This book discusses many issues related to body image with insight and compassion, and gives parents concrete ideas for raising healthy, happy, secure daughters who love their bodies. The authors of this book, a journalist and a psychology professor, are both mothers concerned about raising their daughters in a society that puts unrealistic, harmful pressures on the female body. So they wrote this book to help parents help their daughters respect and make peace with their bodies as they grow up.
Their suggestions span a girl’s lifetime: there are suggestions for your infant (”learn baby massage”), your toddler (”turn fairy tale victims into self-rescuers”), your young girl (”encourage her to develop a special talent”), and your teen (”encourage her to participate in sports”). Topics include size acceptance, dealing with ”perfect bodies” in the media, healthy diet and exercise, learning and respecting physical boundaries, the relationship between the body and emotions, puberty, dating, and more. They also explore issues specific to girls who are multiracial or adopted, as well as girls who are disabled. This book can not only help readers impart self-esteem to their daughters, it can also help parents learn to love their own bodies. The authors include concrete ways to address your own body issues so that you can positively impact your daughter. Although there is a chapter aimed at fathers, most of the book is aimed at mothers.
It is a bit disappointing that the authors do not discuss masturbation at all. The chapter about ”positive sexuality” only includes a few topics: using books and movies to help talk to your daughter about sex, encouraging her to learn about human reproduction, and protecting herself from sexual abuse and harassment. While these are important topics, this chapter would have benefited from a discussion of what to say if you discover your daughter masturbating, or of how masturbation is a healthy and safe alternative to sex with others. The authors also devote very little time to the topic of sexual orientation. For example, they discuss the perils of ”boy craziness” but don’t discuss how to deal with the fact that your daughter might be interested in other girls, or that she might not feel very feminine or like a girl at all. They also don’t discuss how to make your home a safe place for her to come out. Despite these shortcomings in the area of sexuality, this is an excellent book overall, and a great tool for parents and their daughters.
225 pages. Authors: Brenda Lane Richardson and Elane Rehr. 2001.