Sunday, December 02, 2018

The 15 Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls

As the mother of three daughters, parenting girls is something I constantly worry about.


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When they were little, it was one thing, but now that my youngest is 12 and my eldest is already out of the house, I worry about it even more. The things that teenage girls face today are so different than when I was growing up. I want to be sure I'm doing the best I can as a mother of girls and that I am armed with the best information out there.

These 15 books have all gotten great reviews, and while I haven't made my way through the entire list yet, I have read about half of them. The rest are on my to-read list.

15 Best Books on Raising Girls


Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls

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Top 15 Parenting books for Raising Girls: The Curse of the Good GirlThe Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons 

This book had a huge impact on me when I first read it 9 years ago. Author Rachel Simmons argues that the way girls are brought up to be "nice" and people-pleasing actually hinders them from being successful. Breaking out of the good girl mold does not mean that we don't teach our daughters to be kind, but it does mean we should teach them to express their feelings, learn to be assertive, and stay to true to who they are.

The thing that stayed with me most was that the typical "good girls" are actually the ones who become "mean girls." There is a better way to teach our daughters to be kind and good and Simmons has lots of great exercises for helping girls do just that.

You can read my original review here: The Curse of the Good Girl Review


15 best parenting books for raising girls—Girls on the EdgeGirls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls by Leonard Sax

The first book I read by Leonard Sax was actually his book on raising boys (Boys Adrift). I was unhappy about having to read it for book club since I don't have sons, but I ended up being fascinated about the research he has done and the conclusions he has drawn. As soon as I learned he wrote a book about raising girls, I bought it and read it.

In it Sax addresses the four factors that are driving the new crisis for girls. They are sexual identity, the cyberbubble, obsessions, and environmental toxins. He gives practical parenting advice on how to address each issue as you raise your own daughters.



Best books for raising girls—American Girls
American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

I am currently reading this book and it is so eye opening. I have tried to stay highly involved in the social media my daughters are using, but this is taking it to a whole new level. The author, Nancy Jo Sales, has put together research from real girls and the very real things they deal with when it comes to social media.

This book gives an important and complete picture of what our girls are facing with social media today. It also helps parents to know how to best support their daughters and to give them the tools they need to navigate social media and find inner strength and confidence both on the internet and in real life.





Helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends, and the new realities of Girl World
Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman

The social structures in "Girl World" are complex and somewhat dizzying for parents to understand yet our daughters are dealing with these social rules every single day. This book is absolutely spot on in its assessment of the social hierarchy and has great advice for parents to teach their daughters how to navigate it.

This book also addresses the mean girl culture better than any other that I have read. Bullying amongst girls is very real and I want to give my daughters as many tools as possible to deal with it. I also want to teach them the skills they need to avoid becoming mean girls themselves.




Top 15 Parenting Books for Raising Girls: Little Girls Can Be Mean
Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bullyproof Girls in the Early Grades by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert

Many of the books on my list focus on the teenager aspect of raising girls, but this one is great for parents of younger girls. Bullying starts early (before Kindergarten!) and this book is a great guide for helping parents and teachers to get rid of bullying tendencies early on. It provides a four step program—observe, connect, guide, support—to help daughters handle these issues every day.

I feel the advice contained in this book definitely helped when one of my daughters was experiencing  bullying by one of her best friends. If you feel that your own daughter might be experiencing bullying, or even that she may be engaging in bullying behavior, this is a must read.



Best books for raising daughters—The Child Whisperer
The Child Whisperer: The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful, Cooperative Children by Carol Tuttle

This book isn't just about raising girls, but it has helped me immensely in raising mine. Author Carol Tuttle categorizes children into four separate energy types and teaches skills to parent each energy type specific to their needs.

Regarding girls, she does address how culture tends to expect all females to fall into the Type 1 or Type 2 categories, but has difficulty accepting girls who are Type 3 and Type 4. As a Type 4 woman myself who has tried to force myself into a more acceptable Type 2 mold in my lifetime, I totally relate to this. Tuttle's advice has helped me to give my own Type 3 and Type 4 daughters exactly what they need to be honored and successful as well as teaching me to know how to best parent my Type 2 daughter.

It all sounds a little crazy reading it here, but this book is definitely one of my favorite parenting resources ever.


Best books for raising girls—You're Wearing That?
You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen

We've all done it. Made an innocent remark that cause our daughters to get angry, start crying, or run to their rooms and slam the door. This book is on my to-read list because it happens all too often at my house and I am left wondering what on earth I said to provoke such a dramatic reaction.

