Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What's on Your Nightstand?


I haven't written a post on a book for a long time. I suppose it's because I typically read novels or parenting books that most people wouldn't want to hear about. Amazon invited me to be a part of the Amazon Vine program which allows members to pick out 4 free products from a list sent out every month. All we have to do in return is write a review online. I saw this book on the list and figured I should read it because we're raising two young girls and more than likely will be in the United States for the majority of that time (now that I type that, I won't be surprised if we end up in some random country for years on end).
You may be able to see on the front cover that the four factors that affect girls the most (in Dr. Sax's opinion) are sexual identity, cyberbubble, obsessions, and environmental toxins. Dr. Sax is a family practitioner and saw many of the same trends within girls while at work and researching for his other books (Boys Adrift, Why Gender Matters).
Here are some of his ideas (and the research that backed it up) that stuck with me: First he talks about how girls are wearing sexier clothes earlier and earlier. Mini skirts and mid drift t-shirts are on the market for girls as young as 9. It's just normal for young girls to dress sexy now. He talks about how this makes girls objects to guys. Also, he talks about how girls are becoming sexually active at a younger age. Even if they aren't having sexual intercourse, they are having oral sex and that girls have become detached from these encounters. That it's now expected and girls have little pleasure in these acts. He mentioned that the number of women who claim to be bisexual or lesbian is on the rise and wonders if it's because of years of being an object for a guys' sexual satisfaction. He mentioned that while writing his book Boys Adrift he found that boys currently would rather spend time on video games or looking at porn than spending time and money to invest into a relationship. That is exactly what girls want, a meaningful relationship.
The cyberbubble section of the book was straightforward. The younger generation is spending too much time online, they are more worried about how many friends they have on facebook rather than the few meaningful friendships they have in the real world. Computer time should be limited, monitored, and not in their bedroom. Same goes for the cell phone and TV. Parents need to monitor the use and cell phones should be turned into the parent each night to be charged (no late night calls keeping their daughter up). This chapter was kind of a "well duh" chapter for me but I can see how parents get trapped into giving their kids unlimited use of TV, phone, and computer and then wonder what happened.
Obsessions was a large chapter and covered things such as sports, weight, and even academics. He basically said that it's not healthy for a person to have only one goal in life (be the best runner, be the thinnest, or the smartest) because if they don't reach their goal they lose their identity. For example, if a high school girl puts all of her efforts in being the best long distant runner and ends up getting injured she runs the risk of depression because being a runner is her identity. Same goes with academics. If your daughter wants to be valedictorian and go to Standford and that doesn't happen, she loses a part of herself. It's not healthy to put all their energy into one particular thing.
Environmental toxins started out with how girls are starting puberty as early as 7 and 8 years old! He contributes it to being overweight earlier in life (about 5 and 6 years old), toxins, and the absence of the biological father. Research shows that kids without a biological father living in the same house starts puberty earlier. Toxins are absorbed and mess with fat cells making it harder to loose weight as well. He talks about avoiding plastics and giving up things like soda (which increase weight and brittle bones) and unhealthy foods.
He also talks about educating girls in same sex schools or single sex classrooms and the benefits that girls reap. Girls score better on SATs, spend more time on homework and with the teacher one on one, and have a better sense of self identity if they attend these types of schools. Girls put school and activities number one priority over concerns of how they look that day or about boys. He mentioned that parents always say, "But shouldn't they be going to a co-ed school since it represents real world?" He said that schools don't represent real world because where else are they going to encounter that many people the same age and single? It deters girls from the whole purpose of school. After reading about education I figure Etta in particular would benefit from a same sex school because she is so sensitive (if I look at her wrong or yell at her she cries).
I really like how this book was extremely informative and lets you as a parent determine the best course of action after getting a bunch of statistics. I'm glad I read this book now so we can start applying practices now rather than when it's too late or too difficult to make a change.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Nothing right now, that is my problem. I need something to read and time to read it.