The Wonder of Girls (Part 2)

These are some of my notes from the book about specifically what I, as a mother, need to do to aid their healthy development according to Michael Gurian.

Stage 1:  Birth to Five Years

  1. Attach, attach, attach!! “…Infant attachment to the primary caregiver is one of the primary indicators of later success as an adult” (p. 111).    This attachment needs to be consistent through age 3.
  2. Discipline from 18 months on.
  3. Teach manners.
  4. Introduce child to chores.
  5. Introduce child to the spiritual life.
  6. Limit media usage, specifically television exposure.  (I think I’m getting better.)

Stage 2:  Ages Six to Ten Years

  1. Deal with lying, stealing, and cheating while understanding that this is normal experimental behavior.
  2. Be a clear and competent authority figure for her to model.
  3. Nip whining in the bud.  Make her explain how what she wants will benefit others besides herself.
  4. Teach her how to accept and even enjoy failure.
  5. Monitor media usage, make her media literate, and limit television and movies to those with “uncomplicated moral conclusions”.

Stage 3:  Ages Eleven to Fifteen Years (or onset of Puberty)

  1. Be prepared to handle sudden anger.  Try to investigate the source of your daughter’s anger, but expect her to treat you with respect no matter how angry she is at you.
  2. Be prepared to handle occasional bouts of sadness (which are completely normal): help try to find the root if there is one, offer physical affection or quiet time together, share stories of sadness from your own life, explain possible biological roots of her sadness (hormones, menstrual cycle), help her to discern between legitimate and irrational self-shame if an issue, suggest exercise, help her avoid foods with lots of refined sugars, and be prepared to involve her father, grandmother, or other mentor for help if necessary.
  3. Be prepared to respect certain pulls for autonomy but be careful not to abandon her completely.
  4. Do not allow absolute privacy.
  5. If clothing battles crop up, ask her what she is trying to express about herself with her clothing choices.
  6. Incorporate Rites of Passage.  (I’ve really been giving this a lot of thought.)

Stage 4:  Ages 16 to 20

*Help her to answer the following Four Questions

  1. Question of Identity.  Who am I?:  Besides making sure she knows all of the neurological and bio-chemical things that make her female, help her to learn about her ethnic and religious heritages, her likes and dislikes, her good and bad qualities, and her talents and deficits.  Share your life stories with her:  good times, bad times, fears, disappointments, heart-breaks, and moments of truth.
  2. Question of Autonomy.  What can I do?:  Help her deal with personal responsibility, power, and freedom.  I think that discerning personal and professional goals in life would fall under this category, too.
  3. Question of Morality.  What do I believe?  What is right and wrong?  How should she behave in certain situations?  What are her own personal limits and what risks is she willing to take in life?    What about situations where the right thing to do isn’t always clear?  Discuss “what ifs” with her.  Challenge her to think for herself and express her own beliefs.
  4. Question of Intimacy.  Who will I love?  How will I love?  Dating.  What are her physical limits before marriage?  Discuss what to look for in a future husband and future father of her children.  What are the most important qualities that she wants from her marital relationship?  What about the day-to-day responsibilities of marriage?  (I tend to lead more towards courtship rather than dating.)

Additionally, your child needs to be raised in a “Three-Family System” consisting of the nuclear family, extended family (or very close friends), and institutions such as church or school.  However, the child must be able to form true bonds with people in the institution or it is not a true third family.

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3 Comments on “The Wonder of Girls (Part 2)”


  1. Girls or boys – big or little –

    It is important that you are there for them, no matter what!!!! And that
    they are the most important thing in your world – no matter what!
    (And that does not mean spoiling – it means loving them enough to give them boundaries)

    That is my two cents worth. But – what do I know, I only raised one (boy).

    • barboo77 Says:

      I totally agree that whether you have boys or girls that it is important that you are there for them no matter what and that they are the most important thing in your world. Someone once told me that you can’t spoil a child with love, and I believe it. Because true love sometimes means doing what is best for the child long-term rather than what is going to make them happy in the short-term. This book is more about addressing some of the unique needs that girls may have to due to neurological and bio-chemical differences; these differences become really significant during puberty. And since I have three girls, I want to be prepared to help them through in ways my parents were unable to help me so maybe they come through the other side happier and healthier.

  2. eljoe1235 Says:

    This sounds very interesting, Barbara. May have to check it out!

    Joe


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