Monday, October 4, 2010

Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson

285 pages
Published in 2010
by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Carol Stream, Illinois

"You've got daughters? Then you've got questions." is the opening phrase on the dust jacket of this new release, Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson.

Bringing Up Girls
is the long awaited for companion book to Dr. Dobson's 2001 bestseller, Bringing Up Boys. Published in April 2010, Bringing Up Girls is based on the latest research and includes recent interviews with parents and daughters alike.

What's It All About?
Peer pressure. Eating disorders. Decisions about love, romance, and sex. Academic demands. Life goals and how to achieve them. These are just some of the challenges that girls face today -- and the age at which they encounter them is getting younger and younger. As a parent, how are you guiding your daughter on her journey to womanhood? Are you equipping her to make wise choices? Whether she's still playing with dolls or in the midst of the often-turbulent teen years, is she truly secure in her identify as your valued and loved daughter?" (Summary courtesy of the publisher)

My Thoughts:
As a child who was raised in a Christian home I am no stranger to the name "Dr. James Dobson." I have a random collection of memories that relate to Focus on the Family and Dr. Dobson. I remember my mother listening to his radio program and from time to time I too would listen, if the subject caught my interest. I didn't always agree with Dr. Dobson, but over the years I have had a respect for him. As a teenager I didn't pay attention to his parenting advice I was more interested in the famous interviews he would hold. And now here I am, decades later, and a parent myself.

Ask just about any parent and I bet they'd tell you the same thing. Being a parent is an awesome experience. At times it is both frustrating and humbling and at other times it's so amazing. No matter what it's one of the best blessings of life.

As I realize there's only one chance to raise a child I am always interested to hear what other parents have to say about their own experiences. It doesn't mean I'll take their advice, because sometimes it's just not that good, but I still like to hear about their experiences. You know the "this worked" or "that didn't" type of stories. So when I saw Dr. Dobson had published a book for parents on raising daughters I figured it might be something very useful to read.

Overall I think it was definitely a worthwhile read. I enjoyed Dr. Dobson's down to earth approach. He's easy to read and to understand, I like that. He's interesting and includes a fairly balanced amount of humor and tragedy within his anecdotes (and yes, there are a LOT of anecdotes). He states facts and backs them up with citations to sources. From an educational point of view this book can give the reader plenty to think about, but the impassioned reader be warned, there is plenty of emotion running through the book. Have a box of tissues handy while reading. I didn't find myself crying, but I can see someone, who had a difficult upbringing who might.

All this praise for Bringing Up Girls and yet I have to admit a small amount of disappointment. Bringing Up Girls was not exactly what I had expected. I anticipated this to be a book about bringing up a daughter. You know, from the moment as a toddler that she first begins to display a desire for independence until the day she walks out the door an independent woman starting her own life. But that wasn't what this book is about.

This isn't a "how to raise" your daughter, but more a "how to raise your daughter to be strong and pure and innocent in an overly sexualized world." Maybe it's the fact that my husband and I were both raised in stable Christian homes with both our parents present, but I didn't finish reading this book with the feeling that I must overcome my past in order to give our daughter a healthy start. Dr. Dobson talks a great deal about the father-daughter relationship and while I think it's vital to a girl's upbringing, again it didn't seem like it was the right time for us, maybe in a few years.

In the end my verdict is this: I found Bringing Up Girls to be interesting, but not applicable to where we are now. I think I'll tuck it away and review it in another 3-8 years.

As for any parent who has a daughter 6 years or older, or a parent coming from a unstable upbringing this might be a book you will want to read sooner than later. I am grateful that someone like Dr. Dobson is out there to give Biblical counsel on such an important topic.


Carrie said...

Ah, I really enjoyed hearing your opinion on this. I think you spelled out why it would be harder for me to connect with as well - for the same reasons as yourself. But yet it does seem like a helpful, practical book at the same time.

Obviously, not having a girl, I have no present incentive to read this. But if I do - it's good to know about what I can expect from this title.

Annette W. said...

I read this a bit ago...and didn't realize my disappointment was the same as yours until you spelled it out for me. Funny, huh?