Raising Girls


Raising girls today is not the straightforward business it once was.

In most countries today, girls have the freedom to achieve pretty much whatever they wish to aim for and work towards but with this freedom has come new challenges.

All of us who have daughters are united in their goal of raising girls to become strong, confident, capable and compassionate young women but how do we do this?

raising girls,


What do girls need from their parents, their teachers and the other adults in their lives to enable them to grow into the women we want them to be?

Since my daughter was born in 1998, I've found some fantastic books on the subject of raising girls.

Many of these books focus on the teenage years but, if you have a daughter, please don't wait until she's a teenager before you start to read them.

The process of raising an emotionally resilient daughter with healthy self-esteem starts in babyhood and there are lots of things you can do as your daughter grows up which can help prevent problems later on. The earlier you start, the better prepared you'll be to be the sort of parent your daughter needs you to be.

So here is my list of the best books about raising girls.

The reviews include chapter headings as this is the way I generally decide when flicking through a book at a bookshop or library whether it will be useful and/or interesting. I hope this approach helps you too.

Most of these books will be available in libraries and bookshops. You can also buy most of them online - with free postage - from the Book Depository.



The Princess Bitchface Syndrome: Surviving Adolescent Girls
by Michael Carr-Gregg

You'll see that my lists of parenting books contain a number of books by Australian psychologist, author and speaker Michael Carr-Gregg. The reason is simple: Michael writes well, offers good advice and writes about the issues which concern parents today.

This book, like Michael's other books, is a small-format, easy-to-read book, written with humour and loads of insights into what's going on with teen girls today. There is plenty of good, commonsense advice to keep parents on the right track and to reassure them.



Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and the New Realities of Girl World
by Rosalind Wiseman

This book is quite long and a bit heavy going at times but stick with it. It offers amazing insights into the world of girls - how they choose their best friends, how they express their anger, their boundaries with boys, and their relationships with parents.

This book inspired the movie Mean Girls and, if you've seen the movie, you'll enjoy seeing how the ideas in the book were used. Wiseman shows how girls of every background are profoundly influence by their interactions with one another and offers useful suggestions and advice.

My daughter started high school in 2010 and I read this book at the beginning of the year. I found it fascinating.

Note also that the ideas don't relate only to raising girls - in my experience her descriptions of how the social hierarchy works apply to boys' social networks too.

Chapter headings include:

  • Cliques and Popularity
  • Nasty Girls: Teasing, Gossip and Reputations
  • Power Plays: Group Dynamics and Rites of Passage



Find Your Tribe
by Rebecca Sparrow

This is a colourful, easy-to-read little book which would be ideal to give to a girl in Year 6 before she starts high school. It seems to me to be based on the ideas explored in Queen Bees and Wanna Bees but is written for girls, rather than their parents.

The book tackles an important topic – broadly, how to cope with starting high school, particularly the friendship issues and study pressures – in a fun, non-threatening way that will appeal to girls of all ages.

Although the book has been written for girls, much of it applies to boys too. You're unlikely to be able to get your son to read it but it's worth reading yourself if you're the parent of a son.

Chapters include:

  • Your Feelings Are Your Inner Compass
  • Learn to Bounce Back
  • Your Future Success Has Little to Do With Your Year 12 Score



Daughters and their Dads: Tips for Fathers, Adult Daughters, Husbands and Father-figures
by Bruce Robinson

I heard Bruce interviewed on ABC radio when my daughter was small and was so fascinated by what he had to say that I bought this books for my husband and I to read.

What a revelation!

This book does a great job of explaining that daughters need quite specific things from their fathers if they are to grow into happy, well-adjusted, confident women - things that their mother and the women in their lives cannot give them.

There are some great tips here if you are raising a daughter however the book is also fascinating to read with your own experience in mind. I have a terrific Dad and we have a close relationship, however if you grew up without your dad or if you and your father aren't close, you may find this book sheds some light on your relationship.



Raising Girls
by Steve Biddulph

This book should really be at the top of the page because, if I had to recommend only one book to parents of daughters, it would definitely be this one.

The book discusses five stages of girlhood and the things a little girl needs from her parents at each stage. It's perfect for parents who are expecting a girl or who have a baby daughter but it's also brilliant for parents of daughters of any age.

Steve Biddulph is Australian and writes in a very easy-to-read and accessible way. This book is immensely encouraging and positive and I highly recommend it.


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