Below are some of the key passages and quotes from the book that make important points. The author states that girls know that they are losing themselves citing one of the girls that said, “Everything good in me died in junior high (P. 24).” It is a clear indication that some of the problems that the girls face are because of the challenges and contradictions that come with adolescents. At times, the girls need the right form of guidance and the necessary tools to be assertive and overcome then challenges that they face. Building the defense mechanisms for the girls from negative influence is an attribute that they all need to attain, and that is possible through ensuring that they get the necessary skills. It also means girls at the adolescent age are not at times intentionally defiant or rather do not make a conscious decision to engage in some of the activities, and behavior hence can be helped to come out of the behaviors or negative changes that overwhelm them.
Dr. Mary Pipher brings out a critical aspect of the girl’s relationships with their fathers and on their engagement on sex. She reiterates that her client Holly was vulnerable to a common mistake that other teenagers get into which is that she used her sexuality in pursuit of love. The book states, “she needed affection, not sex, and most of all she needed affection from her father (P. 207).” It was an important point in emphasizing the role that fathers play in the growth of the teenage girls. It stressed the need for the fathers to be more involved in the lives of their adolescent girls by making them feel loved and wanted so that she may not engage in other dangerous behaviors such as sexual relationships in pursuit of feeling loved and affection meant to be provided by the fathers. Having a father figure in the life of an adolescent is, therefore, critical.
On the issue of the effect of divorce on the children, Dr. Mary Pipher states that contrary to her thinking that a divorce is better than an unhappy marriage, she realized that most children do not understand whether their parents were happy or not. However, she states, “divorce shatters many children (P. 222).” It changes the perception of a divorce in a family since every parent needs to have the interests of the children at heart when making such life changing decisions. Moreover, with the increasing number of divorces and separation among families in the contemporary society, it could be an explanation for the increased deviance and negative changes witnessed among the adolescent girls. The parents in every household with an adolescent child should, therefore, consider the effects it may have on the children before reaching such a decision for divorce.
“To keep their true selves and grow into healthy adults, girls need love from family and friends, meaningful work, respect, challenges and physical and psychological safety (P. 483).” The statement is an illumination of the need to address and treat the girls with respect and honor as the boys are treated. It reiterates on the value of affection and support for the adolescent girls so that they can be able to grow and develop to independent and self-reliant individuals and hence become more resilient to negative influences. They need equal opportunities to assert themselves and be who and want they want to be just as the boys are accorded such opportunities.
“It’s important for parents to watch for trouble and convey to their daughters that, if it comes, they are strong enough to deal with it (P.486).” It is a crucial observation by the author since the girls are mostly reliant on the parents for support and the words or the way the parents treat them is bound to reflect in the way they treat themselves. If the girls are aware that they can handle any form of pressures, they are bound to assert themselves and develop a sense of self-worth and personal identity that is essential to assisting them defend themselves from any negative influences.
The book was an important piece that illuminates the plight of the girls in the contemporary society. It offers the compelling explanation as to the reasons behind the fact that girls experience a time of turbulence, pain, anger, discord, and other negative changes during adolescence. The book, however, offers an excellent insight into the need for the parents to get more involved in parenting. Parenting an invaluable part of the child during childhood and most importantly during adolescents. I learned that the girls are in need of their parents to offer affection, support, and exude confidence in them so that they can develop their self-identity and confidence. The contemporary society, however, presents a tough time with more parents less involved and hence offering little or no support or trust for the girls and with the increased number of divorces that adversely affect the children. When dealing with girls that suffer from the effects of the negative changes that they experience during adolescence such as depression, attempted suicides, and other delinquent behaviors, it is important to offer social, emotional, and psychological support for them. Health professional should always consider therapy besides any clinical interventions they provide the adolescents. The educators should also play a role in displaying the need to empower and offer equal opportunities for the girls to assert and build their self-image to enable them to be in control of their lives and develop their coping mechanisms to the external pressure that comes with adolescence.
Some of the key suggestions that are important to help in reducing the [problems facing the girls are: Parents should be encouraged to offer support, love, and respect and accord the necessary confidence in their girls (P.486). The girls need to feel that they are capable of handling things on their own and are the work of the parents to ensure they make the girls aware of their ability to overcome negative challenges they face. Having the girls aware that they have their support; parents enable the girls to face the challenges coming with adolescents with increased confidence and build their personal image that is key to enabling them to say no to negative influences.
The parents also need to learn to remain calm and patient with their children (p. 486). Having the parents reassuring the girls even in the case that seems bleak enables them to be more confident in their ability to overcome the challenges. Furthermore, it maintains the confidence and openness of the girls and the adults and hence are bound to speak out and seek help in case of difficult situations and hence the parents or other adults can offer the necessary direction and guidance to the teenagers.
Parents should also foster good communication between them and their girls (p. 487). It is because, having good communication with the adolescents offers platform for rational thought that also encourages conscious choices for the girls. It is the crucial opportunity to get to understand the risks that face the girls ad also the choices that they have to understand and support them. It is crucial in building the confidence of the girls in their parents and other adults and hence can listen to them and now that they have the support of the parents. Poor communication may lead to more irrational decision making leading to risky behavior and other negative changes in the girls.
The parents should also encourage their girls to have friends of both sexes (p. 490). It is important that the girls take the relationships between a boy and a girl as natural and just like any other relationship that does not need to be sexualized. It is a crucial way for the girls to have the relationships in the knowledge of the parents so that the parents can support and guide them. Making a big deal out of boy-girl relationships may make the girls more curious and believe that the relationships have to be sexualized so that they can thrive. However, forming and maintaining the friendships with boys from a young age may make the girls appreciate that such relationships are natural and do not have to be sexual in nature to thrive.