Well, little did we know that I would have a new phrase, "Parenthood is not for wimps." Not because being a mom and dad was difficult, but because it broke our hearts to see our little girl of 17 days in a very life-threatening situation. Well, our little girl is healthy now, having outgrown the SVT. Days can still be tough though. Now we deal with all that makes a little girl a little girl. Each day is a blessing, but that does not mean that our days are easy!
Well, there are now some new (because we all know there are lots of books out there) instructions for parents in the form of research, life experience, and advice for parents of boys and girls in the books Bringing Up Boys and Bringing Up Girls. Bringing Up Boys was published years ago, and finally, Dr. James Dobson has written for the fairer sex...Bringing Up Girls.
I really liked the way that Dobson wrote this book (in his typical style, if you have read any of his other books, such as The Strong-Willed Child.) There is plenty of research to back up what he says, but he shares it in an easy to read book.
One thing that I read over and over again is how important fathers are to their daughters and for the future of their daughters. Dobson included information from everything from hormones to bullies.
One thing that Bringing Up Girls helped me to understand is that it is very important for us, as the parents, to tell our daughter that she is beautiful. In the past, I had limited saying things of this sort, despite my daughter's outward beauty. Now I am really trying to change that, letting my little girl know she is beautiful, while making sure she knows that it is the inner beauty that truly matters. At three years of age, I don't think it is too soon for these discussions!
Like any book on parenting, it is hard to agree with all of it. Some readers may be surprised by this, but I disagreed with his perspective on the princess phenomenon that needs to be addressed in every home that has a little girl in it. First, I will say everything in moderation...but when it comes to princesses I tend to be careful, but would never ban them from our home. Even Christian marketing seems to have jumped on this with using the phrase, "God's Little Princess." Sorry, friends, I'm just not convinced. Dr. Dobson didn't convince me either.
Dobson did give some credit to those who dislike all things princess, but mostly portrayed these mothers as feminists. I did like the following that he had to say (pages 121-122).
The better approach, I believe, is to carefully scrutinize and select that which will be allowed into the lives of our children.
Our job is to teach and itnerpret for them what they need to understand. They will learn farm ore directily from us than from
storybook fantasies...Ultimately, mothers will have to decide whether or not to introcude their girls to this
and other forms of make believe. It si my belief that the good outweighs the bad in the princess movement,
and it is certainly better than Bratz dolls or the adolescent world of Barbie.
So for our children, we won't be having a princess birthday party, but we still read fairy tales and even own several Cinderella books and even a dress-up doll that was a hand-me-down that is well-loved. We just don't want it to become a focus of all of our pretend play. Thankfully, our daughter is happy to act out Jack and the Beanstalk and David and Goliath even more than Cinderella.
Dobson brought something up that surprised me. He suggested not to allow boys (teenagers) babysit your children due to all of their hormones. His thought is that you can't be too cautious when it comes to protecting your children. I'm not sure if I fully agree with that. I have a (much) younger brother just out of his teen years that I would be happy to let my children spend time with him.
This is definitely an excellent resource for parents with many, many valuable lessons in it. I have asked my husband to read it next, because I think its invaluable for fathers! This may be a Christian book, but I think just about all of the information in it could be appreciated by someone that is not a Christian.
I don't have to agree with every word in Bringing Up Girls to highly recommennd this book to any parent of a girl...infant through college, and maybe even beyond! This is a book worth buying, or at least borrowing just to read it.
Thank you Tyndale House Publishers for a review copy.