Girl Power / 12 Tips for Raising Happy, Healthy Girls

Shortly after giving birth to my son, I invested in yet another parenting book (have I mentioned my addiction to parenting books?) entitled ‘Raising Boys’ by Steve Biddulph. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not a boy and never have been. It therefore made utter sense that I would need some guidance in bringing up a boy in this world.

A couple of months ago, I got chatting to a lovely lady at a dinner party. I quickly recognised an ally and we soon began swapping stories of mothering teenage girls. She mentioned the book – Raising Girls – as having been a huge help to her and I thought no more of it, until 2 days later, she very kindly dropped her copy round to my house (I must have given her the impression that I was totally incompetent in my role as a mum to girls!).

When I gave birth to my first daughter almost 15 years ago and my second, just 18 months later, it never occurred to me to purchase a book about raising girls. Being a girl myself, surely I knew everything there was to know about bringing them up as happy, healthy individuals?

How wrong I was! 

Have you ever come across something and wished you had been party to it sooner? About halfway through the book, I realised that this was going to be one of those occasions. I devoured it in two days and took away so many little gems that I wanted to document my top 12. Narrowing it down to 10 seemed like an impossibility!

Tips for Raising Happy, Healthy Girls

1. As girls get older, they need more of our time, not less. We need to show interest and be available.

2. We need to help our girls find their ‘spark’ – something which ignites passion and brings about deep satisfaction and joy. As she gets older, she will be searching for her purpose. Find out what she LOVES to do and find ways (and people) to encourage it – a skill, a commitment or a quality of character.

3. Help her to develop ‘soul’ (‘the deep-down essence of a person – who they really are and what matters most to them’). Seek out people who you know will be good for her – people who your soul is drawn to.

‘When she sees that her body in the mirror is different to the air-brushed and photo-shopped bodies in the magazines, her soul whispers: ‘I am me. I am beautiful as I am’.” 

4. Spend time outdoors, explore, let her see you trying new things too.

5. Contrary to popular belief, teenage girls need 9.25 hours of sleep in every 24 hours. (You heard it here first….or second if you’ve read the book!)

6. Chores are an important part of growing up, it’s not about being a mean mum or getting extra help around the house. Don’t nag but encourage and empathise along the way.

7. Talk about the three ‘L’s around relationships – Lusting, Liking and Loving. In a world where the media hammers the need to be sexy and desirable, we need to teach her the difference.

8. Don’t be naive about the influence of TV – consciously decide what to allow her to view and avoid allowing TVs in the bedroom.

9. Your daughter will turn into you so be mindful of the messages you are sending out. Keep promises, be a good friend, relate to men, explain why you do certain things and talk about your values. She is listening. All the time!

10. Teach her how to relax. Your child can never be more relaxed than you.

11. Talk about sex, however embarrassing it is for you. Girls are often given the message that ‘good girls don’t like sex’ – not true! They need to know that desire does not make them a bad person and that they will one day love it! (*cringe*)

12. The world outside is stressful. Make your home a haven where she can find peace and safety. Structure and routine are an important factor in this.

And one bonus point especially for the dads….

13. Stop treating her like Daddy’s Princess!

“Princesses collide with reality in painful ways, if parents don’t help them rejoin the human race.”

* * *

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you have a daughter, please go and grab yourself a copy. You will not be disappointed and I think your daughter will thank you in the long run….even if you do get rid of her TV and make her go to bed earlier as a result!


Have you read ‘Raising Girls’? I would love to know what you thought of it.


The List

39 Comments on Girl Power / 12 Tips for Raising Happy, Healthy Girls

  1. Sarah MumofThree World
    February 3, 2015 at 7:53 am (2 years ago)

    This is fab, thanks. I will have to myself a copy! I have read Raising Boys, but only because I have two of them! Somehow, having only one girl, I didn’t feel as though I needed a book!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…MRI follow-upMy Profile

  2. brummymummyof2
    February 3, 2015 at 8:11 am (2 years ago)

    Good tips lovely! I worry a lot about the teens I teach and am constantly trying to push them and make them feel good enough. Despite me being super unsporty we are always getting my girl to have a go at stuff! x
    brummymummyof2 recently posted…I Like to Ride my Bicycle…My Profile

  3. Reneé
    February 3, 2015 at 9:33 am (2 years ago)

    I absolutely love this post Suzanne. In particular the 3 L’s which reminds me of the phrase ‘trust may sound like lust but they have nothing in common’. The sooner I can drum that into my kids heads the better!

