Raising Girls Who Don’t Use Drugs

September 20, 2013
I found this apt quote on Edenland's facebook page.

I found this apt quote on Edenland’s facebook page.

I just finished reading Steve Biddulph‘s Raising Girls.

I remember a year or so ago writing how his first book, Raising Boys, had affected me, and I’m surprised, yet equally unsurprised to see how different the upbringing of the two sexes of the human species needs to be.

Obviously, both sexes need individual attention, to be heard and to feel valued within the family unit, but the way in which both children achieve this feeling is a bit different.

With my son, my biggest concern is about raising a good man. A kind, considerate man, who has compassion and quiet strength. He’s not showy or flashy, and can laugh at himself. Confident but not arrogant, and of course, nice to kittens. Mustn’t forget the kittens.

Finding the exact recipe for a good man is a little ambiguous, and I imagine it can be hit and miss, as there are so many variables throughout life. Like other stinking kids, for instance.

With my daughter, I want her to love herself.

Not in her thirties, like I have. I wasted so much time hating my body, or wishing I was like someone else. So much energy went into hating my body. Not to mention money spent on food that never got digested.

I want her to be confident in her teens and twenties, to feel valuable and beautiful on the inside and to feel worthy of love. I want her to feel cool because she is kind, not because she has the latest gear. I want her to be bold, not afraid, and to stand for what she believes in, even if no one will stand with her.

I want her to be strong and soft simultaneously, and to always see humour in life.

I wish them both to have –




One of the chapters that resonated so strongly for me was about self-esteem, and drugs and alcohol and eating disorders. I’ve really been mulling it all over in my head.
I’ve made no secret that I partook in a buttload of drugs in my time, and I’m neither ashamed nor embarrassed of the fact. I liked to see just how far I could push it, and I was a creature of excess. I had fun.

I hope to God that neither of my children ever try to have fun like that. The very thought fills me with dread.

According to Steve Biddulf, “Girls with an involved Dad have been found in many studies to have higher self-esteem, get better school marks, and are less likely to get pregnant early, or have problems with drugs and alcohol”.

In short, Dads are good, m’kay?

My parents are amazing people. They are both interesting, and intelligent, and good people. Although my mama did an outstanding job of raising two kids on her own, I had neither a strong family unit, nor was my father a role model in my life.

Is there a correlation? Shit, dunno. Maybe.

I don’t blame my Dad for my shit for one second. We have a wonderful relationship now, but it wasn’t always the case.

At the age of 21, I entered a room where my parents were having a discussion about their breakup. It was late, large amounts of wine may have been consumed and they were having a long over due heart to heart.

I sat quietly and listened as they discussed what went on for them emotionally and physically during their break up some 12 years prior.
There was a great catharsis for both of them, and I had a massive epiphany.

My parents, they are just people.

I wasn’t from a broken home or a failed marriage. I was born, from love, to two people who grew apart.

Two people with hopes, dreams, different personalities and upbringings and seperate histories.

Two people who were doing the best they could to get through the day, carrying the shit that their parents bestowed upon them, no doubt.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this stuff that Steve is saying and I’ve cast my mind back through the crowd I partied with. I don’t mean going out for a big night, these kids and I would not sleep for days at a time. Every week. For longer than I care to mention.

Of the ones whose stories I can remember clearly, I don’t believe any of them had strong family units. Single mums, absent fathers, living with grandparents, living out of home very young…. all sorts of instability. I’m not drawing any conclusions, not all single parent kids turn into raving pill-popping drug fiends. I’m just making an observation because I’ve been casting my memory back to a different time, with a different cast of players.

Not all marriages are meant to survive, certainly not the detriment to people’s happiness. Not all fathers will be present.

Life is not always a tidy affair.

Perhaps if we put this piece of information about young girl’s Dads being such a major part of a daughter’s development in a little pocket somewhere in our brains we can remember that our girls without good, strong, male influences in their lives may need a little extra support and love. That they may be more vulnerable to self-esteem issues, and in danger of pushing limits because they don’t realise that they are worthy and wonderful.

If you liked this post be sure to like my Facebook page or follow my twit twaddle @theholsbys to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

Hooking up with the ever gracious With Some Grace so I can flog it on Friday with the best of them.

Wassup, Mama G! xxx

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  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit September 20, 2013 at 7:09 am

    As the mother of an about to be 14 year old girl, that was a good read. Thanks for sharing! I will in fact read it again …
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 20, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Strap on your helmet! Good luck. I know nothing about teenagers, except to keep on talking to them. That’s all I got!

