Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review - When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls

About the Book 
Picking up where Reviving Ophelia left off sixteen years ago, this book is a contemporary look at the big issues adolescent girls face in the 21st Century, and how a generation of parents is as ill-equipped to deal with them as the daughters themselves.

Nothing since Reviving Ophelia (and the dozens of copycats that came after) has garnered widespread attention or addressed on a large scale the tremendous responsibility and challenges of raising girls. But that was sixteen years ago. When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls (HCI Books-- $14.95), provides new help for a whole new generation of parents.

It is not another book on "raising girls," or the psychology of girls, or of eating disorders, and body issues. We know those are symptoms and coping mechanisms of greater things, and When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls poses the question: Why are our girls not able to cope?

This book answers that question by introducing and explaining the concept that today's young girls are facing adult-sized issues that are not only beyond their own level of emotional, intellectual, and physical capacities but beyond those of their own parents. The problem is not only that our girls are immersed in adult-sized conflicts, but the adults who love them are ill-equipped to deal with them or help the child deal with them. This is where the main mission of the book comes in and the uniqueness to the market is offered.

When Gen-Xers were growing up their parents were worried about things like kidnappings and how to answer embarrassing questions about oral sex, or about bisexuality or homosexuality, or helping their child deal with divorce. Now, such questions, issues, and rites of passage would be a parental dream!
While they might not have been "ready" to have the sex talk, they were equipped to have it nonetheless. But with issues that have arisen faster than you can say tweet, now grown-up Gen- X parents can't keep up with the tutorials that are required to stay current and understand what their girls are faced with. They literally don't know how to handle the new problems or the psychological and emotional repercussions that come with them, how serious they really are, and more important, where to start.
We need new guidelines. Enter Erin A. Munroe, LMHC, who has been counseling adolescents for more than a decade and sees children, adolescents, and families experiencing a range of issues--including trauma, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, adjustment disorders, and more. Because her specialty is trauma and anxiety, Munroe is in a unique position to help parents understand how girls cope and react to stressors and adult-sized problems today, so they can be active and effective participants in their daughters' reality. But what is most valuable is Munroe's identification of common denominators that can shed light on our girls' coping styles in a broad sense. Therefore, she is the perfect person to teach parents what to do when, inevitably, big issues happen to little girls.
Erin Munroe, LMHC, is the author of the upcoming From Stressing Out to Chilling Out: The Anxiety Workbook for Girls (Fairview Press, 2010). She is also the author of the newly-published The Everything Guide to Step-parenting: Practical, Reassuring Advice for Creating Healthy, Long-Lasting Relationships (Adams Media, 2009, with credited technical reviewer Irene Levine, Ph.D.).

Currently, Erin works as a licensed mental health counselor at the South Boston Community Health Center. She sees children, adolescents, and families experiencing a range of issues—including trauma, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, adjustment disorders, and more. Erin's position at the health center started as a part-time position in their confidential teen clinic, where Erin still provides counseling and support to teenagers struggling with everything from college applications to talking to their parents about pregnancy.

Erin has worked in the mental health field since 2001. She has worked with adolescents in schools as a licensed school guidance counselor and adjustment counselor, and outside of school as a licensed mental health counselor. She dedicated herself to the field after working with a program whose goal was to reunite families whose children had been taken away due to abuse and neglect.

Erin attended Boston University where she earned her graduate degree in mental health counseling and behavioral medicine. As an undergraduate, Erin attended the College of the Holy Cross, where she majored in English and completed significant coursework in deaf studies. Erin also provides trainings in self-care, relaxation, life balance, and identifying and managing mental illness in the classroom.

My Take on the Book
This book is a great guide for parents to better understand the issues that adolescents face on a daily basis. The power of this book is that the authors understand that parents don't always know what to say or how to say it. Thus, this book suggests that though open communication parents will be able to help their daughters deal with the issues that they struggle with. 

One of the things that I know that I have struggled with in the past was in allowing my own emotions when dealing with often upsetting or confusing situations with my girls. This book provides parents specific strategies to manage their emotions and build stronger communication ties. 

As a parent I am always looking for resources that will help me in the future as my girls get older and they start having to deal with the challenging issues that I know will come eventually.

I strongly recommend this book to parents of daughters to find new ways to help them to become stronger individuals as well as to build a stronger relationship with them.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions. 
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