Little Girl Book

David Laskin, Author, Kathleen O'Neill Laskin, With Ballantine Books $11 (304p) ISBN 978-0-345-36802-7
``If we believe in our daughters, they'll believe in themselves''113 is the optimistic prognosis of Laskin and O'Neill (an editor and a lawyer, respectively, as well as the parents of three young daughters). Specifically directed to parents of daughters from birth to age eight, their book offers guidance in raising female children in an increasingly stressful and complicated world. Although the authors acknowledge controversial studies that support ``biology as destiny''13 and posit innate gender differences, they suggest that such stances are often restrictive for girls, and emphasize throughout that daughters are individuals first, females second. Although Laskin and O'Neill attest that they have avoided a ``strident political'''xvi position, they do alert mothers and fathers to the social pitfalls awaiting their daughters--subtle but deeply entrenched sexism in elementary schools; teaching methods which reinforce the myth that girls do not perform well in math; and the disturbing specter of sexual abuse. In keeping with their gender-sensitive philosophy, the writers supply sensible advice, which ranges from suggestions on how to dress toddlers to how to determine the wisdom of your daughter's participation in mixed-sex sports. Upbeat in mood, entertaining in manner, The Little Girl Book should prove a sturdy resource. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1992
Release date: 03/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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