    A friend gave me her copy of Raising Boys, and we have Raising a Happy Child by the same author but not Raising Girls. I’ll definitely be adding it to my reading list xx
    Reneé recently posted…The truth about being a PTMWAHMTAWMy Profile

  4. Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer
    February 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm (2 years ago)

    I read Raising Boys when my eldest was born (Yikes – a long time ago now!) – as I have two sons and I love the work of Stephen Biddulph (and his wife) in general. These tips could just as well apply to them so I’m off for a re-read as I bet they’re in there in some way. Thank you for sharing this – it’s full of wisdom :)
    Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer recently posted…Watch Out, There’s Man Flu About!My Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 3, 2015 at 3:06 pm (2 years ago)

      Apparently he has written another one called ‘Raising a Happy Child’ or something like that. Just such sound advice and really easy to digest.

  5. Sam
    February 3, 2015 at 1:18 pm (2 years ago)

    Great tips! I especially agree with allowing your daughter time to relax –
    Something you don’t usually think about
    Sam recently posted…Cafe 21, Newcastle – A reviewMy Profile

  6. Life at the Little Wood
    February 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m definitely going to get this. Thanks so much for the recommendation Suz. Anything that helps with bringing up my lot in these next lot of years is to be made first priority!! :) xx

  7. Helen
    February 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm (2 years ago)

    All great tips, but surely they all apply to boys as well (except possibly number 13!)? Don’t boys also need our time and attention, need to be encouraged to relax, get enough sleep, help at home, have healthy attitudes towards relationships?
    If the book helped you, then great, but this list seems like it could just as easily be 12 tips for raising happy, healthy teenagers…
    Helen recently posted…5-grain and onion soup with cheese brûléeMy Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 3, 2015 at 1:53 pm (2 years ago)

      Yes they do Helen, of course. Have you read ‘Raising Boys’? It sees things from a slightly different angle. Every point in ‘Raising Girls’ has been expanded and tailored to girls and vice verse in Raising Boys.

  8. Bek Dillydrops
    February 3, 2015 at 1:47 pm (2 years ago)

    What a fantastic book with such useful tips. I can understand why you had to narrow it down to 12 and not 10. All very important.
    Bek Dillydrops recently posted…Chinese New Year CraftsMy Profile

  9. Californian Mum in London
    February 3, 2015 at 2:02 pm (2 years ago)

    What a helpful synopsis Suzanne!I definitely want to buy the boy and girl versions of these books. I think parenting is different for each generation, and what works for us won’t necessarily work for our children, so it is good to have outside advice. Even though my daughter is only six, I can see that she’s already turning into me and that scares me!
    Californian Mum in London recently posted…Creme Egg and Caramel CroissantsMy Profile

  10. Cathy (MummyTravels)
    February 3, 2015 at 3:14 pm (2 years ago)

    I definitely think I need to buy a copy of this for the future – I remember reading some of the excerpts of the most recent one published and thinking it sounded very useful. For now we’re just trying to get through the toddler years with their own challenges, but I’m betting that they’ll seem a breeze in a decade or so…!
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Family days out: Half-term February 2015My Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 6, 2015 at 12:47 am (2 years ago)

      Ooh there’s big sections of the book dedicated to raising female/male toddlers too. So worth a read….if you ever get time that is!

  11. Amy Ransom
    February 3, 2015 at 7:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Well you KNOW I need to read this! Such a great post. Thanks for sharing as reality of me reading a book at the moment is, well, unreal.

    I’ve always felt strongly about TVs though… Was never allowed one back in the day.
    Amy Ransom recently posted…The 5 stages of MotherhoodMy Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 6, 2015 at 12:47 am (2 years ago)

      Certainly not one in the bedroom! Mine won’t be getting one anytime soon, much to their disgust. x

  12. Spidermummy
    February 3, 2015 at 8:47 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow. I have a boy and two girls – the girls are only 4 and almost 2 and I’m already panicking about teenage years and getting things ‘right’ with them. I am so totally getting this book. Great post, thank you!!!! xx
    Spidermummy recently posted…I’ve delivered your baby, now I’ll sell your house.My Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 6, 2015 at 12:46 am (2 years ago)

      Yes I think a lot of it is about doing the ground work when they are young. Wish I’d read this book sooner! x

  13. Kriss MacDonald
    February 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm (2 years ago)

    As I have fraternal twins – boy and girl – I’m going to have to read both books. As my daughter gets older (and she’s still only 7!) I already can see that I need to give her guidance and confidence.
    Kriss MacDonald recently posted…Google Plus Tips: 10 Do’s and Don’tsMy Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 6, 2015 at 12:46 am (2 years ago)

      There is one called ‘Raising a Happy Child’ maybe that would save you some time Kriss! I do think our daughters look to their mums for a lot of things – no pressure then!

