Read Bringing Up Girls: [Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women] by James C. Dobson Free Online
Book Title: Bringing Up Girls: [Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women]|
The author of the book: James C. Dobson
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.39 MB
Edition: Tyndale House Publishers
Date of issue: January 1st 2012
ISBN 13: 9781414336480
Read full description of the books Bringing Up Girls: [Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women]:Despite its subtitle, this book has remarkably little practical advice to offer on raising girls and is considerably more discouraging than encouraging. "Bringing Up Girls" is primarily a social commentary on the decadence of modern society, the ill effects of feminism, and the challenges facing girls. As a social commentary, it profusely quotes other (often superior) social commentaries I have already read, including the writings of Wendy Shalit, Dr. Grossman, and Michelle Malkin. There is scarce original material in this book; Dr. Dobson’s direct quotes sometimes run as long as three full pages, and occasionally he even quotes himself at length (inserting large blocks of text from other books or articles he has written). There are pages and pages of transcripts from radio broadcasts and discussions with teenage girls, which can become quite tedious.
What practical advice he does offer is primarily focused on self-esteem and a girl’s need for affirmation of her physical beauty, as if a girl’s sole concern is and always will be to attract boys. There is very little about a girl’s need to have her intelligence or her talents praised, about academic concerns or challenges facing girls, about the intellectual education of girls in general, about helping girls to discern their vocations, about raising a girl, indeed, to have any deep personal interest beyond that of a girlfriend, wife, or mother. Not that the calling of a wife and mother isn’t significant and honorable, and not that I haven’t pursued those roles myself, but not every woman will become a wife, not every wife will become a mother, and not every wife and a mother will be solely a wife and a mother. There were times when, for me, Dobson’s traditionalism (with which I am okay) seemed to cross over into chauvinism (with which I am not okay).
Perhaps it is only Dr. Dobson’s frequently condescending tone (complemented by an excessive use of exclamation points) that leads me to think his views border on chauvinism. One early passage caused me to shake my head. Dr. Dobson is talking about how we need to teach our little girl manners, such as where to place silverware, to put a napkin in her lap, not to talk with her mouth full, and not to belch or pick her teeth at the table. He then says, “Although I am not an expert in teaching girls some of the social graces I have named (I learned a masculine version of the rules), I know them when I see them.” So, dear Doctor, do tell, what precisely is the *masculine version* of not belching at the table? Do men place the napkin on their heads? I mean, I understand you do not think a boy would ever need to be taught where to place the silverware, since he must always expect to have a woman in his life, whether wife or mother, to wait upon him, but surely the *masculine version* of not picking one’s teeth at the dinner table cannot be too terribly different from the *feminine version* of not picking one’s teeth at the dinner table?
Dr. Dobson does frequently site statistics to support his assertions, but if you are fairly well read on the topics he discusses, you may often note his very selective use of studies. There are also times when he offers no hard data at all to support his assertions. For example, he says sleepovers should be a thing of the past because pedophilia and molestation are so much more common today than they used to be. Yet he doesn’t actually marshal any hard statistics to back this claim of rampant pedophilia. In fact, there was a substantial decline in child molestation cases in the 1990’s. Instead of noting this positive news, however, Dr. Dobson trots out the old cliché that the world has changed and become more dangerous and that it just isn’t as safe as it was when we were kids. Indeed, quite a bit of what he says in this book seems to feed the parental culture of fear that has contributed to the modern trend of helicopter parenting. There’s a lot of doom and gloom about the state of society, but not as much practical advice as there is warning.
The evangelical preoccupation with sex shines through in this book. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for teaching my daughter the virtue of chastity and self-respect and the danger of dressing like a Bratz doll and getting fall-down drunk at a frat party. I’m not talking about that – I’m talking about this near-obsession with the potential danger of anything in any way related to sex.
Dobson moves from sex-related concern to sex-related concern in “Bringing Up Girls.” He repeatedly expresses horror at the idea of a girl taking the initiative in a romantic relationship (i.e. asking a boy on a date or making it known that she is interested in him); he suggests that fathers are going to feel awkward because of their “involuntary attraction” to their “developed” adolescent daughters but that they ought to hug them plenty anyway; he insists that a mom not let her daughter’s friend sleep over while only her husband is at home because even though “the motives” of her husband are “probably” honorable, “the potential for danger is just TOO great”; he rules out entirely the possibility of a teenage boy ever babysitting another child because “there is so much going on sexually within males at that age”; and he describes puberty as a time of constant and overwhelming hormonal crisis with ”additional dangers for early maturing girls”.
At least he doesn’t seem nearly as concerned that you might do something that contributes to turning your daughter into a lesbian as he was that your parenting failures might turn your son gay in “Bringing up Boys.” In “Bringing up Girls,” he’s less concerned about the threat of homosexuality and more concerned that you might turn your daughter into a heterosexual young woman who doesn’t wait patiently and silently by the phone.
Despite being an evangelical Christian in charge of a Christian organization, Dr. Dobson inserts Christianity toward the end of his book almost as an afterthought. He seems far more concerned with promoting social and moral conservatism than with promoting the Gospel. (I am reminded of what C.S. Lewis had to say about people using the Gospel as a means to some other end.)
Dobson does make some good points, such as that fathers should affirm their girls and be a regularly involved part of their lives, that it’s not good for girls, psychologically speaking, to be treated like (and to see other girls treated like) a hunk of meat, and that one should keep an eye on their kids' use of technology (the best chapter of the book, which was not written by Dobson at all, but by another member of Focus on the Family). Of course, I’m not sure I needed to read an entire book by Dr. Dobson to be made aware of any of these things, all of which are discussed extensively elsewhere. There are some sections in this book I do think dads should read because of their insight into the challenges girls (specifcially) face and their encouragement to fathers to be deeply involved in the lives of their girls.
Read information about the authorJames C. Dobson is a psychologist, commentator, and writer. He is the founder of Focus on the Family, a group advocating what he views as Christian ethics and political conservatism, and hosts a radio program of the same name.
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