Raising girls: the challenges of bringing up daughters

Raising girls: the challenges of bringing up daughters

We all know that the little bundle of joy in your arms, that you love more than you ever imagined you could love another human being and with a face so sweet and innocent, all you want to do is protect her from the harsh reality of the world, is going to grow-up.

As this happens the cute gurgling baby will eventually become but a distant memory, especially as you head to the somewhat daunting adolescent years.

At this point, you are likely to be faced with a stroppy teenager who thinks that the world is against her and you “hate her” because you won’t let her drink underage, wear short skirts or stay out until a ridiculous hour of the morning.

This is also the time when you become the embarrassing parent because you insist on meeting every boy before she goes out on a date and argue over more than you ever thought you would.

There will of course be challenges when bringing up either girls or boys. However, girls are often seen as a different kind of challenge to boys, partly because despite their protests, parents will always be slightly more protective over them.

As a mother, you were a young girl yourself once and know what your daughter is likely to face. As a father you know what boys are like and want to keep her your little girl for as long as you possibly can. As much as you both know you should let her make her own mistakes, you want to protect her from them.

Girlhood has changed over the years, with girls not only becoming more adventurous and independent and their behaviour therefore much wilder, but the age at which this starts is becoming younger.

Kids grow up fast as it is and it will feel like one day you have a little girl and the next, a young woman. With this, the challenges faced by mothers and fathers of girls, become both bigger and more challenging.

Psychologist Steve Biddulph puts some of these challenges down to the rise of marketing and advertising, which has made it harder than ever to bring up girls. It pushes impressionable young ladies towards a certain image that will make them appear ‘cool’ and encourages them to grow up faster.

They are now thinking more about their looks than anything else, what clothes they should be wearing (take a look at the girls fashion at LamaLoLi for some much needed Mum points), having their hair a certain way, wearing make-up and of course boys whom they are primarily doing this to impress.

But despite any struggles you may face bringing her up, you know that in the end you will have a beautiful, polite young woman as a daughter and that she will be this way because of you and your influences over her.

Even though she may not seem to be taking it in at the time, being dismissive or even worse ridiculing your opinion, everything you say and do will be influencing her, as much if not more than the media.

She will, perhaps not until she has her own children, realise that everything you did had her best interest at heart and you were far from trying to ‘ruin her life’ as she may have screamed at you on several occasions throughout her teenage years.