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By Bel Mooney. Do you ever notice them in shopping centres, walking arm in arm, giggling, clutching their mobile phones, dressed like mini-Cheryl Coles and twittering like budgies? The girls are out to play! Educationist, literacy expert and writer Sue Palmer is well-known for her brilliant books on childhood and the raising of boys; now she has turned her Mature girls Palmer to our daughters - and the result should be required reading for all parents, teachers and grandparents. My own copy is a mass of under-linings and ticks, and will now be handed over to my daughter, who - six months into raising her baby girl - is already worried about the pressures commercial, technological, sexual and otherwise the 21st century will inevitably inflict on her.
She will find this book a helpful warning as well as a tool. The current unease to put it mildly about online pornography is but one aspect of a big question: how can modern parents bring up their daughters to be loving, stable, confident and mature?
How can young girls be given the emotional intelligence to withstand the power of market-led forces and peer pressures which threaten to turn them into commodities? How can we keep girls safe? Honest about the difficulties, she still offers convincing solutions. How refreshing it is to encounter an expert on child development and education who is not afraid to describe herself as a moralist.
We need more like her.
More worried than ever about the pernicious influences on the young which she analysed in her first book Toxic Childhood,she believes that much of modern parenting is misguided sometimes breathtakingly sofocusing on giving children material things rather than firm, loving attention. Those of us who have been writing about these matters for a while know we should be very Mature girls Palmer.
Well, how can you not despair? A couple of current television advertisements trade on the belief that fathers will remain in thrall to their sulky, demanding pink-clad princesses forever, and must save in order to buy them what they want. Money is equated with love and responsibility. Childhood, as a stage in human development has been steadily eroded. Again and again, courageously, her book returns to the importance of love: mother love especially being crucial to that development of empathy which creates emotionally intelligent women.
The idea of empathy is central, she believes, to the raising of girls. Palmer makes much of the theory developed by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, that two broad strands of thought underpin human behaviour. The first arises from the need to build, make, structure, reason, the second from tuning in to the feelings of others, communicating, getting along in society. To me it makes complete sense - but this book places mothering back Mature girls Palmer stage, and rejects the modern notion that it is merely an interruption to the working life.
Some career women will object. The first half of 21st Century Girls is full of fascinating theory about child development and parenting within a highly-pressured society, the second half is brilliantly practical. It all represents good, old-fashioned common-sense combined with the latest expertise - and anxious young mothers will find these timelines invaluable. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
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