04 August 2013

Raising Girls: Steve Biddulph

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It's a rare occasion that I find myself roaming around the non-fiction section of my local library - I'm definitely more of a fiction reader. But a few weeks back, I was looking for something a bit different to read - something which would expand my knowledge of ... something.

When I saw this book on the shelf, it jumped out at me (well not literally - books don't just jump off shelves, you know that, right?). As you know, it's called Raising Girls and seeing as I have three of them, I thought it might be worth a read.

Unfortunately, I found its tone at the start off-putting. It was overly familiar - like when a person you hardly know assumes you have the same opinions and attempts to create an in-joke. And perhaps my first impression clouded my opinion from then on, but I felt like it started from quite a negative standpoint (all the things which can go wrong, or which parents do wrong), with positive spins (this is how you can get it right). Instead of making me reflect on what I've done right so far and looking forward to developing relationships with my daughters as they grow, I started making myself feel guilty about little bits and pieces I had done "wrong" and became terrified of what my daughters will face as teenagers.

There were some pieces of advice which were great, noble ideas but completely impractical. At one place in the book, it was suggested that mother and daughter have a weekend away once per year, just the two of them. At another point in the book, it was suggested that father and daughter have a weekend away once per year, just the two of them. By my calculations, with three daughters and two parents, my family would be up for six weekends away without us getting a chance to all spend the weekend away together - I don't think so.

Negatives out of the way - overall the book contained good insight into raising daughters, particularly for me, as a window to the future regarding the stages we haven't reached yet. The book splits girlhood into five stages of development. Each stage asks a "big" question and works towards an outcome. Some things are intuitive; others aren't. It was a good book to open my eyes to what's out there and make me think about what each of my girls is going through at their unique stage in life right now, as well as into the future.


Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I have given this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: A bit patronising in parts and some throw-away comments made it sound like the author was on his high horse, but the book contained good insight into raising daughters

2 comments:

  1. I was actually given the book 'Raising Boys' by the same author and when I think back, I'm sure I had the same feelings you did when starting to read the book, perhaps that's why I never finished it!

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  2. I was also lent a copy of Raising Boys & found the tone rather too preachy, and even as the mother of a 6 month old boy I was feeling guilty about what I had done to damage him!!

    I decided that if I loved my boy, showed him I loved him, surrounded him with people who loved and appreciated him and gave him strong boundaries, a guiding hand and a home that was pleasant, easy to be in and had a sense of joy in it, then we couldn't go too wrong!

    I think you are raising lovely girls & if you trust yourself and what is in your heart you won't go wrong!

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