When I had Ava I realised that being a Mum to a girl brings with it different worries than being a Mum to a boy. Unfortunately I know just how cruel girls can be to girls. I’m pretty sure if you are reading this as a Mum we all have horror stories we could share. It’s scary knowing what she will likely face. And I can only imagine how tough it is growing up now and being a teenager with all the social media they have access too. When I was a teenager there wasn’t anyone with a camera phone (thank God) ready to catch your embarrassing moments forever. You could hang on in there knowing they would be forgotten about or replaced pretty quickly. Girls today don’t have that luxury!
Already being a fan of Steve Biddulph after reading his book ‘Raising Boys’ (It’s fantastic and one that I dip in and out of every now and again). I was really interested to read his new book ‘10 Things Girls Need Most’ to grow up strong and free. The feminist in me grabbed by the byline.
Broken down into ages Ava at two has just come out of the ‘secure and loving start‘ stage (0-2). And is now entering ‘the chance to be wild and time to be a child‘ stage (2-5).
” Even as young as two, the world puts limits onto girls. We have to encourage our daughters to be adventurous and brave, to help them stay in touch with their wild nature. And we have to fight the forces that want to steal their childhood away.”
Busting the stereotypes, keeping her free and the curse of the perfect (this one is an eye opener) are some of the many sections I enjoyed reading in Ava’s stage. I found myself nodding along in agreement.
Ava has a whole mix of toys and some of her current favourites are dinosaurs, her babies, tent and playing outside with her brothers. Likewise when the boys were little they both had a play kitchen and a baby with a buggy. I’ve always believed in letting them chose their own interests. But for some reason I feel it’s even more important that we don’t pigeon hole our girls. Answering the questions on the interactive pages it’s clear we are already a pretty wild family. We enjoy exploring, I’m pretty relaxed and let them get messy (most of the time). Reading about it has made me feel like actually I am doing something right.
The keeping out the Hyena’s section though was a bit of a tough read if I’m honest. It’s definitely opened my eyes to some things I didn’t realise I was doing. Body image is something I struggle with and I know I don’t want Ava or the boys to see that. I exercise and talk about healthy eating in front of them which I think is important. But I need to be making it clear I am exercising because it makes me feel better, happier, stronger. Not because I want to be skinny or conform to what society says is the perfect body. It has already given me lots to think about but the book is at the same time very reassuring and gives easy examples and suggestions on what you can do.
10 Things Girls Need Most is definitely going to remain on our bookshelf for years and years. It doesn’t shy away from the subjects of puberty, sex and relationships. Although we don’t need that yet for Ava. If there are gaps I identify in myself in some of the areas I can start addressing them now. It also involves Dads and other family members are everyone plays an important role.
I could go on and on about 10 Things Girls Need Most: To grow up strong and free but I suggest instead you pick up your own copy.
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