Bringing Up Girls (Listening)

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Wanted to share an excerpt from a great book I’ve been reading, Bringing Up Girls, by Dr. James Dobson. As a dad of 3 girls I need all the help I can get, but I’d recommend this book for anybody with girls in their life, which is all of us.

The following really spoke to the importance of communication and listening to our girls. Something a lot of us men struggle with. Not only because we are made different as males, but because the increasing demands on our time. See below:

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of talking in the lives of girls and women. Though estimates vary, it appears, that males use about seven thousand words per day; and females, twenty thousand. Women not only talk more, but their enjoyment in conversation is far more intense. Connecting through talking activates the pleasure centers of a girl’s brain, providing a huge emotional reward for her. It is why teen girls are obsessed with text messaging…It also explains why one of the most common sources of disappointment women express about married life is that the guys won’t talk to them. Show me a husband who keeps his thoughts to himself, and I will show you a frustrated wife…Little and not so little girls need to talk too, especially about what they are feeling. Let me speak directly to the busy mom and dad who are too exhausted at the end of the day to get your kids talking, either at the dinner table or in those intimate few minutes before bedtime: you may be making a serious mistake. You need to know what your children are thinking, and they need the pleasure of telling you about it…There will come a time when they will be talking primarily to their peers, and the missed opportunities for understanding and intimacy today will be costly down the road.

This is why we should engage our kids in activities that encourage conversation, including eating together as a family, playing table games, inviting friends with kids to dinner, cooking together, building things, adopting a lovable dog or cat, cultivating mutual interests, or learning a sport such as skiing or tennis as a family. Remember how your daughter is made, and seek invitations into that private world. You won’t regret it” (Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Girls, p. 33-35)

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