Do you sometimes wonder what impact today's sexualized culture has on young girls? As parents, have you wondered how to guide your daughter to a godly adulthood? McIlhaney & Bush have written this book to help parents do just that. The authors are obstetricians who have taken care of hundreds of girls and the sexual issues they have to confront. They both have daughters, so they speak from both professional and personal experience. They have seen that engaging in sex at a relatively young age is not in young women's best interest. Young women themselves say current sexual norms don't lead to the health and well-being they want. The authors have seen too many young women give up their dreams because of pregnancy at a young age. The authors help parents fully understand the sexual culture their daughters are facing. The authors write of the physiological vulnerability of girls. They discuss the effect of technology, the sexual content in media, the facts about teen sexual activity, hooking up, the role of alcohol, the danger of STIs (infections that frequently do not have noticeable symptoms – this section was enlightening and heartbreaking), pregnancy and its impact on teens, failure rate of contraceptives, emotional attachment produced by the intense brain experience of sex, increased likelihood of suicide among sexually active teens (than their virgin counterparts), the negative correlation between premarital sex and satisfying marriages. They also look at the lies this sexualized culture throws at girls. The authors have included information from the latest studies on sex, teens, physiology, etc.
The authors want to see parents help their daughters be grounded, discover who they are, not what pop culture tells them they should be. Parental guidance and involvement is essential. They give practical suggestions that can be done now to minimize the chances of poor choices in the future. This include ideas like being home when the daughter in there, communicating about everything, ways to show love, the vital role of dad, etc. They also identify what changes need to happen in society. (I think this chapter on society could very well be taken as a mandate to the local church. Slightly altering the authors, It takes a church to help parents raise their daughters.) The authors have included a chapter written specifically for girls – for them to read. Teen girls are encouraged to take control of their own life, making decisions best for themselves (not their boyfriends).
American society has torn down the hedge of protection, leaving adolescents and young women uncovered and unprotected. The authors boldly challenge parents to take seriously the pitfalls daughters will face, to provide guidelines and limits for them, to take the time to bond with them, and to provide a cover for them. “The covering we can provide now consists of our wisdom, born out of our maturity, knowledge, and experience.” (121) Regarding several studies quoted, the authors write, “It is clear from all these studies that the responsibility for guiding young people about sexual behavior falls on the shoulders of parents. It is time for parents to get over the idea that they are powerless in this. Parents can no longer underestimate their importance in their child's eyes.” (105)
This is an intense book. The authors do not hold back describing sexual diseases and other pertinent concepts. It is also a scary book. If you have adolescent or teen daughters, you need to read this book! You have work to do.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.