Between "sexting," cyber bullying, and bikinis with padded tops for 7-year-olds, James Dobson thinks mainstream culture doesn't offer girls a pretty picture. Dobson's Bringing Up Girls (Tyndale) is the sequel to Bringing Up Boys, which has sold more than two million copies to date.
The founder of Focus on the Family says that one of his favorite letters came from a 14-year-old girl. "I hate you dr. dobson," she wrote. "I had to watch the dumbest movie today about sex. You made the movie. HA! Like you'd know anything about it." Parents are producing strong-willed children, Dobson says, and he wants parents to assume responsibility. Dobson spoke with Christianity Today about his vision for shaping the next generation of women and his departure from Focus on the Family.
How have cultural expectations for girls changed since you raised your daughter? Was there advice for raising girls 30 years ago that would be bad advice today?
No, I haven't changed my views because they are rooted in moral principles and in Scripture, so they are eternal. I don't mean to imply I have a corner on God's truth, but I do draw the ideas and principles from that foundation. It's amazing that if you go back 40 years, when I wrote Dare to Discipline, and read those principles today, they are still on target. Dare to Discipline was published in 1970 in the midst of the Vietnam War and a culture of rebellion. The book was written in that context, but the principles of child rearing have not changed.
Has the rise of feminism made it harder for parents to bring up girls?
The culture has totally changed. Girls today are growing up too fast; the influences of the entertainment industry have changed. Girls are experiencing a lot that their mothers and grandmothers ...