LiveWell Louisiana

Girl Power

A new book sheds light on how parents can raise healthy daughters.
February 5th, 2016 by: Misty Miloto

In today’s world, young girls often face a lot of pressure. From pop culture to social media to their own peers, girls are urged to look perfect and much older than they are, accumulate a long list of accomplishments, and demonstrate their ability to gain approval and attention from others. Dr. Laura H. Choate — a professor at Louisiana State University, a licensed professional counselor and a contributor to Psychology Today — addresses these issues in her new book, titled  SWIMMING UPSTREAM: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic Culture (Oxford University Press, $18). “Parents need to be aware of these pressures and how they can be to girls,” Dr. Choate says. “Once parents of girls at any age have knowledge of the culture, they are better able to make informed decisions about how they are going to respond to these pressures. They can make active decisions about how they will parent their daughters instead of allowing the culture to dictate these decisions.”

Also in the book, Dr. Choate provides parents with reassurance that their influence really can make a significant difference in their daughters’ development. “I provide parents with specific skills for building resilience in their daughters — skills for developing a positive body image, healthy relationships with friends and future romantic partners, skills for keeping academics and extracurriculars in perspective, and skills for developing healthy coping and problem-solving strategies. Parents can help instill these qualities in their daughters and it is never too early to start! We don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. As I say in the book, we can choose to swim upstream.” drlaurachoate.