Glenn T. Stanton has written one of the most important books of the 21st Century related to raising children in a "gender-neutral" world. In "Secure Daughters, Confident Sons," Stanton lays out the gender differences for us in opposing chapters so that we can see how boys and girls are different and how we, as parents can embrace those differences to raise boys who are secure in their masculinity and girls secure in their feminity.
The book is laid out in two parts. In Part I, Stanton tells us what makes a good man or woman, what a boy or girl needs most, and the various journeys to manhood or womanhood. He uses examples from his own life with his children as well as examples from his research at Focus on the Family. One thing to note is that this book is not a theology book, and it should not be treated as such. So, don't be disappointed if you find few Bible references. However, the information found within is very pertinent to the Christian family.
Having two daughters and a son myself, and having grown up in a family where I was the son with two younger sisters, I enjoyed reading the differences and nodding my head, agreeing, and laughing at what Stanton put forth. When today's society says that we should encourage a two-year old boy who puts on his sister pink dress as part of the dress up play of his older sisters, Stanton says we shouldn't encourage this, but we also shouldn't worry, because boys will turn around and go back to having their cars crash into buildings anyway. We've had a six-year old boy come over and play Barbies with my seven-year old daughter. But, what does he do? He gets the Ken dolls and has a boxing match. Boys will be boys, no matter the supposed social construct. He says that girls given "boy toys" such as fire trucks will have tea parties with the fire trucks. Girls will be girls.
In part II of the book, Stanton focuses on why boys and girls need mothers and fathers. I've always said this, myself. Fathers and mothers balance each other out. Boys need a father to show them how to be respectful to women. Boys need a mother to show them what to look for in a wife. Girls need their father for protection and to see what a good husband looks like. They need their mother to know how to be feminine. Stanton talks about disagreements between mom and dad, play, the sexual aspects, language development, discipline, mercy, and how gender is not a social construct.
Regardless of how you may feel about Focus on the Family, this book is necessary to stand against what society calls a social construct. When some parents are encouraging their boys to dress like girls, painting their toenails and fingernails with pink nail polish, or even not exposing the gender to the world, we, as Christians need to stand firm and say that yes, there are gender differences. In the end, boys will be boys and girls will be girls. Stanton does just this and we should applaud him for it. One thing that also helped me in this book was to see my wife in a different view. I can see her gender differences and know why she is the way she is. Perhaps it's not just a parenting book, but also a marriage one. One thing is for sure, homosexual couples cannot raise secure daughters or confident sons because there is one half of the equation missing. We need mothers and fathers to raise children.
This book was free as part of Multnomah's Blogging for Books. If you like this review, please rate it below.