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Twenty-five years ago Dr. The book offered adults insight into a world that was otherwise closed to them: the emotional lives of their own teenage daughters. Pipher presented problems and solutions around teenage girlhood and reminded readers that the best parent is the one who helps their teenage daughters be their authentic selves. The book has never gone out of print.
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A lot has changed in the past quarter-century, which compelled Dr. Pipher and her daughter, Sara Gilliam, to write a new edition of the book, which they updated to include more information about anxiety and about technology — particularly social media and smartphones — and how it shapes teenage girlhood. Fatherly spoke to Pipher and Gilliam about the state of teenage girls in America and how parents can help them be their best selves.
It came out before there was a really deep and broad understanding of global climate change. The biggest issue, of course, is social media and the advent of smartphones and iPads — the entire online world that teenagers in particular occupy.
So global terrorism, social media, climate change, school shootings. Those are all profound cultural shifts that took place after What else is new in the book? Physical, social, emotional, moral development.
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We wanted to deep dive into that. Mary : This generation is the first generation of digital natives. Our culture really is an experiment. If that persona becomes more attractive and more interesting and more popular and happier than the real girl, that true self inside, that true self really withers away. One of the issues with girls is that their identities tend to be really shallow and reactive to whatever the next instant message is.
You said that yourself. So is this part of being an adolescent, being shallow and reactive, just worsened by social media, then? M: Absolutely. Women have always had trouble developing an authentic self. The skills and abilities to navigate the real world. The world of work, as you know, is a place where you learn a lot.
You learn a lot about yourself and about the world and about other people. M: The answer, of course, is that it depends. A good parent is focused on both of those things.
One of the most important things right now is just finding ways to nudge this age group out into the world, and to take a few chances. My generation, I would say, was pretty confident. I went off to Berkeley. We thought we could change the world. We were pretty confident about that — we worked in high school and grew up at a time when we were out and navigating the world on our own as children.
There was a lot of at-risk behavior. This generation is very cautious.
One of the goals of parents is to nudge this generation to take risks, and then make sure those risks are calibrated to the point where girls can have successful experiences with them. One of the big differences is that this generation of girls has never not been able to text their parents when they were in trouble. S: What the family looks like today is actually quite different than in , when the original Reviving Ophelia came out. Divorce rates are at a year-low, so there are significantly fewer families where the parents are divorced.
Fathers are much more engaged and are spending a lot more quality time with their children than in past generations. One of our biggest and most pleasant surprises in our research is that mother-and-daughter relationships are much stronger now than they were. Middle school definitely continues to be the toughest era for that — there is still some conflict for that and it is, frankly, developmentally appropriate.
They sometimes feel like they are flying blind in our current culture and in this online world. But, they are very invested in having a close and confidante kind of relationship with their daughters. Sexual violence has diminished, although the numbers are still nothing to write home about. Violent crime has come down. In that sense, and with the strengthening of the family unit, I think you can make an argument that a lot of things have improved.
M: It depends on which way you look at it. Everyone is looking at their phone. So things are very different in that sense. When you think about it, for almost the entire history, going back to hominids, people interacted with other people. They shared words, stories, meals. They traveled together, joked together. Everybody learned the tasks required to survive. Now, girls sleep with their phones, and they look at them first thing in the morning. And some girls are up in the night looking at their phones.
Because they rarely sit down without devices , having a conversation. We just said: Here are some of the strengths and vulnerabilities of girls in this generation.
What Today's Teen Girls Need to Hear From Their Parents | Fatherly
When you were doing the research for this edition, was there anything that really surprised you that you found? S: Rising rates of anxiety in adolescence, we, to a point, anticipated. She has two daughters: Sara is currently attending Wesleyan University, and Manju is an artist, puppet maker, and costume designer. She lives with her husband, Michael, in western Massachusetts. Her website is Opheliasmom. Visit Seller's Storefront. We want you to be satisfied with the book you order. Our general description is conservative and the book should be as good or better than our general description may indicate.
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