When first opening this book I was gripped, and I don’t say that lightly. As a mother of a young girl and a high school teacher, where I see many girls feeling head on the challenges that today’s world provides, I was hooked from the first page of ’10 Things That Girls Need Most’.
Let me explain why… it’s perhaps easy to let what we see everyday as small, imperfect things, pass by. We see girls experiencing and doing things differently to how we grew up but we may feel like we don’t have much control and today’s girls seem so independent.
Under the surface of our care-free, independent girls there can be a different story of angst, depression, anxiety, insecurity. This is is often so well hidden that even the closest caregivers may be unaware of how desperately in need of help some of our girls are.
Let me explain just how badly our girls need our help. As an experienced counsellor to young girls Steve Biddulph says that in a classroom full of 15 year old girls, 3 or 4 of these girls could show you cuts or scratches on their arms. During times of great stress they seek relief by hurting themselves. Another 3 or 4 in that same classroom will be in the early phases of an eating disorder- usually bulimia. 4 or 5 girls will be sexually active. In fact, they will likely tell you that they don’t enjoy sex, but instead do it to please the boys. They believe that sex is simply what a girl has to do to be special and interesting. 1 in 5 girls will be on antidepressant or anti-anxiety drugs. In fact, without this medication they would sometimes not be able to leave their bedrooms to face the world due to to the enormous amounts of pressure they feel. Some of these girls are the most highly achieving in the class.
What went wrong?
As an experienced high school teacher, I believe these numbers are no exaggeration. You are probably asking yourself: what the heck has gone wrong?
Somehow, within the last 20 years childhood and adolescence has changed. Today, the world is more lonely, unkind and pressured. There is pressure from advertising, social media and TV to be amazing and cool. There is also pressure from parents and schools to be successful academically.
With all this happening, at the same time, the availability and friendly support from adults who love them and raise them is reduced as we are inhumanely busy. In fact, the time spent in nature, and time for dreaming, affection, creating and being themselves has been stripped away. We have done this unwittingly yet relentlessly and the pressures that our daughters now experience are the results.
For these reasons, if you have a young girl you need to read this book. You will find out how to raise girls that are strong and free.
Your daughter is unique. There is no-one else like her in the whole world. (Steve Biddulph)
10 Key Needs
If you have a girl or several girls of your own this book gives 10 clear chapters on the things they need most from their family and friends to thrive in today’s world. These 10 key things are:
- A secure and loving start
- The chance to be wild and the time to be a child
- Friendship skills
- The love and respect of a dad
- A happy sexuality
- Backbone and strength
The book is not only filled with absolutely vital advice and tips to ensure your understanding of our young girls’ needs, it also provides the reader with questions quizzes. You may wonder if these are worthwhile and time wasting, and I’ve read many books where these kinds of activities are useless, but in this case that’s absolutely not the case. The questions really make you reflect on your experiences as a child and how these experiences have positively or negatively impacted on how you interact with your young girl today.
Can you remember in your childhood when you were really happy and free? What age was that? What was great about it? What did other people do, if anything, to make that possible?
Was there a time in your childhood that you felt that you were not happy and free? When was that? What happened to make you feel that way? What could others have done to help you at that time?
Am I too busy? Yes, but I need to be to survive. Yes, and I want to do something about it. Sometimes things get crazy, but we usually calm down again. We’ve made certain changes and we’re living at a slower pace than we used to, so it’s much better now.
These questions are just a snapshot. Having read the book and gone through the questions and exercises they have 100% made me reflect on the good and bad things going on in my life and how they impact my strengths and weaknesses as a parent to a girl.
The role of Aunties
An interesting chapter in the book is the one on aunties. I feel that aunts are not often the focus when thinking about the important factors in raising girls.
Aunties are great when girls are little, but it’s in the teen years that they become crucial. (Steve Biddulph).
Girls need cool, wise, feisty and tough-minded aunties to provide four key things: confrontation, comfort, challenge and praise. Aunties can talk tough and give crucial advice that girls need to keep themselves safe. They can talk girls out of worrying what boys think. They are able to teach young girls how to deal with and spot boys worth caring about and those that are trouble. Aunties are in a unique position to do this and families should take advantage of the skills aunts have to offer.
1. Great interactive activities that help you reflect
2. Super easy to read, pick up and put down
3. Steve knows what he’s talking about and this book will change you as a parent
1. It’s a long road to success- you won’t see results immediately
2. The earlier you read this book the better, but it’s NEVER TOO LATE
3. It’s honestly hard to think of a number 3- I wish I could meet Steve Biddulph
It all begins in your arms, with your daughter knowing that she is cherished and safe. But to give her that security, we have to be in the right place ourselves. (Steve Biddulph).
If you have a role in raising girls you should absolutely get this book. It will change you and make you more understanding of the needs of girls in today’s world. There are a few books in this world that are vital to read, and if you’re a parent of a girl, this is one. Get it; you won’t look back. Even if you know someone who is a parent and you think they need a hand, get them this book. You’ll help make the world a better place and you will make someone thankful from the bottom of their heart. Simply, I cannot recommend this book enough. Wherever Steve is, I thank him for putting this book out there to help change lives 🙂
Thanks for reading this review. I’d love to hear what you think. If you can spare a minute, please could you write a comment in the box below? Your feedback would really help me. Also, if you found this article interesting, I think you might like another of my articles on the signs of depression in teenage girls, please take a look at it here.