  • Reply Bec | Mumma Tells September 20, 2013 at 7:17 am

    What a great post, Danielle. Not too long ago, I read ‘Raising Girls’ too, looking for ways to encourage ongoing happiness, healthiness, strength, love – and a myriad of other wonderful things in my daughters lives. My girls are lucky in that they have a brilliant Dad. He is present now, and plans to be for a very long time. Forever, in fact. But, as you have so rightly stated, things just don’t always work out they way we may want it to. Tidy. In having awareness of his integral role in this raising girls biz, I hope that, regardless of whether things in our relationship alter, our little people will always know their worth. X

  • Reply becc03 September 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I had (and still do) a very involved father. One that I could talk to at any time about anything. I still had self esteem issues (and still often do). I don’t think it can be bundled up like that.
    Conversely, I have seen the most astonishing young girls and boys come out of a one parent family.
    As you say, it is (in my words) wishy washy.
    I am also not sure what you want for your girls is any different to what you want for boys. Have you noticed these days how many boys are hitting the gym and wearing big arse caps?
    I sometimes wonder if we are born in a certain way that influences rather than what we experience. I certainly have been tainted by very bad events in the past, but the anxiety, self esteem and such had to have come from somewhere else, I am sure;

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 20, 2013 at 8:36 am

      You’re absolutely right, Bec. It’s just an interesting thing that we should keep in mind, along with the 5 millions other things. There are definitely no hard and fast rules, and it would depend greatly on the kid.
      I do want similar things for both my kids, of course. We all do. We basically want them to be good, well adjusted, happy people.
      I think anything else is a bonus!

  • Reply sagescenery September 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I have one son…and so far God’s done a great job of raising him…and picking up our slack…I continue to pray every day that he gets our strong traits…and not all our weak ones!! Ha!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 20, 2013 at 8:45 am

      That made me smile. I love the way you put that.

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 20/09/2013, at 8:40 AM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

      • Reply sagescenery September 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm

        Thanks…always like to put the load back onto God…and not carry it around with me! Ha! He can handle it!! God Bless!

  • Reply mumabulous September 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Wonderful post Mrs H. I feel exactly the same way. I want both my girls to grow up feeling comfortable and confident in who they are. Sadly its so hard when there’s so many messages from outside the family telling us we are “less than”.

  • Reply ksbeth September 20, 2013 at 9:17 am

    wonderful words –

  • Reply Sam Stone @ A Life on Venus September 20, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I am actually reading both his books at the moment, as I have a little man and little lady in my life now. Thanks for sharing this post. I always find it interesting to get other parents views.

  • Reply Danya Banya September 20, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Oh I have “Raising Girls” on my bookshelf. Mr Banya’s already read it and given it the thumbs up… Not to contradict you, but rather to add complexity to the mix, I was a bit of a party girl myself and my family unit would have been considered (from the outside) to be ‘stable’. But if you delve, there was all sorts of emotional-fked-up-ness going on that I’m still working through in my 3am-can’t-sleep-self-counselling-sessions…. In my post to my 3 year old daughter today, I wrote that I want her to grow up to be “happy and confident” and that I’m not trying to raise a “compliant” child – I guess this is one of the ways I differ from my parents, and I hope that it won’t backfire…

  • Reply Vanessa Beattie (@BabblingBandit) September 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

    You definitely can’t generalise with these things is my opinion. I grew up in a middle class family where both my mum and dad worked. But every single night we sat together around the dinner table and enjoyed a meal, watched the 7pm news and then we talked and talked. My sister and I always liked being with our parents when we were teenagers, unlike so many of our peers. My father was, and still is, very involved and supportive of me and my life whether through the good or the difficult times.

    However, I was a drug and alcohol addict for 12 years. I hated myself and still do to some degree. Most of my friends I partied with were middle class private school girls like me. Most of their parents are still together today, 20 years later. None of them ended up in rehab like me but still.

    I guess some of us just can’t be pigeon holed.

    Steve Biddulph said I shouldn’t put my son in daycare but he’s been there four years now. He’s one of the happiest, most confident almost-five-year-old boys I know. Oh, and he doesn’t have a dad! And his mum is a recovering druggy with serious mental health issues. Fuck, now I’m worried what he is gonna turn out like. Boo to Steve Biddulph!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      I totally agree. You can’t pigeon hole and there’s a lot to be said for personality, choices and influences.

      I think ol’ Stevie Baby should be taken with a grain of salt. This was just my thoughts upon reading it.

      I love your thoughts and honesty in your comment and I really appreciate you taking the time. I think your experience will have you better armed against what may come. Perhaps you’d be more attuned to warning bells?

      Who knows. We can only do our best.

      PS good on you for sorting your shit out. You’re amazing to get through it. Don’t forget it!

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 20/09/2013, at 11:40 AM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

  • Reply bubsweatandtears September 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Oh such an important post to write. I think it’s so much to do with their individual personalities, their tendencies for obsessions and I just feel that the more love and support the more likely our children are destined to stay on track. I will never forget the time I read the Kate Holden book ‘In my Skin’ – she was raised with such love and concern and from the book her relationship with her parents was a solid loving one – yet she went off track. I think Steve’s words are a good indication of what the best scenario is but just no guarantees in life.

