Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

21 December 2010

Book Review: When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls by Erin Munroe

A quick reminder....My daughter is 7 1/2 and in the second grade. This book couldn't have hit me harder in so many ways. Big Issues Happen to Little Girls: How to Prepare, React, and Manage Your Emotions So You Can Best Support Your Daughter by Erin Munroe is a must read for every mother and father of a girl.

Munroe gives the world a great handbook on how to handle challenges and issues of raising a girl in today's world. From puberty to using drugs, Monroe walks us through case studies that exhibit how and how NOT to react to things that happen to our girls.

One criticism I had with the book was that it presents itself as something for parents, yet I felt that it was written for moms. There are subtle things about how she presents suggestions for parents that she's talking to moms.

This book will challenge you. It will challenge you to revisit how you see issues (recreational drug use, teenage sex, the drive for success) not just by what you hope your daughter will do, but also how you did it and your fears for how she might go through it. Munroe uses not just parenting fails, but also parenting fails that were done with the best intentions. Case in point a couple who didn't want to tell their 8-year-old that they were considering a divorce. She totally picked up on the body cues, the fact that Dad was sleeping on the couch and a world of other things her parents thought were going over her head.

And that's the biggest take home message. Our girls are not dumb. They see things in our world that we hope they don't. They hear us mock our bodies. They see us come home buzzed and drop the car keys on the table. They feel our pushes to be perfect at school and on the playing field. They see how we view other women in the world. They know that we expect them to be good, respectful in the face of frenemies.

Our girls are growing up in a different world than we did. Not better. Not worse. Different.

I say, "We're in the second grade," because it is a family effort. One to two hours of homework, monthly class projects that require more parental involvement than I think it appropriate and a pressure to score high enough on standardized tests to ensure a good school rating, teacher bonus and entrance into a prep high school...Yup, that's a team effort alright. Second grade is vastly different than my experience where my biggest issue was choosing between Chad and Corey, keeping my desk clean and beating the-other-Chad to end of our math workbook. Oh yeah...way different.

Parents should get a copy from an indie bookstore or Powells.com.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from a book PR firm. One that ironically is still trying to get me to say, "Yes, I'd like a copy of this book." *sigh*

* Book links are affiliate links. If you buy your book here I could make a very small amount of money that goes towards this blog. 


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