Opening Sentence:In a few short decades almost every part of girls’ lives has been transformed, bringing freedoms previous generations of girls could only dream of.
Synopsis:Why are girls as young as five years old concerned about their looks and addicted to shopping?
Why are they having sex and binge-drinking so young, responding to chat-room predators, and bullying their peers via email and text messages?
Why are depression, cutting and eating disorders on the rise, and why, with so much choice, do so many just want to marry young and have babies?
In a few short years our girls have become vulnerable – not just teen girls, but also young girls and baby girls. They are being forced to grow up faster than ever before. What a twelve-year-old girl experienced at seven is not what a seven-year-old girl is now struggling with. Many of the guidelines we offer girls no longer apply, or are contradicted by messages from media and advertising telling girls how to look, think, behave and feel.
Over two years Maggie Hamilton interviewed girls, teachers, school counselors, psychologists, and law enforcement and medical personnel to get an insider’s view on what girls are experiencing at present, from birth to the teenage years.
Informed, revealing, compassionate and at times shocking, What’s Happening to our Girls? is a book for parents and all those who want to better understand and support girls.
Comments:What’s Happening to our Girls? is an interesting and informed study of today’s girls and the lives they lead, and it is essential reading for any parent. The facts in this book are very scary. As a mother, I knew before reading this book that my daughters are growing up in a world far different from the one I grew up in. I knew that they are being marketed to. I knew girls are sexually active earlier. I knew that bullying is worse and the forms of bullying changing. I did not know just how bad it has become, or just how ill-informed many girls are as to the hazards of indiscriminate sex and drug-taking. That this is the case is a sad indictment of our society.
We all need to stand up and say NO MORE!!! It is time we put our foot down. Refuse to spend your money on inappropriate items, and write to the manufacturers, expressing your displeasure. Companies are only able to market sex at our girls because we allow them to. Remember, the power is in the hand of the consumer – there have been many products withdrawn due to consumer pressure. Additionally, we should overcome our embarrassment and ensure our girls are informed. Teach them to recognize when they are being marketed to. Give them the confidence and support they need to withstand peer pressure and bullying. Allow them to use you as an excuse if they need to. Find someone closer to their own age group to talk to them about drugs and sex – oral sex is not a safe option, as many girls seem to think.
Ensure your daughters have other trusted adults in their lives. We all need someone other than our parents to talk to! Make sure that your daughter knows the difference between intimacy and sexuality. Teach her that a relationship where she suppresses her own sexuality to please her partner is not a healthy one. Be willing to discuss what she wants when she needs to. There can be no taboo subjects if you want to keep your daughter safe. Teach your sons to respect girls, and that they have needs within a relationship as well as boys. Above all, be there there for your children.
Growing up has changed dramatically. The way we parent must evolve to meet the challenge if our girls are to survive.
- Bullying–What Parents Should Know (education.com)
- Every Girl Should Be Treated Like a Princess: Help Prevent Bullying by Following These Tips (nonaknowsbest.wordpress.com)
- When Girls Bully (education.com)
- Sexual Identity and Bullying (nlm.nih.gov)
- Tips for Parents: Teasing, Bullying, and the Role of Friendships (education.com)