He sold something like 4 gagillion books, but this is the first James Dobson book I have ever read. Bringing Up Girls is probably exactly what I was expecting, and maybe more so in some ways. Let me summarize my reading in two points.
First, this is an excellent book and treatment of the topic of girls. Over and over again, I found myself needing to be reminded, reassured and encouraged by the things that were being taught. The science, the research, the surveys, the interviews were full and informative, probing and insightful. This book’s style changes rapidly from instruction, to interview, to transcript, to science and back repeatedly. This kept the pace going for me, and I was encouraged throughout. It was full of important things that I need to be readying–and steadying–myself for. I believe that parents of girls need to be reading books like this, in heaps.
Secondly, this book was exceptionally discouraging. There was a lot of doom-and-gloom-speak pointing to the realities of what the modern, current American girl looks like on the inside and outside. That wasn’t big news though. The highly disappointing thing is that Dobson gave almost no hope to the dilemma. It’s not that he didn’t have solutions, but his solutions were advice-oriented. The glorious Gospel of grace was almost entirely missing. There was a little bit of Bible-speak in the last chapter (The Last Word), but it really should have been used in heaps to offset the misery that a portion of the chapters spoke to. It should have been used liberally throughout to be the harbinger of hope.
Dobson takes lots of opportunities to sit down and talk-it-out with kids on rough matters. He consoles them with soft speech, polished words and affirmations of their value. This direction is an immense disservice to them and the readers, though they may feel better…and more books will be sold. Dobson teaches very specifically that satisfaction begins with self-worth/self-esteem. This is not the Gospel. This is another Gospel.
Dr. Dobson has done the world a lot of good over the years, I’m sure. But speaking only from the reading of this book, his approach is psychological (as he was trained) almost to the exemption of the biblical. That’s not where I am headed or want my baby girl to head.
There is stuff to learn, and I am thankful for the opportunity Tyndale afforded me to review this book. I would read more Dobson and take the encouragements I receive, but I would be/will be wary. Because my focus isn’t first on my family.