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Rebecca Hagelin / Apr. 20, 2010

Bringing Up Girls

This week my little girl – and youngest child – becomes an adult. It is a strange feeling to suddenly become the mother of only adult children – an odd transition that no one says much about, but is one of many monumental and emotional passages that comprise the “empty nest” era.

As Kristin turns 18 and prepares to leave our home for college, I am overwhelmed with gratitude – so deeply thankful - that God picked me to be her mommy.

She has always been a delightful child, and I am so proud of the woman she has become. A stellar student, a joyful human being, thoughtful and warm - and at once both out-going and humble - Kristin is a mother’s dream come true.

I marvel that even in the midst of a culture that brainwashes so many girls to flaunt their sexual power, focus on selfish desires, and throw traditional morality and chastity to the wind, Kristin has managed to see through the lies and discover what is highest and best. Please know that although I have spent many hours in prayer over my little girl and have done my very best to teach her to challenge the culture and to tower above the darkness, it is Kristin – not me – who has chosen her life path. I thank God every day that she has chosen well. That she has chosen Him.

The great heartbreak is that our nation’s little girls are in danger, and many of them are ill-equipped to realize it. Dr. James Dobson, author of the new book, “Bringing up Girls”, describes the many disturbing threats and behaviors that mark this generation of young women. Among them: “a rising incidence of eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia”, cutting and self-mutilation, sexual aggression, binge drinking, and a growing trend of middle class girls to strip and even perform sex acts for cash.

Through the years, Dr. Dobson’s advice has helped me raise Kristin. I’ve read and listened to his teachings throughout my parenthood. And I’m so grateful – on behalf of other parents and their little girls too – that Dr. Dobson has now compiled years of research and experience into one practical handbook to ensure that more girls reach their full potential and become women known for their sterling character and goodness. I’m also grateful that he is continuing to share his wonderful wisdom on the air through his new radio show that he co-hosts with his fine son, Ryan, Family Talk. (You can learn more at www.MyFamilyTalk.com)

Dr. Dobson and his lovely wife, Shirley, are two of my all time favorite heroes. In addition to serving as mentors and counselors to millions around the world through the powerful ministries they have led – including Focus on the Family and the National Day of Prayer – they succeeded in applying the principles they preach to raising their own inspiring and wonderful daughter, Danae. Although I’ve spent years researching and writing about parenting, family and cultural issues, I still marvel at the unique insights, timeless wisdom and practical help Dr. Dobson continues to offer parents. “Bringing up Girls: Practical advice and encouragement for those shaping the next generation of women” is a masterpiece, containing a treasure trove of advice and encouragement.

If you have daughters, or nieces, or granddaughters, or female cousins; if you work with girls in any way; “Bringing up Girls” can help you help them succeed in every area of their lives. Dr. Dobson opens the book by giving us a peek into the female nature, teaching us to appreciate what he calls “The Wonderful World of Girls”. He has chapters on the unique, powerful, and different influences that fathers and mothers have on their little girls, and teaches how you can build a close relationship with your own.

He tackles controversial issues like “The Obsession with Beauty”, “Bullies, Buddies, and Best Friends’, and dedicates an entire chapter to the toughest and most common questions facing parents of girls. Most of all, Dr. Dobson inspires parents to love their daughters enough to take the time to connect with them, to be involved in their lives, and to dare to question the status quo.

As my own daughter prepares to enter adulthood as an honorable, giving, loving human being, my hat goes off to Dr. James Dobson for providing the tools parents need to help their little girls leave home that way too. Yes, your daughter will ultimately choose her own path – but "Bringing Up Girls” equips you to help her clearly see the right one.

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