The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters

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9780743417020: The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters
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The author of The Wonder of Boys introduces a new approach to parenting girls that recognizes and celebrates girls' natural differences from boys; explores the effects of female biology on girls' interests, behavior, and relationships; traces girls' development from birth to age twenty; and offers advice on a wide range of parenting issues.

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Review:

In The Wonder of Girls, Michael Gurian aims to bring us new insights into the lives of our daughters in much the same way he attempted to open up the lives of adolescent males in The Wonder of Boys. While many of the chapters read like lessons in biology, plenty of parents will find useful tidbits and reflections from this father of two.

Gurian emphatically agrees with Deborah Sichel's (Women's Moods) idea of "A woman's biology is the cornerstone of her mental health." He elaborates on this theory throughout his discussion on the physical changes in childhood and adolescence. This concept certainly holds some validity, but there's a fine line from here to "biology is destiny." Some readers may find Gurian crosses that line with his claims of "brain pruning" and insistence about hormones: "they don't just change a girl into a woman, they are, to a great extent, the woman herself."

Others find his recommendations on hormonal treatments to be a literal lifesaver, and the book is peppered with positive anecdotes from his own life and families encountered in his training sessions. Important issues like self-esteem, eating disorders, and sexual experimentation are all addressed, along with the role of the father and "the absolute sanctity of motherhood." Gurian offers a somewhat narrow path as a guide through your daughter's adolescence, but if nothing else, this book will provide a solid background in the physical aspects of her growth. --Jill Lightner

About the Author:

Michael Gurian is a therapist, educator, and bestselling author. His work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and Time, and on Today, CNN, and National Public Radio. He is the co-founder of the Michael Gurian Institute, which administers training in child development and education. He lives with his wife, Gail, and two daughters in Spokane, Washington.

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