Steve Biddulph, author of Raising Girls and Raising Boys.
Topics: How to help your daughter or son grow up to be happy, healthy, strong, and well-balanced.
Segment 1 (on girls): The five stages of girlhood and how to help them go smoothly; how to deal with bullying, mean girls, and social media; ways to ease the transition into the teen years; what you need to know about healthy body image, food, and eating disorders, the importance of girls’ friendships and how to support them.
Segment 2 (on boys): The three stages of boyhood and how to help them go smoothly; how testosterone changes behavior and what to do about it; how boys’ brain development differs from girls’; how to help boys cultivate a caring attitude about sex; the impact of competitive sports on boys, and how to ensure it stays positive; how to find boy-friendly schools.
Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun.
Topic: The paradox of modern parenthood.
Issues: How children compromise the autonomy parents have grown accustomed to; how children affect parental decision making, division of labor, and can strain a marriage; the true fun in having children is just sitting back, being passive, and enjoying kids being themselves; much more.
Steve Biddulph, author of Raising Girls and Raising Boys.
As the father of three daughters, I support Sheryl Sandberg’s message that girls can lead. But I don’t support her other messages: First, it’s okay to use half-truths, twisted data, inaccurate and outdated information, and outright lies to get what you want. Second, women and girls aren’t smart enough to make their own life choices. Third, you don’t need to work hard to achieve success—the world owes you something just because you’re female.
Here are just a few examples.
Sandberg wants “equality” in the workplace, and drags out the old canard that there’s a male/female pay gap—and that that gap is the result of discrimination against women. The truth? Yes, the total amount of money earned by men is greater than the total earned by women. But that is largely a function of the different choices men and women make. Men put in about 50% more hours at work than women and, more importantly, men dominate in fields where there is less flexibility, more danger, and higher salaries, while women dominate in fields that offer more flexibility and, unfortunately, less income.
So, Sheryl, how much workplace equality do you really want? Ninety-five percent of people who die on the job are men. And two thirds of the unemployed are men. Where’s the outrage, Sheryl? Do you really want equal representation for males and females?
Nice piece from Tim Jordan, who was a guest on “Positive Parenting.” Dad’s Unique Gifts For Their Daughters — Dr. Tim Jordan; the leading expert on parenting girls.
Melissa Atkins Wardy, author of Redefining Girly.
Topic: How parents can fight the stereotyping and sexualizing of girlhood.
Issues: How to redefine girly in your home; getting friends and family on board; navigating kids’ play; how to avoid stereotyping girls and boys; saying no to sexed-up toys and too-sexy-too-soon parties.
Tim Jordan, author of Sleeping Beauties, Awakened Women.
Topic: Understanding and guiding the transformation of adolescent girls
Issues: There has been a lot of attention paid to the rising levels of depression, anxiety, cutting, and relationship aggression in girls over the past few decades. But what if those issues aren’t the problem? What if we got it all wrong? In this show, we speak with one of the country’s leading experts on girls and find out what’s really going on with girls as they make the normal transformation from girl to woman.
Dear Mr. Dad, My 14-year-old daughter is obsessed with the idea that she needs to start dating. She says “all of her friends” are doing it, and feels left out. Fourteen just seems too young. I don’t think anyone—boy or girl—should start ‘til at least 16. I want to tell her “over my dead body” but I also don’t want to be that dad. What can I do?
A: As the father of three daughters—two of whom made it through their teen years without getting pregnant (the third is only 10 and I’m confident she’ll do the same)—I feel your pain. The very idea of your little girl, alone with a … boy, can bring up all sorts of emotions, headlined by anger (“Boys that age have only one thing on their mind”) and worry (How can I possibly protect her?”).
Let’s start with the “only-one-thing-on-their-mind” idea. Do you really believe that? TV, movies, and the Internet put a lot of pressure on teens to have as much sex as they can as often as they can, with as many different people as possible. But the reality is that the majority of boys your daughter’s age are petrified of girls, and what’s most likely on their mind is, “I’m hungry.”
As far as the “how-can-I-protect-her” idea, you have two things going for you. First, your daughter herself doesn’t sound like she’s all that into it and just wants to date because everyone else is. By telling you that, she’s almost begging you to say No. Second, even if dating were her idea, you’re right: 14 is too young for serious one-on-one dating.
That said, you can’t just play the tough guy and expect her to be happy about it. In fact, the more forcefully you forbid dating, the more you’ll push her towards it. Here’s what to do instead.
- Really Talk to Her. You have a wonderful opportunity here. Your daughter actually came to you with a problem. That says a huge amount (in a good way) about your relationship. Ask her to tell you more about the dating her friends are doing, the pressure she feels, and what she actually means by “dating” (you might be thinking, “dinner, movie, make out in the back seat of the car”; she might be thinking “hold hands and share an ice cream cone”). Listen carefully and don’t be judgmental. When you sense an opportunity, talk to her about the dangers of dating, including violence (which, by the way is just as likely to be initiated by girls as by boys). Talk about relationships, sex, and the finances involved. You’re not going to wrap this up in one conversation, so take it a step at a time.
- Establish some dating rules. Number one is that group dates are okay, one-on-one dates are not. End of story. Group dates let her be with the boy who makes her blush, but in a setting where inappropriate behavior is a lot less likely.
- Tag along. In my view, groups of young teens shouldn’t be out and about without an adult nearby—there’s too much opportunity for things to go wrong. And if you want your daughter to see how serious you are, be the chaperone. Don’t be right in the middle of the group or try to be everyone’s buddy—that would only embarrass your daughter. Instead, walk half a block behind and sit a few rows away in the movie. But be there. Watch carefully, and let her enjoy herself.