What about the Girls?

Suggested Readings...

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES:

'"Girls - A History of Growing Up Female in America" by Penny Colman

"A Lesser Life - The Myth of Women's Liberation in America" by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

"Born for Liberty - A History of Women in America" by Sara M. Evans

CURRENT MIND/BRAIN RESEARCH AND FEMALE DEVELOPMENT:

"Girls will be Girls - Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters" by JoAnn Deak, PhD. with Teresa Barker

"The Wonder of Girls - Understanding the Hidden Nature of our Daughters" by Michael Gurian

"Boys and Girls Learn Differently - A Guide for Teachers and Parents" by Michael Gurian

SOCIETAL CHALLENGES OF THE DAY:

"Reviving Ophelia - Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls" by Mary Pipher, PhD.

"Queen Bees & Wannabes - Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence" by Rosalind Wiseman

"Odd Girl Out - The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls" by Rachel Simmons

Whether you speak of History versus Herstory as a way to improve awareness of the impact of women in Western culture it is clear that the significance of women's influence in this society and society's affect on women's self perception is not an easy matter. It is difficult to find material in the first place and once found to sift through information which doesn't reveal extreme biases in either underplaying or overplaying these impacts.

In the past few decades, women raised to conscious by the "Women's Liberation" movement made conscious choices to raise their daughters and sons with the same toys, neutral clothes and equal opportunities. The children themselves often showed parents that many boys will make a gun out of a simple stick, often girls clearly indicated a preference for pink. What was a parent to do? Recent brain research has indicated there are differences in the ways many boys and girls relate to their world so the recent influx of literature more accurately reflects those perspectives.

Here you will find brief reviews of some current (and quality past) literature to help you learn with and more about that other wonderful female who shares your home.

"Girls - A History of Growing Up Female in America" by Penny Colman;

 This is a great book to read with your daughter, regardless of her age. Through the use of actual diaries, memoirs, letters, and other "advise" resources, a fascinating picture of what real life was like for girls growing up and laying the foundation of our world of today. The easy to read chapters span colonial America, through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with a glimpse into our new millennium.

"A Lesser Life - The Myth of Women's Liberation in America" by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Written in the late 80's, this book for the older reader shares practical data about topics such as the economic implications of divorce and effects of the women's movement. She has an interesting perspective about the 1950's, upon which much of parenting standards and women's roles are still formed. According to the author, the post war years of increased women's domesticity and removal from the workplace were actually an aberration.

"Born for Liberty - A History of Women in America" by Sara M. Evans

With a comprehensive, nearly text book quality, this work explores perspectives of 'pioneers and slaves, immigrant and factory works, executives and homemakers.' Revealing the impact of women's contributions and influence on the United States, these untold tales are inspiration and a source of empowerment about which every woman should become aware.

"Girls will be Girls - Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters" by JoAnn Deak, PhD. with Teresa Barker

Having met this author and after having heard wonderful information from a family in a school where Dr. Deak worked, her book is strongly recommended. Her perspective takes into account current brain research as well as practical insights into helping girls thrive in their personal and learning environments. Her wonderful sense of humor and joy for the subject makes these pressing issues an enjoyable read while providing real solutions to the challenges today's girls face.

"The Wonder of Girls - Understanding the Hidden Nature of our Daughters" and "Boys and Girls Learn Differently - A Guide for Teachers and Parents"  by Michael Gurian

The father of two girls, this therapist and educator understood the goal that many parents shared of raising their children with a non-sexist bias. He has since discovered personally and through brain, hormone and physiological studies that there really are differences between the sexes. Only through taking into account and respecting these differences can children truly be free to learn and explore to their fullest potential.

"Reviving Ophelia - Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls" by Mary Pipher, PhD.

Published in the mid 1990's, this book painted quite a bleak picture for the future of our daughters. Citing statistics on depression, addictions, eating disorders and suicide, this therapist shared stories of girls' joys and accomplishments in the early school years to their personality distortions by the teen years. Bombarded by aggressive competition by other girls, sexual harassment and violence by boys, body distortion and expectations by media standards - girls were revealed to be loosing the battle for their sense of self.

"Queen Bees & Wannabes - Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence" by Rosalind Wiseman

Our children are required to cope with more and more complicated social situations at earlier and earlier ages. Things many adults dealt with in high school or college, today's girls are coping with in middle school. This book can help guide you and your daughter along this treacherous path. The author also includes in each chapter a useful parent guide "Checking Your Baggage" for you to identify your own biases and experiences can affect your ability to help your child deal with this stage in their life. Wiseman's "What You Can Do to Help" provide practical strategies you can begin implementing right away.

"Odd Girl Out - The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls" by Rachel Simmons

If you still think that girls are the gentler sex and that boys have it rougher because of fights and physical posturing this book will open your eyes. Whereas boys fight with their fists and get over it, sometimes becoming friends from the ordeal, with girls fight very differently. Girls use their words, strike deeply at emotions, socially isolate "the enemy", and sometimes this is all done just to see what effects it can have on another girl. The author describes how girl's, who are encouraged to hold back their anger, channel those aggressive feelings in ways that are emotionally hurtful to others. By shining the light of understanding and through offering useful strategies,  girls with their parents learn to deal with these issues.  Together, girls and women can learn to build stronger bonds in their own relationship and with other females.