Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

What Our Girls Need Most; Parenting Expert and Author Steve Biddulph Shares His Concerns and Advice

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

What Our Girls Need Most; Parenting Expert and Author Steve Biddulph Shares His Concerns and Advice

Article excerpt

Byline: Liz Walsh

RAISING GIRLS

The 10 things girls need most, according to Steve Biddulph

1. To be loved and secure

2. To have time to be a child and a chance to be wild

3. To know how to make good friends

4. To find her spark in life

5. To have the love and respect of a dad (or a dad substitute)

6. To have a backbone

7. To be part of the women's movement

8. To have a happy sexuality

9. To enjoy the support of aunties, wise women and experience a rite of passage to womanhood

10. Spirit

PICTURE a classroom full of 15-year-old girls, says renowned parenting expert, Steve Biddulph.

They will all be individuals, he says, but compared with their mothers at this same age, they are amazingly confident and can speak their minds on any subject.

However, if you meet with any of these girls on their own, below their cheerful exterior, you will likely see problems.

Three or four of these girls might roll up their sleeves to show scars on their arms where they cut themselves; three or four will be in the early stages of an eating disorder; almost all will be unhappy with their body; four or five will be sexually active, but chances are they're not enjoying it. One in five will be on anti-anxiety or anti- depressant medication. Then there are those who are victims or perpetrators of bullying. Those involved in binge drinking.

This, Biddulph says, is modern girlhood: a phase in a woman's life that is more lonely, pressured, unkind and busy than ever before.

Biddulph has penned his concerns into a new book, 10 Things Girls Need Most, in which he details the issues facing modern-day girls and provides strategies to combat them.

He explains that despite him working with parents for four decades - first as a psychologist with kids deep in trouble, then as an educator aiming to prevent the trouble - it's only in the past 10 years that his colleagues and he have begun to feel alarmed about girls. …

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