This book gives solid advice to both mothers and daughters to help them improve their communication with one another and start having conversations that are helpful instead of hurtful.






Best parenting books ever—how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This is another excellent parenting resource that basically lives on my night table. It is not girl specific but it has made a huge difference as I parent my girls.

One of the biggest mistakes we make as parents is not allowing our children to feel their feelings. We mostly don't realize we do this as we really are trying our best and want to correct their behavior. The author gives so many great ways to approach different situations with our children and they work. Sometimes when I am in the middle of an argument with one of my daughters I suddenly realize I am not following the principles outlined in this book. As soon as I do, it's like magic and my daughter calms down, I calm down, and we are finally able to resolve the situation.

And that's why it lives on my night table—I need lots of reminders!

Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls—A Father's Guide to Raising Daughters
A Father's Guide to Raising Daughters: How to Boost Her Self-Esteem, Self-Image, and Self-Respect by Michael T. Wilkinson

While I have been focusing on my relationship with my daughters as their mother, their relationship with their father is just as important.

I have been noticing that my husband has been struggling a bit to know how to deal with our youngest daughter. She is very different than our older two and I want her to have a rock solid relationship with her dad. I researched books on the subject and this one seems to be a clear winner.

The reviews on this book tout it as a great guide for fathers to help raise daughters to be strong and independent.



Best parenting books ever—The Grown Up's Guide to Teenage Humans by Josh ShippThe Grown Up's Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakeable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult by Josh Shipp

This is another one of those parenting books that has a permanent place on my nightstand. You may have seen some of Josh Shipp's parenting videos on Facebook (I particularly like this one) and he is often called the "teen whisperer." He has a refreshing view on what teens need and how to parent them.

His book addresses many of the issues that girls face today such as eating disorders, social media, boyfriends, cliques, and more. I like that it is organized as more of a reference book so you can easily look up the issue that you are interested in and read up on it.




Top Parenting Books—Bringing Up Girls by James DobsonBringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women by Dr. James Dobson

Dr. Dobson has a more old fashioned conservative approach to parenting, but I enjoy reading his parenting articles and most recently read his book The New Strong-Willed Child. I think his advice is super practical and applicable. He is long winded and likes to use lots of studies and statistics in his writing, so if you like those sorts of examples, you will probably get more out of this book.

In this book, Dobson lists 7 things parents should be doing with their daughters in order to shape their lives. According to reviews, these 7 things are easy to apply and people have found success with them.



The 15 Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls—Enough As She Is by Rachel SimmonsEnough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives by Rachel Simmons  

Because I loved Simmons' The Curse of the Good Girl so much (see first item in this book list), I am looking forward to also reading this book. I love the idea of teaching my girls that they are truly enough as they are and that they do not have to define their life's success by anyone's measure but their own.

Simmons uses her typical in-depth case studies to show parents how to help their girls deal with negative feelings, be more authentic, embrace risk, and learn how to feel confident and happy.




Good parenting books to read on raising girls — Untangled by Lisa Damour
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour

I have not read this book, but I am intrigued by the idea of these seven transitions into adulthood.

They are: 1) Parting with childhood, 2) Joining a new tribe, 3) Harnessing emotions, 4) Contending with adult authority, 5) Planning for the future, 6) Entering the romantic world, and 7) Caring for herself.

It seems important to understand how these transitions work in our daughters. However, based on some of the reviews it seems that religious people like myself may not love everything Damour has to say. I am still interested in her research of these transitions into adulthood, though.



Best books for raising girls—The myth of the perfect girl
The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life by Ana Homayoun

This book delves into the stress girls feel to be perfect in every aspect of their lives. According to reviews it is "insightful" and has "lots of great tips for helping teems who are overwhelmed and overbooked with life in general."

I know I felt this way as a teenager, but I see my daughters feeling it even more. It is harder than ever to get into a good college and teens are so overbooked and stretched way too thin. I am eager to find out what Homayoun's tips are for helping girls in this situation.





The Conscious Parent's Guide to Raising Girls: A Mindful Approach to Raising a Strong, Confident Daughter by Erika V. Shearin Karres

According to reviews, this looks like a good book for parents of elementary school aged girls especially. The information is similar to many other books I have listed and promises to help your daughter learn to deal with cliques and bullying, help improve communication with your daughter, help your daughter learn to resist peer pressure, and help you to build an emotionally healthy relationship with her.





