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Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls—Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins Hardcover – April 27, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In Boys Adrift (2007), Sax, a family physician and psychologist with more than 20 years of experience, explored the disturbing trend of young men who are disengaged from their lives. In this companion volume, he turns to the other half of the population and identifies four factors that are threatening the mental and physical health of young women today: a culture that sexualizes young girls; the “cyberbubble” of social networking and electronic communication; obsessive behaviors, including eating disorders; and environmental toxins that disrupt the endocrine system and lead to early-onset puberty. In clear, accessible language, Sax deftly blends anecdotes, clinical research, and even lines of poetry in persuasive, often fascinating chapters that speak straight to parents; in the book’s second half, he offers practical ideas for nurturing girls’ minds, bodies, and spirits, from advocating for girls’ athletics programs to making room for prayer in secular households. Warning that “a 1980s solution” won’t help solve twenty-first-century problems, Sax offers a holistic, sobering call to help the current generation of young women develop the support and sense of self that will allow them to grow into resilient adults. And, finally, he counsels parents to be persistent: “Don’t back away even when she tells you to get lost.” Pair this eye-opening title with similar resources listed in the adjacent Read-alikes column, “Girl Talk, Part 2.” --Gillian Engberg

Review

Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic
"The best book about the current state of girls and young women in America, Girls on the Edge, by a physician and psychologist named Leonard Sax, offers astonishing and troubling new insight into the role and consequences of binge drinking in so many girls’ lives."
 
Booklist
“In clear, accessible language, Sax deftly blends anecdotes, clinical research, and even lines of poetry in persuasive, often fascinating chapters that speak straight to parents…Warning that ‘a 1980s solution’ won’t help solve twenty-first-century problems, Sax offers a holistic, sobering call to help the current generation of young women develop the support and sense of self that will allow them to grow into resilient adults.”

Library Journal

“The world is way different from what it was a couple of years ago; this is essential reading for parents and teachers, and one of the most thought-provoking books on teen development available.”

Slate’s Double X Book of the Week
“Fortunately, [Leonard] Sax is up to more here than pronouncing young women irrevocably doomed…Girls on the Edge doesn't dramatize the self-destructive behavior it describes…[and it] speaks exclusively to parents and offers concrete ways to help their daughters cultivate stronger personal identities.”
 
Florence Hilliard, Director of the Gender Studies Project, University of Wisconsin–Madison
“Dr. Sax once again combines years of experience with compelling research and common sense to intelligently challenge the status quo of what it means to raise a healthy daughter. Girls on the Edge offers skills parents can incorporate to feel more competent with our girls and young women.”

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, author of God’s Paintbrush and In God’s Name
“Turn off your cell phones and computers, and read this book! You will connect with your daughter in new ways, and she will thank you.”

Margaret M. Ferrara, PhD, editor of Advances in Gender and Education (A.G.E.) and associate professor, University of Nevada Reno
“Written through real stories and supported by strong evidence in the fields of education, psychology, and the sciences - a MUST read.”

Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters
“Leonard Sax brings together a rare combination of psychoanalytic training with a deep empathy for girls and their stories in this important book. His argument that girls are struggling to find their centers will resonate and his recommendations for how to locate them will inspire.”
 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465015611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465015610
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I can't remember the last time I stayed up this late to read a work of non-fiction. I picked up this book with a hefty dose of skepticism, and found myself entranced. Sax's insights seem spot-on and realistic, even though some of them are gender based. I'm female and work in technology at a Fortune 5 company, so things that blithely apply gender stereotypes make me seethe, but all of his observations seem realistic, insightful, research based, AND ultimately promote more choice, health, and support for girls. Who knew that cheerleading coaches don't have to be trained in how to recognize concussions, even though football coaches do? And that girls are 40 to 300 percent more likely to get concussions than boys (depending on the sport)? Ultimately this book is packed with information about girls in such a way that you can use it to empower your own children, rather than simply excusing bad behaviors with a "well, she's a girl!" label. My daughter is 5, and he directly addresses many of the issues I'm starting to wonder about, and trying to prepare to handle in the all-too-near future.

I found his discussion of sexuality to be enlightened rather than repressive, even as it supports some traditional values: "As parents, we must reject the notion that girls have to take off their clothes to empower themselves. Boys don't have to take off their clothes to empower themselves. Girls shouldn't either. / Sexuality is good, but _sexualization_ is bad. Sexuality is about your identity as a woman or a man, about feeling sexual. That's a healthy part of becoming an adult. But sexualization is about being an object for the pleasure of others, about being on display for others.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Working in the online world, and being a pretty in-touch Mom, I didn't think I would be surprised by much in Dr. Sax's book. Boy, I was wrong. Not only does Dr. Sax go through how sexual identity (includes modesty, sexual behavior, etc.), cyberworld/social media, environmental toxins, and obsessions affect girls today--he also offers some practical advice as to how to help your daughter deal with these pressures. Dr. Sax's background as both a psychologist and pediatrician gives an interesting view as to what he has seen in his pediatric practice (and backed up by numerous studies) as well as to how that affects girls.

A few highlights:
* He suggests having a codeword/phrase to use with your daughter, and teaching it to them young (by 9), so that you can help them get out of uncomfortable situations without them having to express their uncomfortableness with what their friends may be doing. Something like, "So Mom are you baking brownies again?"

* He recommends that computers be in a family area, and that you knowingly monitor your child's usage, time, sites, etc. (Let them know.)

*If you grew up even in the late 80s, early 90s, you'll be surprised at how common giving oral sex is among today's girls. They're so used to servicing boys (and boys get used to thinking its all about them) that this can lead to them never having an orgasm even when they're older.

*Coffee consumption and alcohol consumption are related. Among girls/women who drink coffee regularly, 70% drink alcohol. Among those who do not drink coffee, only 29% drink alcohol. (I wonder if this is an LDS thing?)

*The perils of early puberty. Today, breast development at seven is considered normal!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I must admit that I was initially a bit skeptical - What would a MAN know about the troubles girls have after all?!?

However, I chose to read the book despite my misgivings as I was intrigued by the sub-title "The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls - sexual identity, obsessions, environmental toxins and the cyberbubble" I am so very glad that I did!

Despite having been written by someone of the opposite sex, this book is absolutely right on. The author has extensive experience working with girls through his family practice and psychotherapy practice. His insights are impressive, if somewhat discouraging due to their nature. He has a daughter himself. I was shocked by some of the information that I read yet I easily identified with other information, as it is something I remember experiencing myself when I was a teen (despite being over 20 years ago for me...)

Dr. Sax has identified four key areas of harm to girls as caused by the nature of our society, technology and accepted norms of today. He clearly outlines what the problems are, illustrates the issues with anecdotal stories of girls he's worked with who have struggled with these issues, provides research to further back his position and follows it up with suggestions on how parents can mitigate the named problem areas in hopes of raising a happy, self confident, radiant girl despite the challenges.

Some may be put off by the author's titles of the four key areas: sexual identity, obsessions, environmental toxins and the cyberbubble.
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