Wednesday, September 01, 2010

About Girls

In his book Girls On The Edge, the author Leonard Sax talks about who a nascent spiritual awakening in teenage girls if not given a chance to grow could result in them seeking the ultimate happiness and satisfaction through sex or romantic relationships. This is only one of the many valuable insights in this book which is a must read for anyone who has a daughter. 
Sax comes across as having a genuine empathy for girls - and concern for their overall well-being. After a long time, this is a book that kept me hooked all the way and I came away feeling like I learned things I did not know - things that may help me raise J better.
On empowerment and expression of sexuality he writes "As parents, we must reject the notion that girls have to take off their clothes to empower themselves. Boys don't have to take off their clothes to empower themselves. Girls shouldn't either." I wish Sax would write a book targeted at tweens and teens that conveyed the same message in a way that makes sense to them.
The book makes for scary reading - it would likely shake the most laid back parent out of their complacence.
There is a lot to learn and take away from this book for a parent of a young girl. For me the key learnings were :

1. The difference between the authoritative and authoritarian parent and the impacts on the child based on these parenting styles along with the risk of being a liberal parent.

2. The importance of initiating a young person into the world of adult-hood as opposed to leaving them to their own devices to find their way.

3. The threat of living in a "cyberbubble" where a girl is "hyper-connected with her peers" and "disconnected from herself".

4. Minimizing the intake and exposure to environmental toxins that cause girls to reach puberty ahead of time and bring a whole host of physical and emotional problems in the process.

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