Parenting for British Girls

We are very worried about British girls. They have a 1 in 3 chance of being treated for anxiety and depression. 1 in 12 chance of an eating disorder. What we think it is that the entire country got too busy. You have the longest working hours in Europe.

“Success culture” what I mean by that is that girls think you have to be the best looking, you got to be the best school marks, and athletic and do good deeds. This has turned into a competition. 3 out of 5 girls are fine. But, 2 out of 5 girls take that to heart and they start crashing.

We are trying to persuade mums and dads to be practical about this. What can you do in your family? The ten things you can do most is that there are ten things you can do in your home so that your daughter is not one of the ones.

You have two daughters who have grown up now. But what do you do then? How do you begin to address this?

In the book it says “look at the ten things” and it diagnosis what you might have missed. For instance, little girls need to feel very loved and secure when they are little. You can tick that off if your family says, “yes when she was little your family really relaxed and enjoyed her when she was a baby”. But, if that is not the case, it is not to late. Because girls go through a second babyhood. When they are about 13 their brain changes and they go very soggy and dopy and this means that they are recycling babyhood again. If you’re a dad for instance, she might sit on your knee and you can feed popcorn into her mouth. She just is ready to be babied again. You can always fix these things, because it is never to worry because it is to late.

In your book you talk about having a good structure and group around girls. We used to be part of villages we are support network. Actually, girls need that.

Yes. Aunties seem to be the key for girls. There are certain ages where girls just do not want to talk to mum because it is to embrace. Around the age of 12 they do not want to turn out like their mum. What aunties do is that they can talk about embracing stuff. They ask the big questions. They talk a lot about boys. If a girl is 16 say and she is about to get into a car with boys who have had too much to drink, who aunty will pop up in her mind. Such as “my aunty will kill me if I get myself murdered”. The girl will say “No. I am not coming”.

Aunties provide back bone to girls.

Spark. Kids who have a consuming interest. It does not matter if it is collect is fossils or horses or what ever it is. Those kids do better in school. If the course of their spark they have a priority other than looking pretty other than being into boys a fashion and things like that. This interest takes you into the adult world more. You meet up with other adults and different kinds of women. So that she can base her womanhood on the broader pallet of what womanhood looks like.

You also say to do more natural things with your child.

Do not make clothes shopping your only bonding thing. Yes. We say that nature nurtures. And, where our sense of peace comes from. A feeling of “that we belong in the world”. This comes from sitting on lonely beaches and mountain tops. Playing in the mud and the dirt.

This is a bit impractical for everyone isn’t it?

This matters so much. If you ask girls what was there best ever memory. This is for 25 year old’s, They will say “it is that time me and dad went camping” or “when dad took us to that beach” where we were the only people in the world.

Why are we so bad?

I don’t think it is any body’s fault.

We fell into a busyness. When I walk into a London street, everyone is walking so fast.

But I just had a road trip around the UK and not everywhere like the madness out there. The Lake district, the Pete district. There is a much gentler way of life. Are they better off than us down here?

Yes. They are. You are better off with a dad who is a bus driver in Bradford than someone who is a big success in the city.

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17 April 2021

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Parents Corner

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Steve Biddulph

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