Parenting Book Reviews

Table of Contents


Pre-pregnancy Books

Pregnancy Books

Nutrition in Pregnancy

Pregnancy for Fathers

Baby Name Books

Birth guidebooks

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

Infants & Toddlers


Sleep Problems

Child Rearing & Discipline

Preschool-aged children

Young school-aged children

Teenaged children

Learning disabilities and ADHD

Medical Information & Nutrition

Life Style Choices

Death and Children

Boys/Girls: "Gender" issues

Miscellaneous Books

Other Media

Sources & Acknowledgements

Paula Burch's Home Page

Just for Girls and Just for Boys: Reviews of Books About Parenting and Gender Issues

It was once the fashion to raise girls and boys very differently, regardless of their aptitudes and individual likes and dislikes. Many children suffered because their own qualities were sterotypically imagined to belong to the opposite sex. Then it became the fashion to try to erase "gender" differences by raising children exactly the same; this was much more fair to the children, but it became obvious that, while the traits of individual boys overlap quite a bit with the traits of individual girls, there are some inborn differences between the sexes. Now it is fashionable to imagine that these differences are so much greater than the similarities that boys and girls might as well come from different planets. This is patently ridiculous--the overlaps of characteristics are significant between the sexes--but there is certainly real value in examining the different problems of the two sexes separately. --Paula Burch

Growing Up Free, Raising Non-Sexist Kids in the 80's [OOP; try your library or amazon]
Read [this book]. Yes, it was written a decade ago, but 80% of the stuff is still real relevent. And most of the stuff that has changed is really great because it has changed for the better. It's nice to see that progress is being made, while seeing how far we have to go. The author's name slips my mind right now, but she was one of the original founders of Ms Magazine, and the only one of the bunch to have kids. She's terrific. Her parenting wisdom sounds a lot like things I read here on the net. At the time of the writing, her kids were about 13 (twin daughters) and an 8 year old son. It's a book I pull out from time to time to reread sections of. She did a LOT of homework for the book and it's full of juicy references to other books that someday, somehow, somewhere I would like to have time to read.

Kathleen Odean: Great Books for Girls, More Than 600 books to inspire today's girls and tomorrow's women. $12.95 [sources incl. Ms. Foundation (see order form) and amazon]

Raising a Son [sources incl. Chinaberry and amazon]
This book says that boys need to feel that being a man is a worthwhile thing, and that they need to spend time with their father or an appropriate stand-in in order to learn this. This certainly makes sense, but I didn't need to read a whole book to learn it. The book also discusses specific discipline problems with boys and teenage boys, which may make it more valuable to some parents of boys (my boy is too young for this to matter much to me--perhaps I would give the book a more positive review if he weren't). The suggestions all seem very reasonable and sensitive. - Paula Burch

The Courage To Raise Good Men [sources incl. amazon]
I got a lot more out of this one than I did "Raising A Son". One thing the author shows is that mothers often feel pressured by society to push their sons away, especially when they become teenagers, in order to help "make him a man". However, this is probably the worst thing that one could do. It is the *child's* job to separate from the parents, not the parents to abandon the child, at any age. Good book, worth a reading. --Paula Burch

Mary Bray Pipher: Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls [sources incl. amazon]
This is supposed to be an absolute must-read for all parents of girls these days. It's generated a lot of discussion. I plan to read it even though I don't have a girl, myself. --Paula Burch

Mindy Bingham and Sandy Stryker, with Dr. Susan Allstetter Neufeldt Things Will Be Different for My Daughter: A Practical Guide to Building Her Self-Esteen and Self-Reliance (Penguin: $14.95) [sources incl. amazon]
I haven't read this book, but it got a very positive review in my local newspaper: "the book of the year for parents who want their daughters to fly by their own unusually important new book that offers concrete advice on how to raise your daughter -- from infancy to age 22-- to be a confident and capable achiever." --Paula Burch

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Last updated: March 2, 2003
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