What are the things girls need most?
The book title “10 Things Girls Need Most” grabbed my attention straightaway. As soon as I gave birth to my daughterI felt overwhelmed at how I was going to teach her what she needed most to be a strong girl and woman. Regular readers will know how it distresses me how girls and women still don’t get a fair deal in society so I wanted my own daughter to be well-equipped growing up.
An accessible read
Steve Biddlulph’s book looks big but is just over 200 pages long and with lots of picture pages. Why does that matter? I am mum who juggles business, work, education and more. I need to know that I can actually find the time to read any book and one this size is great as it is not like “War and Peace” and it is broken down into manageable chunks.
I checked the contents page of 10 things girls need most and was surprised to see that chapter 8 is called “Backbone” I remember my late mum telling me that she had brought me up to have this as she felt it was what every daughter needed. I resisted the temptation to read that chapter first!
I decided to go down the traditional route and start at the beginning of the book but admit to picking the book up at random moments in my day and grasping wise advice from different chapters.
Reflecting on our female journeys
The book starts by looking at the different stages of childhood and what the main developments are for each stage if all goes according to plan. You are asked to look at your own daughter but also at yourself as a child. I found this quite poignant remembering being adopted and also my Mum becoming mentally and physically ill when I was a tween. It started to make sense why I have struggled with insecurity all my life. I also saw gaps where things went awry in my daughter’s life as I struggled with post-natal depression. I am not sure quite how he pulls it off but the author picks you up emotionally really quickly showing how simple tools can repair the gaps and build a more positive future. My husband would not normally want to participate in the challenges in this type of book but he too found it helpful to reflect on his own childhood and how that impacts on his parenting style.
This bit really hurt but also helped to make sense of things for me.
“It all begins in your arms. Her knowing that she is cherished and safe. But to give her that security, we have to be in the right place ourselves”
I spent a year in a convent when I was born waiting to be adopted. My adoptive Dad told me just before he died that he knew that this was a void that despite his best efforts he could never quite fill. My daughter also had that void has I felt detached and worthless in her early babyhood. I was excited to read that girls can have these gaps filled especially around the age of 13 as my daughter became a teenager about a month ago. I have found myself happier in later life and I see her beaming smile and celebrate our love and connection. We have started slowing down and treasuring moments instead of rushing to the next achievement or task. We intend to do more of this and you will read about that on the blog very soon.
Protecting our girls from the pressures of modern life
It disturbed me on reading further to see how society is making our girls grow up way too fast and pushes them towards impossible standards of so-called perfection. Social media, peers and the education system itself all contribute towards this and many of our girls will experience anxiety at best as a result and some will face a mental collapse. I remember being shocked at my college reunion at how many times I was asked if my daughter was “doing well” rather than what she was about as an individual or how happy she was. I will take her mental wellbeing over exams and sporting prowess any day of the week!
Having taken two out of my children out of school, I have seen how home education gives them so much freedom to play and to pursue their own passions. Life is short and they are happier running free. We are going to ensure we strengthen this concept with a major lifestyle change so that they access nature in a more powerful way. Watch this space!
This is a book that will help you think about the impact of screen time, social media and fashion in modern society. It covers big topics such as feminism, sexuality and friendship.
This is one of those books that remains with you as you go about your daily life. It makes sense of so many things in really simple language and is very accessible.
Your story isn’t mine. Your daughter’s experience will differ from mine. However, I urge you to read this book and reflect on your own journeys and how you might change them for the better. Your solutions will be different to mine but this book can really help you think it all through.
Let our girls move forward positively with spark, backbone and spirit!
Steve Biddulph is a world-renowned psychologist, and parenting educator, who, for over 30 years has campaigned for better lives for parents and kids across the globe. He has sold over 3,000,000 copies worldwide and is the author of the massive bestsellers, Raising Girls and Raising Boys.
Now, in answer to the crisis in girls’ mental health, the UK’s bestselling parenting author, Steve Biddulph brings an interactive learning guide rich in content and interactive elements to help parents be prepared and self-aware in providing for their daughters.
In his ground-breaking new book 10 Things Girls Need Most, Steve Biddulph, psychologist and parent educator offers an interactive experience for parents to explore the relationship with their girls from the cradle to the her teenager years. It is a guided journey of exercises, conversations, reflections and self-rating questionnaires that builds the inner capacities in a parent, targeted at each stage of their daughters growing up.
Every aspect – love and security in babyhood, mindfulness, setting boundaries, emotional well-being and emotional literacy, education and learning in primary and secondary school, friendship, puberty and adolescence, sexuality and sexualization, choosing partners and negotiating equality and respect.; in fact everything a father or mother needs to think about to be prepared and self-aware in providing for their growing girl.
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.