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Saturday, December 01, 2018

A Fun Family Tradition for Christmas Adam

Try this fun family tradition on Christmas Adam this year! 

Try this fun Christmas Adam tradition with your family!


Make sure to check out our Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide—Find hundreds of gift ideas for EVERYONE on your list!


Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve. Unless it falls on a weekend, my girls are usually in school on December 23. Because of this, the evening of Christmas Adam has always seemed kind of like the first day we are able to start our Christmas celebrations, so when the girls were really young we started to cuddle up together and watch a Christmas movie on Christmas Adam.

The movie we always watch is George C. Scott's A Christmas Carol. When the girls were really young, they were pretty scared of the ghosts but now that they are older and used to the movie, they love it.

My husband and I chose this movie because we love the message it gives—generosity and love are always a better way of life than being like Scrooge.

But that's not ALL of our Christmas Adam tradition. One year, my husband came home on December 23 with a bunch of silly Christmas socks that a colleague had given him at work. She gave him one pair for each of us. The girls were super excited about the socks and put them right on and were still wearing then when we cuddled up to watch A Christmas Carol.

I didn't think a thing of it until the next year, when my daughter Chloe said, "I can't wait until we get our new silly Christmas socks and watch A Christmas Carol on Christmas Adam this year! It's my favorite tradition!"

Silly Socks and a movie—a fun Christmas tradition to do with your family.


You better believe I went out and bought some silly socks and brought them out on Christmas Adam before we watched our movie. Traditions are not something to mess around with—even if you didn't even know it was a tradition!

The photo above is our very first silly sock movie night back in 2011—I just snapped a quick picture with my phone to text it to the friend who gave the socks to us. If I had known it was going to be a new tradition, I might have bothered to take a better photo!

The photo collage below shows some of the Christmas Adams since. I usually remember to take a decent photo now!

Silly Socks and a movie—a fun Christmas tradition to do with your family.


I think our Christmas Adam Silly Sock tradition might be one of my favorite traditions simply because of the way it came about. It's unique, it's fun, and it brings us together as a family. We all really look forward to it.

Start your own Christmas Adam silly sock tradition


What you'll need:

A Christmas DVD 


You can try renting or streaming, but we ended up buying a copy of The Christmas Carol because it wasn't available on Netflix and someone else had taken the only copy at the local video rental—it's just easier to know you have it ready to go! You definitely don't want to be disappointed where traditions are concerned.

Here is a list of some great Christmas movies you could watch:


Silly Socks for every member of the family 


There's quite a large selection on Amazon, and nearly every department store sells them at Christmas time.

Hot chocolate for everyone


We usually have hot chocolate with whipped cream in our favorite Christmas mugs while we watch the movie.

Lots of pillows and blankets for cuddling together


The best part is just being together—it just takes a tradition to get us there sometimes.

I hope you'll enjoy this fun (and silly) Christmas tradition as much as we do!

We all have Christmas Eve traditions, but what about Christmas Adam (December 23)? This silly socks and a movie is a fun family Christmas tradition to start.





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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Simple Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family

Memorable Christmas traditions are the best part of Christmas! Here are several simple family Christmas traditions that will help keep the holiday spirit alive and that your children will remember for years to come!

family Christmas traditions

Make sure to check out our Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide—Find hundreds of gift ideas for EVERYONE on your list!

Christmas is full of traditions. Traditions bring us closer together as family, friends, and a community as a whole. Traditions give us something to look forward to and hold onto when things get hard or we are away from home and family. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood are centered around the Christmas traditions we had as a family, and I think many people feel the same way.

My children certainly do! They really look forward to the traditions we have made as a family for the holidays—in fact, I think I'd be in big trouble if I ever tried to get rid of one of them!

While traditions are important, it's best to keep it to a few that you know you can pull off each year rather than so many that you find yourself overly stressed during the holidays just because you're trying to do all the things. Also, traditions tend to evolve a bit, so it's nice to just roll with the punches and see which ones stick and which ones don't. In the end, the ones that bring you and your family the most joy are the ones that will stay around forever.

If you are looking for how to start new family Christmas traditions, click the link below:


There are some good Christmas tradition ideas in the above linked post, and below I've included a few more family favorites.

Simple Christmas traditions to start with your family. These easy ideas will be traditions your family will remember for years to come!


7 Simple Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family


Christmas Cookies


Christmas Eve cookie tradition. Make these amazing Peppermint cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve


Making cookies to set out on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus is a pretty universal tradition. We don't always make the same ones, but I think our favorite Christmas cookie to make are these Peppermint Meltaways. They are a little more time consuming to do, so if we are feeling pinched for time, Santa likes these chewy holiday cookies just as much.