  14. Xandi
    February 3, 2015 at 11:31 pm (2 years ago)

    Sounds like this book is definitely worth a read. You automatically assume that because you are a woman yourself you are programmed to know exactly how to raise girls but as Ive found with my little one, that’s not the case! I found the point about them listening to everything you say so important. Despite all the protests and pouting they really look to us as an example and that’s such a huge responsibility. Great post Suzanne x
    Xandi recently posted…Brunch – Daddy StyleMy Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 6, 2015 at 12:45 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Xandi. Wish I’d got hold of this book sooner tbh. Get it now! x

  15. Katie @mummydaddyme
    February 4, 2015 at 12:03 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the tip about this book Suzanne- I know a few of my friends have read the boy version, but I didn’t even know there was a girl one. Even though it is a long time away, I do feel nervous about the teenage years. I read this with interest. x
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    • Suzanne W
      February 4, 2015 at 11:57 am (2 years ago)

      Strange isn’t it? I had no idea there was a girl version either! Despite what others have said, they are both completely different and tailored to the sexes. There are also big sections for under 5s and under 10s – just a little late for me! x

  16. Steph (Don't Buy Her Flowers)
    February 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm (2 years ago)

    SO useful – I’m already in fear of all this so need to get a grip as Mabel is only two! Also, things like ‘she’s learning from you’ – I can see it already so this is SUCH an important reminder. I’ll bet your girls are lovely. Teenagers, granted, but lovely x
    Steph (Don’t Buy Her Flowers) recently posted…The Public MeltdownMy Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 6, 2015 at 12:44 am (2 years ago)

      They’re not so bad. But in my experience so far, boys are easier! x

  17. Life with Six Kids
    February 6, 2015 at 10:57 am (2 years ago)

    I have two teenage girls so will definitely be taking this on board. I know that they both struggle with body image despite my constant reassurances. Hoping that they will grow up to be confident and secure women.
    Life with Six Kids recently posted…Where is the ‘Proper Snow’?My Profile

  18. Caroline
    February 6, 2015 at 11:57 am (2 years ago)

    Brilliant, as a mum of 2 boys and a girl I may have to read both books. lovely advice.
    Caroline recently posted…My positive 2015 – week 5My Profile

    • Suzanne W
      February 7, 2015 at 12:38 am (2 years ago)

      No problem. Always like to share something positive that I’ve come across. May not be for everyone though.

  19. Tanita
    February 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh thank you so much for those 12 lovely points. What a beautiful list of advice. The book sounds great. With a 4 year old (feels like she is going in 14 sometimes) it lovely to have this gentle reminder of what my girl really needs from me. Thank you!! Tanita x

  20. Ali @mum in a nutshell
    February 7, 2015 at 1:56 pm (2 years ago)

    raising Boys is my bible! As a mum to 3 boys ive never had to buy the girlie version but I can imagine it’s equally as fantastic.
    Found you through the Tots 100 Twitter shout out!
    Ali @mum in a nutshell recently posted…My week captured – a week of worryMy Profile

  21. You Baby Me Mummy
    February 7, 2015 at 8:07 pm (2 years ago)

    This sounds fab! Thank you so much for sharing, I am going to download a copy now. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Gratitude List #35My Profile

  22. Steph @MisplacedBrit
    February 13, 2015 at 8:24 am (2 years ago)

    What a FANTASTIC list! …I see right away I’m going to have to print this out and come back to it again and again. Thank you.

    I read a little while ago that one of the greatest things a dad could do for their daughter was to love their mum <3
    That left me thinking… If I would add one thing to your list, maybe it would be for us mums to allow dad to be the valued, respected, loved other half of the team – Teaching them that women do not need to bare the responsible for everything in the home or the family
    …Well, I'm still working on the formulation of that <3
    Steph @MisplacedBrit recently posted…Love You PhotographyMy Profile

  23. Sarah Christie
    March 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm (11 months ago)

    I love this post Suzzanne, having two boys is so different to having girls. I know people with disagree but having taught teenage girls most of my career I see the different and the point about finding a spark wow that is so true I used to see it every day, I suppose with all teens they need a purpose a cause and if they haven’t that is when the boredom can become problematic, the times I have talked teen girls round after huge rows with their Mums. It can be a tough age x
    Sarah Christie recently posted…Our Lodge at Q Lodges, Belton Woods GranthamMy Profile

    • Suzanne W
      March 17, 2016 at 9:57 pm (11 months ago)

      Thanks Sarah. Having girls is a whole new ball game, trust me! I like to hear from teachers who have had teenage girls in the classroom because I think they get a good insight into what I have to deal with on a daily basis lol! x


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