Steve Biddulph’s 10 Things Girls Need Most | Book Review
Isn’t parenting such a tricky thing? I do all that I can to make sure that I nurture Little B the best way I can. And yet sometimes, I doubt if my efforts will actually lead to Little B having a happy and healthy life. There is no way of ensuring if my actions will lead to the consequences I desire. And yet I put in the best in nurturing Little B because nurturing is the only thing I can do.
I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of the book 10 Things Girls Need Most to Grow up Strong and Free in exchange for an unbiased review of the book. I agreed because I welcome opportunities that can help me grow as a parent. And if “nurturing is the only thing I can do” for my daughter, I better do it right.
From the title, the book seemed like a resource that can provide me at least a couple of tools to raise up a strong, healthy and happy girl. As I read on, the book gave me not few but plenty of such tools.
An Intriguing Title
Steve Biddulph’s book 10 Things Girls Need Most is aimed towards parents who want to see their daughters grow up to be strong and free. Now I agree with growing up to be strong, but I couldn’t understand the concept of growing up to be “free.” Biddulph clarifies this concept in the foreword citing research documents from the Department of Education, UK and NHS. According to both of these reports, girls are increasingly suffering from depression and anxiety to the extent of self-harming themselves. All because they are not growing up in a relaxed world but instead in a world where they are often (directly or indirectly) boxed into the expectation to look a certain way, talk a certain way and behave a certain way. So many unhealthy and unnecessary shackles to tie them down, and hence they need freedom.
I found the concept of freedom from the book quite contemporary. Instead of dwelling on the age-old concept of what values should parents impart so that the daughters become intelligent or kind; the book brings forward the new value of being free. BEING FREE from any typecasting, judgement or limitation. And GOING STRONG with self-awareness, clarity and purpose. Isn’t that is what is most relevant in today’s world?
A Friendly Format
The book isn’t written in a tedious text format where the author mentions one research after another (a format which many parenting books follow). Instead, Biddulph has written the book in a workbook-kind of format with a friendly tone. Through the book, the author encouraged me to think about my own upbringing and my own struggles and triumphs as a child. There were worksheets to fill up about what may take on certain issues is. I felt after going through the book, I became much more conscious of myself as a parent.
The book gave me enough reasons to contemplate. I felt I should read each page twice and may be even thrice. Here are the top four parenting tools that the book armed me with –
A Tangible Approach
I liked how the author has put forward the concept of “mapping daughter’s journey to womanhood.” The concept encouraged me to actually pick up a pen and a paper and “map” the journey. It is one of those things that we might be doing already as a parent, but only vaguely. Author’s worksheets and the book itself makes mapping more tangible, something I can have a look at every once in a while to see where am I heading.
Stages and Friendship
The book is based on the concept that there are stages that a gild goes through to grow up to be a strong, independent and free girl. Each stage means there is something new to learn and focus on.
For example, the 5-10 age group is a friendship stage. It is the time to explore friendship, trying to find a good friend for oneself and trying to be a good friend to someone else.
Little B is in the same stage and thus I realized friendship is an important skill for my daughter to understand. I was surprised, a little taken aback actually, that I have never really touched the concept of friendship with my daughter. Sure we have talked about it, but not often. Not often enough to make an impression.
I now understand that this is a topic that I have to research more on and explore regularly with my daughter. It is surprising how as a parent I feel I am doing enough and yet I miss out on so many things. Books like these are what I should thank to for such times.
Revisiting My Own Journey as a Child
To me the book is not just about raising daughters, it is also about how I was raised as a daughter. It is like taking a trip down memory lane and thinking about how involved my parents were or how did I make friends. It also gave me an understanding of what went wrong in my childhood and how I can make sure the same thing doesn’t happen in my daughter’s. Reading through was nostalgic, therapeutic and in a way optimistic all at once.
The book starts with the quote –
“That’s how girls were meant to be raised – by a tribe.”
And so, every now and then, all through the book, Biddulph highlights the importance of constantly getting inspired by staying together in a group, like a women’s support group or a common interest group (like girl guides) or a trust group for girls. He focusses on the power of unity and how it can help girls to achieve higher.
Keep The Book Close
This is not the kind of book that one reads and leaves. 10 Things Girls Need Most is like a manual. As I parent, I want to keep it at my bookshelf forever. It is something I would want to consult to every now and then.
10 Things Girls Need Most has given me some solid ground to start with. I’m planning to read Raising Girls and also some of the books and resources mentioned in Endnotes and Further Reading.
Get your own copy of the book from here 10 Things Girls Need Most: To grow up strong and free
Are you parent of a girl? What are the most important thing you think she needs?
What are your favourite parenting books?
Let me know in the comments down below.