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Tag: Steve Biddulph

Girl Talk

We all want our daughters to become strong, resilient and compassionate women. But how do you help them get there? In a world that seems to force girls to grow up before their time, parents can have their job cut out for them. here, three of Australia’s leading parenting experts explain the essential elemnts a girl needs from her parents to give her the right start.

October’s Good Health magazine asked me to share my Top Tips for raising healthy, happy teen girls. I was thrilled to have this opportunity and to be featured alongside Steve Biddulph and Melinda Hutchings.

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Don’t panic

We are living in times which can be very challenging for girls. In many ways, this generation is attempting to deal with incredibly adult issues with only child-like strategies to fall back on and rather than supporting them in this process we tend to judge them. I think that’s very difficult and alienating for young girls. You can look at statistics around girls and body image, alcohol and online behaviour and panic but many teens are making good choices and are, in fact, speaking out and attempting to reshape their culture through petitions and blogs. Our job is not to patronise them or say alarmist things like ‘one mistake can ruin your life,’ but to help them make better choices.

Be their role model

Girls can’t be what they can’t see. Many women are forever on diets, are unsure of their bodies, are lamenting the ageing process, are binge-drinking or engaging in toxic talk around their friendships and girls see this. They say to me, ‘Mum tells me I’m beautiful all the time, but I know she doesn’t believe she is.’ It’s tempting to blame the media and marketers for all the dysfunction, but we are the ones they spend the most time with and we can be a powerful voice of difference.

Open up about online porn

It’s not a matter of  will she access porn online, it’s a matter of when, as often she may stumble across it quite accidentally. It can be awkward, but you need to talk to your your daughter about what she’s seeing online otherwise how will she make sense of it? And then what she’ll feel is shame. We don’t want our daughters feeling shame about their sexuality, their bodies or the sexual act. We also don’t want them thinking that the images they see in porn are the only way in which sex is conducted.

Don’t be complacent about alcohol

Saying no to alcohol will not drive your daughter to sneak out and get trashed. In fact, research shows that when parents allow their children to drink at home it normalises drinking and lowers their inhibitions to drink more. If she does break your rule and drink and least you’ll both know you didn’t condone it. Don’t make it easy for her.

Connect with her

All my conversations with girls leads me to believe that despite all the rhetoric about them being mean girls and divas and entitled, they are still beautiful, fun, affectionate, amazing young women who long to spend time with us and long to be loved and noticed. Create a positive time and a space for your daughter. Although it’s normal for her to reject you at times, you must let her know that you’re open for love (and cuddles). By doing so, she’ll get the message that she’s loved unconditionally.

 

 

Getting Real – Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls

With the globalisation of sexual imagery, girls are growing up in the shadow cast by a pornographic vision of sexuality. This important new book has been edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and features contributions by Clive Hamilton, Julie Gale, Noni Hazelhurst, Maggie Hamilton, Steve Biddulph and other leading Australian experts.

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Advance reviews for this important new collection of essays on the pornification of culture include:

Young women and girls today face extraordinary pressures to meet body image expectations that are unhealthy, unhelpful and unrealistic. The contributors to this book make a valuable contribution to an important national debate on how we can help young women to grow up with a healthy self-image and with the freedom and strength to be their real selves.”
The Hon. Kate Ellis, Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth, Parliament of Australia.

Getting Real is an important contribution to the discussion of the sexualisation of girls. This profoundly disturbing issue is a public health problem of international concern. This book is essential reading for parents, educators and everyone who wishes to make the world a safer and healthier place for all children.”
Jean Kilbourne, Author of  So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualised Childhood And What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Kids

My Melbourne readers may wish to go along to the book’s launch, 2nd September in Hawthorn. The invitation is attached as a PDF here:
GR Melb launch

Getting Real will be available in all good book stores from September 1st. Also available in book stores from September 1st will be my book, The Butterfly Effect. I am very excited about this and will share more in my blog post next week.

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