On Wednesday, 24th January, the Taunton School Parent Teacher Association organised a parent evening on raising girls. 150 parents and staff booked on to attend what was a thought provoking talk from renowned expert Judy Reith. Judy asked the PTA to send a summary of her talk to all those who attended, but the talk was so good, that I felt that everybody should have the opportunity to see her messages and so I include them here for you. In addition, the PTA is arranging for a copy of Judy’s book, 7 Secrets to Raising Daughters to be placed in both the Prep School and Senior School libraries.
Paul Billings, PTA
Some headlines from my book ‘7 Secrets of Raising Girls Every Parent Must Know.’ The best investment we can make for our daughters (and sons) is to create a vision of the values we want to pass on to her. Talk about your values with your partner – agree the core ones.
- Model the values you really care about – don’t leave it to the fridge magnets and the ‘love ‘ cushions.
- Ages and stages. Be aware of the key points for her, and for you, as she grows up so you have an idea of what to expect and how to help. All explained in my book, but do your own research too.
- The V signs – Virtual, Violins, Veruca Salt, Vomit and Vaginas. You can help her navigate these scary things by being clear about house rules, being a listener and being up to date with what’s out there. Agree house rules including use of technology (Vodaphone Digital Parenting for tips) and expectations of behaviour. Sanctions are the last resort. Model and mention how you manage your time, your stress, your alcohol intake, and your technology usage.
- A girl is sensitive; her self-esteem is volatile. Your voice and opinions have great currency so spend it wisely – if in doubt just listen!
- Build your village and share your parenting load by surrounding her with good role models, male and female.
- Dads: tell her what boys are like! Build her mind and her heart e.g ask for her opinion before giving your own. Show her what a decent man and a partner is. Believe in her, be a boy, be interested, be safe, be respectful, be affectionate, be helpful, listen, be fun
- Mums: You are her greatest role model. She needs you to be her mum, not her friend. Listen without interruption, advice, justifying or lecturing. Encourage her, believe in her, and tell her what you love and admire about her. Avoid labels ‘ You’re so pretty/artistic, sporty, lazy etc.’
- Ditch the guilt – (find your G spot and kick it!)
- Family quirks and traditions, birthday rituals, pet names all matter in her childhood scrapbook – keep putting things in.
- Looking after yourself for either parent is non-negotiable– say “ I need a walk’ instead of ‘ You ‘re driving me mad!” Prioritise your partner too sometimes.
- Enjoy your Darling Daughters- relax, keep up the fun.