:
Ages 10-14 – Am I normal?
Ages 14-17 – Who am I?  Where do I belong?
Ages 17-20 – Where am I going?
We need to acknowledge these are questions young people ask, but parents are left a little stranded if they have no worldview that helps them to enable their daughter to answer them.

As Christians, much of what we teach our kids speaks to these issues.  “Who am I?”  Well, I may be a teenage girl, but I am also a beloved child of God.    “Where do I belong?”   In a community that loves and cares for you.  

In the end, the authority of these books lies with the author, and parents need to decide whether they agree with the principles and strategies proposed.  No higher or wiser authority is cited.  As believers, of course we appreciate the wisdom of parenting experts, but also want to seek the complete wisdom of the author of the universe.

So, this is a great resource for non-Christians who are parenting teenage girls.  Christian parents could find it helpful and practical, but perhaps want to supplement it with other resources as well.

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