  • Reply Emma Fahy Davis September 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I also enjoyed Raising Girls, I don’t know a lot about boys as I only have five girls but my sincerest hope for them is that I can empower them to avoid some of the struggles I’ve faced in my life. It’s a masterpiece in progress!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 21, 2013 at 8:37 am

      He’s good. I think with all parenting books you need to take what resonates and use your gut instinct….. 5 girls. Wow
      Someone once said to me with teenage boys you only need to worry about one penis, with teenage girls you need to worry about all of the penises. I thought that was funny.
      You probably don’t 😉

  • Reply Grace September 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    We’ve got “Raising Boys” sitting on the shelf – must pick that up and read it before the boys hit their teen years 🙂
    I’ve noticed Steve B is big on the father influence.
    I was closer to my dad than my mum growing up but gee, certainly didn’t stop me from doing naughty things. Although I must say, if I didn’t have a relationship with him at all, I would’ve gotten into real strife. For. Sure.

  • Reply Shelley Marsh September 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Yes I totally agree with you, I want my daughter to love herself just as she is and know that she is good enough, always. I also want her to have a close relationship with her father because I did not have one myself. So far so good. I guess I just have to do my best and see how things turn out!

  • Reply 1createblogs September 21, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Emily September 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    This book has been on my ‘to read’ list for a while now. I agree – these are things I want for my daughter. I want her to be more than her looks and not just have to be ‘nice’ and ‘pretty’ all the time.

    I think it takes until later in life to see things that way. My father died when I was young, and it took me quite a while to realise that I didn’t just lose a dad, but my mum lost a husband, the love of her life. And even longer again to realise that my nan lost her son. Now that I have children of my own, it’s just unthinkable. Our perspective shifts, I guess.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      The young are very self-centred. We see a bigger picture as we get older. I think perspective shifting when you have children is the understatement of the year….. it’s massive innit?

  • Reply Have a laugh on me September 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Food for thought you know. My dad was loving but not very hands on and someone I actually feared, just because he was so stressed out on the farm. I also was no angel in my teens/older years, and shudder to think what our daughter could do later in life. I really gotta get both these books – for my boys and girls. I also want my girl to love her body from the get go – love this post D x

  • Reply Tara ~ Gluten Free Hart September 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    That was refreshing. A good honest read. I have a teenage boy and 2 younger ones coming up through the ranks. It’s tough going this parenting gig. I recently had the masturbation talk. I know a good few of you just gasped..
    BUT this is life people, we HAVE to have these talks. I believe the key is communication, strong role models and a little bit of humour thrown in. I hope to raise good men and women who can be kind, respectful of others, have a healthy self image and who can laugh at themselves. Thanks for sharing x

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      We need to be open and honest, and allow our kids to feel that they can talk to us. I remember when I had my first orgasm while I was dreaming (Simon Baker, don’t tell anyone). I was about 14 and I HAD to talk to Mum about it because it was such an amazing and crazy thing. She said, ‘Congratulations, darling’. Bless her.
      I hope my kids and your kids meet at the pub and share a beer one day…. a long way in the future 😉

  • Reply coloursofsunset September 23, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I’m afraid if I start commenting I won’t be able to stop. I wish my parents had been able to sit down, get drunk and talk to each other, God knows they didn’t really talk to each other when they were married, and they didn’t after they separated, either. Ever. 20+ years later my mother is still broken from it, and my dad is dead, so it will never happen for them. I certainly rebelled and did things to push boundaries because I could, because I pitted my parents against each other. But who’s to say I wouldn’t have done that had they stayed together? No one has all the answers, but wanting to find the answers makes us all better parents. xo

  • Reply mummyflyingsolo September 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I def think the dad thing plays a role. Mine was predominantly absent (and definitely emotionally so) and a raging alcoholic and I too went on a drug fueled bender for quite awhile there. Same as the ones you speak of…not sleeping for days on end and repeating over and over and over. It’s taken me a long time to bounce back from that but I’m thankful I did. It is for this reason that I make every effort I can to have a good relationship with my ex so that he can have a good relationship with his son. He is a great dad and spends loads of time with his little boy but i’m sure that would be more difficult if I was being a complete nightmare to deal with. Kids need their dads as much as they need their mums so I want to do everything I can to facilitate that.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 24, 2013 at 7:08 am

      It sounds as though you’re doing a wonderful job. I have a few friends with so much animosity with their exes that it’s impossible to maintain a nice relationship and it’s so hard on the kids. But as I said, life isn’t always tidy. I found all this Daddy stuff interesting food for thought. I do think it’s personality too though….. obviously we’re excessive people. Would you agree?

  • Reply Tara ~ Gluten Free Hart September 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    My father was a very influential part of my life albeit a bit ‘old school’. Aside from this and the mandatory ‘girl’ talks you had to have with your mother, I always felt I could talk to my dad about other ‘big’ stuff. I never realised how lucky I was to have this open communication with both parents ~ especially my dad ~ until I was a lot older and realised this was not common place in other families. It definitely had a positive and nurturing influence on me.

  • Reply FYBF - Sweets for the Sweet Edition - With Some Grace September 27, 2013 at 6:01 am

    […] lots of comment love, her favourite post was Raising Girls Who Don’t Use Drugs by the straight shooter, Danielle at Keeping Up With the […]

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