WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up once you've had a response. 2. Keep your question brief 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. See full guidelines here.

Live webchat with Steve Biddulph about Raising Girls, Wednesday 16 January, 9pm to 10pm

(246 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Jan-13 14:08:03

Parenting expert Steve Biddulph is joining us for another webchat on Weds 16 January at 9pm - 10pm. Steve last joined Mumsnet back in 2000 when he talked about his book Love, Laughter and Parenting as well as his worldwide bestseller, Raising Boys.

We're delighted that Steve is returning to talk to us about his latest book, Raising Girls. This was written as a response to the 'sudden and universal deterioration in girls' mental health, starting in primary school and devastating the teen years'. The book is both a call-to-arms for parents and a detailed guide through the five key stages of girlhood to help build strength and connectedness into your daughter from infancy onwards. Join the discussion and you will be entered into a draw to win one of five copies of Steve Biddulph's Raising Girls. 

If you're interested in Steve's latest book, Mumsnet Academy are running a one day seminar with Steve on 26 January in London. Here's more information.
 
Put the date in your diary to join the discussion on Weds 16 at 9pm-10pm and if you're unable to join us then, post a question in advance to this thread.
 

Chandras Wed 16-Jan-13 17:36:23

I would like to know what do you think are the most important rules a mother has to follow when raising a boy in the absence of a father figure and family to help out.

My son has plenty of very positive male role models, but I would like to know if there is something else of equal importance that I am missing.

Thank you (from the woman who has been giving Raising Boys books to every friend who delivers a baby boy blush)

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Jan-13 17:55:58

Evening all.

We'd just like to remind everyone about our Live webchat guidelines (see top of thread), particularly no 4, about being civil/polite. Of course, it's fine to ask our webchat guests challenging questions (we wouldn't expect anything less of you lot) but please can you do so respectfully.

Also, we need to pre-warn you that, because this is a lateish-night chat, Steve will be posting from his hotel room, not from MNHQ, so he won't have the usual back-up/typing help/energising biscuit top-ups. Please do bear with us - and him - if it gets busy and/or if Steve experiences any technical hitches.

Mindful of all that, we think we really do need to restrict this webchat to one Q per poster. Please resist the temptation to post a second one if you've asked one already. Thanks so much.

concessionsavailable Wed 16-Jan-13 18:34:06

My MIL gave me a couple of extracts from your new book on Raising Girls, lovingly clipped from the Sunday Times etc
Your advice for giving girls better self esteem includes limiting TV time, checking Internet privacy, welcoming children home, routine and structure, shared meals at a table, playing across generations, one-to-one time, seasonal rituals etc. Clearly I agree with all this but, without wanting to sound rude, it's also pretty obvious too, nothing new, nothing which particularly struck me as particularly applying to girls rather than boys.
Is this because it was an unrepresentative excerpt, or is the advice much the same across genders, when it's all boiled down?

concessionsavailable Wed 16-Jan-13 18:47:11

Just in case MNHQ consider the question impolite, I should have should have added, I already have two of your books so I suppose I was wondering what's new in this one. I found Raising Boys had helpful stuff in for my DD1, who loves being thrown around, held upside down, romping around fields etc etc

caramelwaffle Wed 16-Jan-13 18:54:12

What is your opinion on women, who are mothers (young and old) working for money, outside of their homes?

TunipTheVegedude Wed 16-Jan-13 18:54:40

Hi Steve. I'm a bit surprised by your suggestion that we need a new kind of feminism to encourage aunt-style relationships, when feminism has always supported and encouraged this kind of relationship across the generations. Do you not think it's a bit of a cheek for you, as a man, to pronounce about what feminism should do, when you don't seem awfully well up on what it already does?

Thank you.

MummaBubba123 Wed 16-Jan-13 19:44:08

I feel quite passionately about giving my children a healthy appetite for healthy food - particularly since my husband's parents both died at a very young age of heart-related illnesses and his grandfather had his first heart attack at 46. My husband is now 40. I feel we know so much about healthy eating in this day and age and so I'm right to encourage them to enjoy healthy food. However, there is a lot of Mummy-pressure to 'just give them' some chocolate / crisps / sweets as regular or daily treats. Am I being too strict not to follow suit. Or are my efforts to encourage them to develop a 'taste' for healthy eating going to help? Equally, I don't want to create children who crave or binge on things they are not often given. I let them eat a little cake at birthday parties (but with the thick icing taken off) and take my own popcorn (natural) and substitute it for crisps, etc. offered. I swap evian for Fruit Shoots. Is it wrong to try to give them 'good stuff' when we are a more knowledgeable society in terms of healthy diets?

Jamieandthemagic torch post 17.08

Totally agree.

I have 2 boys 6 & 8 . I've read the Raising Boys book which tbh I've forgotten so must read it again, but possibly speaks volumes!

I'm more inclined to think of birth order as opposed to gender...I was/am not a girly girl & my boys are not typical 'boys'

Is it not too easy just to gender stereotype?

stevebiddulph Wed 16-Jan-13 20:43:10

testing

stevebiddulph Wed 16-Jan-13 20:44:23

test2

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Jan-13 20:59:25

Steve is about to join us, as Helen says, from his hotel room so do bear with us if his internet isn't the fastest. He's ready to go so welcome to Mumsnet, Steve...

stevebiddulph Wed 16-Jan-13 21:00:52

Hello Everyone.
Its great of you to care about this topic and come along to discuss it.
I'd like to talk to you a bit first about how we can proceed. As you can imagine, what happens is I was contacted by Mumsnet to come online for an hour tonight, and be in a forum about my new book Raising Girls.