Note—My youngest daughter has Celiac, so all of the recipes I share are gluten-free. However, all of them can just as easily be made with regular wheat flour if you don't need them to be gluten-free.

Christmas Books


Start the Christmas tradition of reading Christmas books to your family each evening in December. Find the best books here.


A favorite tradition at our house is to read a Christmas picture book every night during December. I have acquired quite the collection over the years and we all look forward to some family time each night reading a Christmas story that gets us in the holiday spirit. As the girls have gotten older, it has been a little harder to do every night with their busy schedules, but we still do it as often as we can, and I leave the books in a prominent place in the living room and often find one of them just reading a favorite story on her own.

Here are some of our favorite Christmas books:




Christmas Advent

Do acts of service each day during December. Print out these adorable cards to put into your advent calendar that help you to do something kind each day.


An advent calendar is another fairly universal and easy Christmas tradition. A few years ago, I decided to replace the candy in our Christmas advent with some kindness cards. Instead of fighting over who got to eat the chocolate, my kids started to do nice things for each other, for their friends, and for the community.

Print out your own service advent cards here: Printable Kindness Advent


Christmas Service Project


These 6th graders helped a family in need at Christmas by buying them groceries.


We always try to do something for a family that is in need at Christmas time. Whether that's picking a few names off of the Angel Tree at the store, volunteering at Little Brothers, or buying food and delivering it to their homes. Last year, my youngest daughter (in 6th grade at the time), decided to include her friends in a Christmas service project and it was awesome. Read about what they did here: 6th Grade Christmas Service Project.

I'm hoping they'll want to do it again this year because it was a really great experience for all of them.


Christmas Tree Decorating




I bet you almost don't even think of this as a tradition because we all do it, but it is a tradition and it's one that immediately gets us in the holiday spirit. I admit that I go way overboard on my tree (here's this year's tree on Instagram), but man I love decorating the tree. Here is a Christmas Tree Decorating tutorial that I wrote, that will hopefully help you to get your tree looking super amazing this year.

Christmas Caroling


This is one of my favorite traditions from childhood. My family would go Christmas caroling on Christmas Eve and I loved it so much. In my adulthood, I have organized Christmas Caroling parties with friends which is also a favorite tradition. It doesn't have to be on Christmas Eve and people really love to have carolers stop by their home. If you enjoy music and singing, consider organizing your own Christmas Caroling party and start a new tradition this year!

Christmas Wonders Box

A Christmas Wonders box is a great idea for a family Christmas tradition that keeps the focus on gratitude


This is a cool tradition that I tried one year. It didn't stick with our family, but I still really liked it and it's a good way to help your family focus on the good things in their lives during the Christmas season. I might bring it out again this year, because sharing gratitudes with each other is always a good idea. Click to see how the tradition came about and how to make your own Christmas Wonders box.


Even though December is often one of the busier months of the year, I love how the traditions help me stay grounded with my focus on what's really important. My family, Christlike service to others, and gratitude. I feel our Christmas traditions help us to all stay focused on these important things and hopefully you will find the same thing.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Best Gifts for College Girls

Looking for the perfect gift for your college daughter? Find the best gifts for college girls in this gift guide put together by a college girl.

Gift guide for college girls, written by a college girl who knows!

Make sure to check out our Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide—Find hundreds of gift ideas for EVERYONE on your list!

This year is my eldest daughter's first year in college. I asked her to make a gift guide of things that college girls really want, and she delivered. Some things on the list surprised me (Hoverboards? Really?) but when she sent it, she also sent the following message: "All these blogs tryna say get them this or that but I'VE BEEN IN THE BATTLEFIELD, I BE KNOWIN' THE GOOD STUFF!"

No, she's not a gangster, but she sure does have a fun sense of humor and man I miss her.

But without further ado, let's talk about all the gifts your college daughter really wants.

Christmas Gifts for College Girls: Looking for the best Christmas gift ideas for college girls? Buy something they'll really love and use—click here for the most popular Christmas gifts for college students that they are sure to love! #giftguide


Gift Guide for College Girls

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Tapestries


tapestry


These are a fun and easy way to decorate a dorm room, and because they take up a whole wall they are the only decoration you need. While the Mandala tapestries are super popular, there are plenty of other designs, like this cactus tapestry or this cute pineapple tapestry.

