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Girl in the Mirror: Mothers and Daughters in the Years of Adolescence Paperback – Bargain Price, February 19, 2003

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Mother, know thyself--especially mothers of daughters, for as Nancy L. Snyderman, M.D., and Peg Streep so eloquently convey in Girl in the Mirror, self-aware mothers stand a much greater chance of helping their daughters become happier, more fulfilled women. But there's a catch: oftentimes, a girl's volatile journey through puberty occurs during her mother's midlife--another physically and emotionally challenging stage of womanhood. Fusing an impressive array of research findings, expert interviews, quotations from classic texts on teens, and journal entries from regular moms (and a few dads), Snyderman and Streep clear a safe path through the brambles and muck commonly associated with "surviving" adolescence.

Optimism, encouragement, and empathy fill every page of this thoughtfully compiled text. Whether they're unraveling a deceptively complex topic such as girls' friendships (from childhood "best friends" to teenage sexual partners), or reporting hard data on tough issues (chronic disorders, drug abuse, violence), Snyderman and Streep never buy in to "inevitable" scenarios. Rather, they offer practical methods to help mothers nurture a pattern of appropriate openness, trust, and respect with their maturing daughters. Excellent tools for assessing one's current perceptions, handling tough situations, and gracefully managing change add further substance to this marvelous resource. --Liane Thomas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

After collaborating on Necessary Journeys: Letting Ourselves Learn from Life, Snyderman, a medical correspondent for ABC News and PBS, and writer Streep kept in touch, and their conversations about nearing menopause while their daughters careen toward their teens evolved into this book. If at times the tone is overly academic this could be the only parenting guide to adapt Martin Buber's "I-Thou" theory to child-rearing Snyderman's optimism about making adolescence a positive time for both mother and daughter is infectious. She cites scholarly journals, comments from friends, interviews with authors and popular books like Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth to set straight many of the myths surrounding adolescence. Instead of viewing the teen years as something to be survived, she prefers comparing them to the Chinese character that represents both "crisis" and "opportunity." Adolescence doesn't have to be a period of turmoil, she notes, drawing on a study that indicates that the vast majority of adolescents are no more likely than adults to succumb to mental illness. Throughout, Snyderman encourages mothers to put their own pasts behind them and communicate as much as possible about every aspect of their daughters' lives, including sex and relationships. She encourages parents not to buy into "wrongheaded notions" that daughters can raise themselves. "The rule of thumb is simple," she writes. "If you don't talk to her, she will get her information elsewhere. They need our help, our wisdom, our guidance, and, sometimes, our protection."

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (February 19, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 0786886412
  • ASIN: B000JGWE4K
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,994,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a mother of two preadolescent girls, this book left me with some new, invaluable tools at hand. It also turned upside-down some of my own beliefs about this definitive stage of development. Primarily, the notion that young women need to separate from their mothers in order to become autonomous individuals. In my heart I did not agree with what I had learned from the earlier research regarding separateness. I longed for a deeper bond with my own mother through my teen years, and suffered a deep sense of loss when I was forced to "grow up" at around age 13.
The research compiled in this book is so thoroughly reviewed and explained by Snyderman and her coauthor, Streep, that the reader is left with a clear understanding of the critical issues we are facing. The writing is concise and conversational, with lots of anectdotal accounts from mothers included to illustrate the research results presented throughout the book. I would recommend this book for mothers of daughters as young as ten years old, as it has been useful in my relationship with my own ten year old daughter.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was tempted to disregard the authors when they admitted they had not survived the tempests of the adolescent girl and were opining that "[w]e see the challenges of adolescence as an opportunity." Right, I thought. Wait until your daughter gets to be my kid's age and see if you'll keep saying it's just a great opportunity.
So with this bad attitude, I perservered. And after reading the book, I grudgingly agreed they had a point: you don't have to approach this phase as something to "get through," but as a period of self-reflection and growth for the mother as well as the daughter. They do a good job of explaining how to separate those issues and how what our mothers did influence us, whether by good example or bad. As the authors note, "[m]othering is not instinctual but an act of invention...[b]ecoming aware of who we are when we mother our adolexcent daughters is a step each of us must take, and will require that we look at how the ways we were mothered affect us now."
The research was very well explained--everything to why it seems that our daughters are stressed out over things that seem so trivial to us to the effects of lenghthened educational requirements. The authors deal specifically with issues that may cause special problems for teen girls: sexual identity, substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and abusive relationships. It would have been nice if they had addressed self-injury more, as it has become more epidemic among teenage girls, and only receives a one-sentence mention.
Overall, however, this is an excellent overview of the issues facing mothers of adolescent daughters, and deserves to be both read and reread.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinary book filled with support, encouragment,and insight for the mother of an adolescent girl. "Girl in the Mirror" picks up where "Embracing Persephone" by Rutter leaves off. As a psychologist specializing in adolescent girls, and mother of a 15 year daughter, I found the book invaluable and will read it over and over again for guidance. There is so much personal pain for mothers to let go of their daughters and move on with their lives. I have been searching for a book that would comfort and guide ME during my perimenapause in relation to the deep pain of some of the emotional letting go that must take place between mother and daughter during the teen years. These authors call it liberation not separation, they show through empirical and anecdotal information how mothers don't need to pull away, they need to be there and let their daughters pull away and come back when they need to. "Girl in the Mirror" steps out of the sterotypical advise about adolescent angst and moves the reader through some of the internal angst a mother feels letting her daughter become liberated. The research is in depth, and the anecdotal examples are rich with variety. Addressing mid life and adolescence is key for mothers to understand themselves, and appreciate they still have a strong solid place in their daughters lives. Snyderman and Streep honor the special bond between mothers and daughters. All mothers will benifit from this book. The pain of separation is the same, whether you have a son or daughter. Mother's need guidance and support to stay in the lives of their adolescent children, even when they tell us to go away.Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on February 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What I did like about this book is the author's approach to raising daughters by putting their own past behind them. True, we learn some good things from our own childhood, but we also bring with us some not so good theories as well. What worked in our mother's day or our grandmother's day is a whole new ballgame on a very different playing field today. With so many working mothers, and not necessarily by choice but many by necessity, it is a myth to think our children can raise themselves. They need quality time; someone not just to listen to them but to actually hear them and try to understand. They also need love and acceptance. I liked the author's own personal views. The only minor downside was that some of the information provided was not based on solid research but came from various individuals' personal opinions; what works for one does not necessarily work for everyone. Overall, the book is certainly worth reading and can provide some helpful suggestions.
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