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Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and…

Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping… (2010)

by James C. Dobson

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Awesome thorough analysis of girls' development as well as their familial, environmental, social and media influences. I loved it. All parents of girls and those who interact with children/teens regularly should read this book. ( )
  DareeAllen | Apr 13, 2014 |
While I appreciated some of the advice found in the book, the overall writing was terrible. Dr. Dobson spent majority of his time quoting large chunks of others writing or his own work--previous books, radio transcripts, etc. The book was disorganized with no real flow. He would say he was going to talk about one thing and then go off on a long rant about something entirely different. The worst was when he used :) . I'm all for smiley faces on Facebook, in a text message, even in a personal email, but in a book by a well-respected author--that is simply too much. I would say the section on adolescence is worth the read, but otherwise there are better books out there about raising girls. ( )
  aep00a | Dec 20, 2011 |
When it comes to family psychology, there is perhaps no other name more well known among conservative evangelicals than Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. Ten years after publishing his popular book on parenting boys, Dobson has penned the companion book, Bringing Up Girls. In it, Dobson offers advice and insight from a clearly conservative viewpoint. Speaking mainly to fathers, Dobson addresses issues such as femininity, beauty, sex, bullying, education and purity. Much of the book addresses the physiological and psychological make up of "the fairer sex."

The chapters that I appreciated the most were, oddly enough, the ones in which Dobson does relatively little talking. One such chapter is devoted to young women talking about the things they remember - whether good or bad - about the fathers. Reading about the profound impact of even the smallest things that their fathers had done impressed on me the importance of fathers in the lives of their daughters. It is to this point that Dobson returns continually throughout the book and with good reason. He quotes many statistical studies that emphasis the importance of fathers.

Another such chapter that was helpful and very practical was the contribution by Bob Waliszewski, director of Focus on the Family's Plugged In department in which he offers advice on "protecting your daughter from invasive technology." He encourages parents to be involved in and aware of the media activity that their daughters are involved in (including but certainly not limited to the Internet). He lists "Ten practical steps every parent should take" in how to "train up your daughter to plot a safe course through today's entertainment and technological land mines." These steps include "teach the WWJD [what would Jesus do?] principle," "instill media-related biblical principles," "model it", "develop a written family media covenant," and encouraging accountability with a friend.

While most of the book was somewhat informative on the psychological level, I found it to be lacking in practicality. Additionally, Dobson's conservatism constantly came across as overblown hype, decrying the decadent culture in which we live. While our modern culture is most assuredly headed in the wrong direction, it seems that Dobson can't help but highlight the most discouraging and depressing aspects of it, even while attempting to point out "the good news." He often seems to go overboard in denouncing things that aren't necessarily wrong, but that he simply doesn't like.

Lastly, it should be pointed out that while Dobson dedicates his last chapter to teaching the gospel and Scriptures, this addition seems almost like an afterthought or just an extra safeguard to help parents. The emphasis of the power of the gospel in all our lives including parenting is missing, but I'm not sure whether I should have expected more in this area from Dobson. This book should not be read as coming from the standpoint of Scripture, but rather from the standpoint of moral and social conservativism.

While the book has some merits to it especially for dads, I feel like there are other books that are more worthwhile to read on this subject.

(Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing a review copy of this book.) ( )
  Eskypades | Mar 7, 2011 |
The challenge of raising children is as old as humanity, and this challenge is acutely felt as we begin the twenty-first century. While there are many challenges and issues with raising children of both genders, boys and girls remain very different creatures with different biology, strengths, and weaknesses.

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family fame has, after three years of work, completed Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women. As the subtitle suggests, the book is designed to provide information and advice for handling all kinds of issues relating to the raising of young girls.

Dobson begins with birth and proceeds through various issues all the way through the teenage years. At times he delves into the science of girls and maturity-- the physiological, hormonal, psychological, and physical matters behind femininity and how girls mature. At other times he provides transcripts of interviews he held with various people both about raising girls and with the girls themselves about their experiences as children. Other chapters represent questions and answers about miscellaneous subjects relating to raising girls.

Dobson's primary focuses are the challenges of raising girls in a feminist and sex-saturated society and the role of fathers in the healthy development of girls. Many chapters are devoted to both of these focuses. Relationships with mothers are pretty much accepted as a given; Dobson also discusses matters of being ladylike, childcare, handling puberty and the desire for relationships, the challenges of bullying and matters of self-esteem, and the plagues of young women-- self-image difficulties, sexual conduct, drug use, cutting, and the like.

There is very little that is earth-shattering in the book but most of the advice has merit. Most of Dobson's warnings are worth heeding-- it is important that girls are raised to have proper respect for themselves, properly handling intimacy, and equipped to handle the challenges and temptations of modern life. The scientific background is very illuminating, especially for the men who generally have very little understanding of the hormones working underneath the surface of the women in their lives. Fathers especially should well consider what is written about the importance of his role in the empowerment of his daughter(s). Both parents should consider the role of peer and societal influence in their daughter(s), and the impact that childcare and the modern rat race has on children in general.

While I can understand Dobson's emphases on the depravity of culture, he often becomes too sensationalistic and proves willing to stretch the truth at times in order to achieve maximum effect. Yes, the influence of the 1960s and the 1970s have led to many societal challenges, especially as they relate to the roles of the two genders and sexual conduct. But, as Ecclesiastes 7:10 indicates, it is not as if the former days were really better. They were different. I noticed with interest how Dobson lamented how fewer than half of Americans believed premarital sex was sinful, but passed over the fact that three-quarters believed racism was. While it is no doubt true that more people in the 1950s would agree that premarital sex was sinful than do now, would three-quarters have admitted that racism was sinful then? Other "conclusions" of Dobson will not square with the experiences of many, especially in his connections regarding sexual misconduct and other consequences. I would hate to see people write Dobson off for the times when he stretches the truth and thus discredit many of the valuable warnings he does provide. He also provides enthusiastic support for the "purity ball" concept, which I personally find rather off-putting. We cannot condemn dancing as lascivious and be known in society as condemning dancing as lascivious and then promote a dance between fathers and daughters without wondering why people find it creepy. One can achieve the merits of the "purity ball" without the dancing and the facade.

On the whole, however, parents of girls, especially fathers, will benefit greatly from considering Dobson's advice. The book is worth having and reading!

*received as part of an early reviewer program. ( )
  deusvitae | Aug 31, 2010 |
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Parenting author Dr. James Dobson discusses how parents can face the challenges of raising daughters to become healthy, happy, and successful women who overcome challenges specific to girls and women today and who ultimately excel in life.

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