Restaurant Gift Cards

All college students are hungry, and what college student wouldn't love an escape from their Ramen noodles and dorm food? A grocery card or a plain old VISA gift card works, too.

Wendy's gift card
Subway gift card
Starbucks gift card
Panda Express gift card
VISA gift card

See all restaurant gift card options here. Just make sure your college kid can easily get to the restaurants you choose!

Good Headphones


rose gold beats headphones


Every college student needs a good pair of headphones for walking around campus, studying, and working of all that gift card food at the gym.

Apple airpods
Beats

Portable Projector

A portable projector allows your college student to have a home theater. And since it's portable, it can be brought to friend's apartments, parties, or even used for school presentations.

Amazon Fire Stick

The Fire Stick is perfect for streaming Netflix, Hulu, or music to your TV.

While you're at it, make sure to get a Netflix subscription or a Hulu subscription so they can use that Fire Stick!

Printer


HP printer


Who wants to go to campus every time they have to print something out? It is so much easier for your student to have a printer in their room and easily accessible. This one is reasonably priced and good quality. It also has a scanner and a copier, which can be essential for certain classes—like the three art classes my daughter is taking this semester.

All in one portable charger and phone case

Being on campus all day, it's hard to plug in your phone, and the good portable chargers are often heavy. This phone case charges along with the phone whenever it is plugged into the wall. When you need to use it as a charger, you just push a button and it will charge your phone.

Just make sure you buy the right model for your student—the one I have linked here is for the iPhone 8.

HydroFlask water bottle


Hydra flask


This the "it" water bottle to have on college campuses. It is environmentally friendly, sleek, and comes in several different colors and styles.

Instant Pot

Instant pot mini


An instant pot is great for making rice, beans, and tons of other quick and easy meals that fit a college student's food budget. The mini instant pot comes in a 3 quart size which is perfect for college kids cooking for themselves.

Bluetooth speaker

Fender Bluetooth speaker


Every college student needs a good bluetooth speaker—yes, it's a need. This one by Fender is an excellent speaker that's very portable and super stylish, too. We actually have this one in our home and it packs a powerful sound! We love it.

Dorm Room Survival Snack Box

Dorm room survival snack bo


Bria found this website where you can order food in bulk for your college student. (I think she might be hungry, judging from this gift guide, but what college student isn't?) You can get boxes sent that are gluten-free, organic, etc. too.

Amazon Alexa

Alexa is great for college students—they can ask her a quick question or to play music. The Echo Dots are an inexpensive way to add Alexa to a college dorm room.

Eyebrow tint kit


Eyebrow tint kit



An eyebrow tint kit is a great gift for busy college students because they might not have time to put on make-up. Having daughters, I have learned that eyebrows are the most important thing these days. This is a great tint kit, just make sure you get the right color for your own daughter.

An Ipsy subscription

A subscription to a beauty bag like Ipsy is a super fun gift for college girls. They get new, high quality make-up to try every month, plus a new cute bag each month, too.

A hoverboard


Hoverboard with bluetooth speaker


Yes. You read that right. I was surprised to hear that, at least on the campus where Bria attends school, hoverboards are a huge thing. Students use them to get around campus and look pretty cool at the same time. This hoverboard also has a built in bluetooth speaker, but that might not be necessary if your college student has a good pair of headphones.

Longboard


Longboard




If you don't want to spring for a hoverboard, longboards are also pretty cool and are a cheaper way to get around campus. This one is just girly enough for your daughter.

Ukulele

Ukulele starter kit


Every college student needs music in their life! A ukulele is easier to play, smaller, and less expensive than a guitar and they are pretty popular among high school and college students right now. My girls love their ukes and play them often.

This ukulele starter kit is inexpensive and comes with a high quality uke, online lessons, a tuner, and a case.

Thread Wallet phone case

Thread wallet phone case


Thread wallets are super cute and functional, and their phone cases are the same. With one of these phone cases, your college student can carry a few credit cards and ID just in their phone. This is often easier than a purse or larger wallet since she will have a heavy backpack, too.

Launchpad Pro


Launchpad Pro


This cool launchpad pro is for musical college students who are technologically savvy and enjoy mixing their own music. All needed software is included.

There is also a less expensive version here: Launchpad Mini


Hopefully there is something on this list you know your own college daughter will enjoy! You may want to check out my gift guides for teenage girls, too—there will definitely be some good things there as well!

Gift guide for the teenage girl
35 Perfect gifts for teenage girls


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