raising girls

Australian Psychologist Steve Biddulph is renowned for his popular books about raising boys and girls in the 21st century.

Hoping your daughter grows up to be wise, warm and strong? Well Biddulph describes five important stages that you should aim to help your daughter through…..

Stage One (zero to two years) Biddulph’s advice is to ensure that your daughter feels safe, secure and loved.

  • This is often a difficult stage for mums (dads) to do on their own. Embrace any support from family and friends that is offered to you.
  • Try to reduce any pressures you may have – your baby is learning calmness during these early years (especially in the first 6-months) and will pick up on any stress.
  • Calmness is actually a skill that you can learn to cultivate. Prioritise being emotionally present.
  • Keep in mind that your daughter learns most by watching you, especially in these early years.

Stage Two (two to five years) Biddulph’s emphasises the importance of encouraging your daughter to explore her environment in a creative and enjoyable way.

  • When it comes to toys, less is actually more – a clutter of toys and materials actually makes for less creative play!
  • Focus less on structured or organised activities and allow for creativity. Give her lots to explore, make and do. And make sure she knows it’s okay to be messy with play.
  • Try to avoid toys that tell your daughter it’s all about looks and clothes.

Stage Three (five to ten years) according to Biddulph, it is during these years that you should aim to assist your daughter to learn the complex skill of valuing herself, but also valuing others and treating them with respect.

  • Treat your daughter and others kindly, sensitively and gently and she will likely mirror this behaviour.
  • Be a friendship role-model – according to Biddulph, a mum who is grumpy and who doesn’t have time to talk to others is unlikely to have a daughter with strong social skills. Makes sense!

Stage Four (ten to fourteen years) Biddulph emphasises the importance of fostering your daughters ‘spark’ during these years.  According to Biddulph, fostering interests is what needs to be done in order to achieve good mental health in girls.

  • Research shows that children with ‘sparks’ do better at school, are happier and are more confident.
  • Avoid encouraging what is intensely competitive or performance-oriented unless they have a real love for this.
  • According to Biddulph, spending time in nature and being creative are important for finding soul.

Stage Five (fourteen to eighteen years) According to Biddulph, rites of passage are essential when preparing a girl for womanhood.

  • A teenage girl’s brain is still setting up its centre of control in the prefrontal cortex. The part of her brain called the amygdala – the centre of impulsive and emotional reactions – will take over in a flash if she is pressured, distracted or stressed.
  • Daughters don’t need parents as their friends, they need parents who step up to being in charge (including setting curfews, saying no to underage alcohol, driving to pick them up at an agreed time, and knowing who they are with).

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