I came onto the site about half an hour ago, and discovered that there was an avalanche of every imaginable kind of question and discussion. Already over fifty of them! Then an interesting thing happened. My heart began to beat very very fast, and I had to go and lie down and do some slow breathing. This really surprised me, as normally I am a calm and fairly easy going kind of person.

Then I had a bit of a think about what might be the reason. I was pretty sure it was fear. So I thought the best thing was to talk to you about this whole forum idea.

One of the things that I think has happened in recent years, is this idea that there is a right way to do things. In fact - one right way, which should work for everyone. But - really, I don't think this is so.
Different things work in different situations, for different people. And since life is quite hard for most of us at times, we need to get different ideas and try them on. The more different ideas, the better so we have more chance of finding whats right for us.

Now, if you believe in ONE RIGHT WAY, then two things follow.
First is the problem of how to agree. Usually people then start a big argument about what is the right way. I have found that this generally does not lead to a solution. People get more uptight, and less flexible, and everyone stresses out too. This has happened quite a bit in the parenting field.

I will stop for a second, and let you respond to this - just short comments are good - do you know what I am talking about? That we all have to find our own right way. And respect the choices of others.Do you see it differently? In about two minutes, when I know someone is there from a response or two, I will go on…

gazzalw Wed 16-Jan-13 21:04:29

Parenting children causes no end of right way conversations not least with different generations and depending upon how one has been parented oneself. I totally agree though that such an approach is not constructive!

stevebiddulph Wed 16-Jan-13 21:04:34

Is anybody there? Let me know?

stevebiddulph Wed 16-Jan-13 21:05:45

Great Gazzalw I have an idea about your question, which I think was the first. I will come to that in a few minutes.

Cezzy Wed 16-Jan-13 21:06:23

I have 2 Dds and find that each responds differently to situations so certainly it is a case of try and see as what may work with one doesn't necessarily for the other.

stevebiddulph Wed 16-Jan-13 21:06:53

Okay, now the second problem is - if there's a right way, then the natural thing is that there must be people who KNOW that right way, and they are called EXPERTS. And we should do what they tell us.
I think thats a bad idea, dangerous, and also it doesn't fit the facts.
Perhaps in gardening advice, or veterinary help. But not something as complicated and individual and deep as parenting. Nobody could possibly be an expert on you and your child, apart from you, and even then we all struggle. So what would happen if we ditched the idea of experts? How could we proceed? How could we cope?

I'll just pause to write some more, but please comment on this idea if you wish -

Okay. Now you are probably saying -but YOU WROTE A BOOK, or ITS SAYS AT THE TOP OF THE FORUM YOU ARE AN EXPERT.
Now, of course, I didn't say that about myself. I hate those terms, expert, or guru or the like. But I am a family therapist, and should explain how that works. A family gets into a stuck place, and they go and see a therapist all together. So if one of those questions like those asked in the posts above came up, I would want and need to ask lots more questions of you. And get your partners point of view, which would be helpful. And of course talk quite a bit to your child. We might even talk about your family history, other things completely, and try to get the whole picture. We wouldn't ideally do this by typing on a computer. It would be nicer face to face. And it would take several hours. In fact - I would never dream of giving advice without this kind of investtigation first. It would be terribly dangerous - what if the wrong advice was given, and something really important was missed. (a child was anxious or acting up because of sexual abuse, for example). So can you see how it would make me nervous to see fifty questions about important specific real problems? Or a really risky idea if I pretended to be an expert who knew THE ONE RIGHT WAY? If you want to comment, I will pause for a minute or two, and write a bit more about girls which we want to get onto next.

orangepudding Wed 16-Jan-13 21:06:57

As a parent I do look to others for advice but don't follow blindly, I listen and then use what's relevant for my family.

blossomhillontapplease Wed 16-Jan-13 21:08:25

I have had to have this approach to parenting. We get lots of advice on how to deal with situations from professionals etc but can only go with what fits the family........untiol a different approach is needed of course.grin

flow4 Wed 16-Jan-13 21:08:52

I don't think there are 'right' ways to parent; I think there are ways that work... Or not. smile

herewegoloubylou Wed 16-Jan-13 21:09:42

I think as a parent it's in the interests of our children to avoid black-and-white thinking: it's good to see loads of shades of grey.

Books like yours give different angles from the ones known within our extended families and passed down Philip Larkin stylee.

Smudging Wed 16-Jan-13 21:10:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummaBubba123 Wed 16-Jan-13 21:11:40

Hi Steve,
Yes. I think I know what you mean. One of the things I hate most is the indignance with which most mothers strive to defend 'their way' of feeding, napping, schooling and potty training (to name but a few) their own children - as if it were THE way to do things. To me, this smacks of insecurity and a need to feel that they are doing 'the right thing' - when in fact, there is only ever 'the best thing for you, your own family set up and your children. It's quite alienating and easy to feel excluded, judged and alienated as a parent.

stevebiddulph Wed 16-Jan-13 21:12:21

Thanks everyone - I am glad there is a spirit of evaluating, and also tolerating other points of view. We can help each other a lot if we respect our own ideas, and give a bit of credence to other points of view making sense to others. No need to fight about it. Now, I can get on to some stuff about girls, and feel we are on safe ground... you will just take it as one man's ideas to consider. Really feeling happier now..

AppleOgies Wed 16-Jan-13 21:13:00

I can understand how you are uncomfortable with the 'expert' 'parenting guru' tags. I think the thing about parenting is we are all doing our best and hopefully we get it right most of the time but that there's advice out there when we feel we are not getting it quite right.

I don't really have a question, I'm not raising girls, the aim of this webchat. But I did purchase your raising boys and found it very enlightening.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now