I went to see the amazing Steve Biddulph talk last night. He’s the best-selling author of a bunch of parenting and self development books including Manhood and The Secret of Happy Children.
His talk last night was on Raising Girls.
I was hoping me and Mr D could have a hot date together for it, but he had to do Dad-Duty, so I had to ride solo like the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger with his beloved horsey Toto. Was it Toto? Let me check… WTF? TONTO? And it wasn’t his horse? WHAT? WHAT WORLD HAVE I BEEN LIVING IN????
Anyways… what I’m trying to say… it was just me and my journal. Which is totally a hot date in my books anyway.
I took some illustrated notes, coz that’s how I digest information… shared them on Instagram. Just like at the Growth Summit.
Let it begin!
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I love how he started his talk:
I’m just one guy, sharing what he has experienced and learned.
If your heart or your head don’t agree with it, just leave it behind.
Wise advice for everything in life (and business).
Two important pieces of parenting wisdom he shared:
- The best parenting question you can use over and over again is ask your kids: “And how do you feel about that?”
Instead of just jumping in with every solution or what’s right or wrong. Just ask them how they feel. Let them develop faith in their own gut instinct.
- Whenever your kid tells you something (even if you feel freaked out about it), make sure you understand to use two voices.
1. What you think in your head
2. What you say outloud to your kids
And always stay calmer than your kids.
This talk was bloody good and heart breaking all at once.
I felt really panicky once Steve started talking about the issues with raising girls right now.
He said he has spent his whole career focussing on men and boys, because as a family therapist, he believed he had to work where the disaster zone was.
And now the disaster zone is girls. Teenage girls.
After I came home, I had to have a loooooong talk with Chris on the couch. I went through all the notes of the lecture and told him what all the data was saying.
It was really full on.
I feel like I’ve been a naiive, overly-optimistic Pollyanna about the depiction of women + girls in media.
Probably because I don’t feel that affected by it – I’m pretty in love with being Leonie usually.
But when Steve spoke of the marketing research done eight years ago that found that 8 year old girls were an untapped market, highly susceptible to social approval… and decided to exploit that…
I just felt rage.
8 year old girls, man! 8 YEAR OLD GIRLS!
Kids that because of bullshit marketing start believing they need to worry about their weight and attractiveness.
That’s all kinds of messed up.
I guess the thing is — we know that the above stuff isn’t really true.
Well, I hope we do.
And we also all grew up in an age pre-social media where we didn’t have to feel viligant over what our schoolmates were saying about us online.
Steve spoke about kids with iphone addictions who wake up during the night to check what people think of them.
And where as we – as adults – usually have a better sense of self and have coping mechanisms – for our kids… it’s way too much, too soon.
They don’t have the emotional resilience and sense of self… because that time in their childhood is being robbed from them.
What each age of girlhood is all about.
This was useful to look at ages and what each girl needs at each stage.
After this part, I just felt so so so bloody grateful to be married to Mr Dawson. Grateful that my girls get to have this dad who does this stuff totally innately.
And to try and garner some patience for my now five year old to tell me continuous friendship angst stories. And know that she needs to for healthy development.
We can only teach our kids what we embody.
And a beautiful way to finish up. Steve reminds us that we can only teach our kids what we believe and know.
I was thinking about how perfect this video fitted in.
Our girls have to be surrounded by images and dolls of what it is to be a real girl and woman.
The lecture was incredible. Brilliant.
I’m so grateful that Steve is in the world, sharing his much needed message.
And am very grateful to my local council for doing such an amazing thing as bringing him to our town to help parents.
Steve is beyond wise. An utter earth angel.
Highly recommend. His voice is so needed in the world.
I would highly recommend any of his brilliant books:
Feeling like a fierce mama bear.
Big love + blessings to all of you… and your children…