The following is an edited chat transcript with JoAnn Deak which took place in August 2002 at WrittenVoices.com.
Reproduced by permission of WrittenVoices.com.
birdlady33 : Where do parents draw the line when trying to introduce/suggest new activities/interests to children? When do they reach the point where children begin to perceive the suggestion as pressure?
JoAnn Deak : As long as it isn't pressure...
JoAnn Deak : It's all in the quantity of times you say it and your tone of voice.
birdlady33 : So suggest it once and then let it go?
sam : But sometimes the pressure comes from school and other parents
JoAnn Deak : It's important to 'taste' several things when you're young
Rusty : JoAnn, should you treat a girl who is particularly tomboyish any special way? Encourage/discourage her interests in boyish types ofplay?
Leslie : Do you basically feel your child be the guide for your parenting?
JoAnn Deak : but not eat everything on the smorgasbord!
Leslie : Can the parents be too soft though?
JoAnn Deak : Have you read the teeter totter theory of parenting.
birdlady33 : or end up being doormats?
sam : no, can you tell us about it?
Leslie : What is that theory?
JoAnn Deak : Health is in the middle...
JoAnn Deak : Not too soft, not too tough
cornelius : You talk about losing your father and the subsequent impact that had on your self image and esteem. Is this an inportant role for fathers, to encourage this?
JoAnn Deak : Teeter totter says...
Vicky : What about a child that is uninterested in activities?
JoAnn Deak : If someone is very sensitive, talk softly, if another child is not very sensitive, talk louder! metaphorically.
birdlady33 : Good question Vicky.
JoAnn Deak : Fathers seem to have extraordinary impact on daughters.
JoAnn Deak : Research is surprisingly strong in this area.
birdlady33 : More so than a mom's impact?
JoAnn Deak : One word from dad seems to equal 100 from mom...
JoAnn Deak : Sorry!
JoAnn Deak : You can think of reasons why...
sam : wow, that's amazing. I've been doing way too much talking.
cornelius : I haven't gotten too far into your book yet. Does it cover the father influence?
birdlady33 : I'd agree with that... even now that I'm in my thirties.
Leslie : That's interesting... aren't most fathers less involved in parenting, especially with daughters?
JoAnn Deak : Way to complicated to discuss all...
cornelius : So I can say even less now? :)
JoAnn Deak : Its not related to total time spent with child...
sam : Are there particular ages when a dad has more influence?
JoAnn Deak : No, KEEP TALKING
JoAnn Deak : All ages, but she reacts differently and there are different issues at diff. ages...
JoAnn Deak : Like when her body is changing
birdlady33 : Is it related to the fact that a father is usually the disciplinarian?
JoAnn Deak : or in early childhood with exploring and risking
sam : or is their approval more important?
JoAnn Deak : No, not related to disciplinarian..
JoAnn Deak : That is one suggested reason...
Leslie : I'm a single mom. What kind of impact will that have on my daughter then?
JoAnn Deak : You can have a great impact
JoAnn Deak : But
JoAnn Deak : I suggest you make sure she spends time with adult males
JoAnn Deak : who help her see what men are like
birdlady33 : Should a child have some type of father figure in their life though? whether it be a family friend, cousin, uncle..
JoAnn Deak : and react to her differently than you.
JoAnn Deak : Yes
Leslie : Thanks. She has uncles that she spends time with.
birdlady33 : How do I tell a friend who is constantly hovering over her 5-year-old daughter to back off a little without criticizing her parenting skills?? She didn't act this way with her son.
JoAnn Deak : give her a copy of GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS, the whole book is about that, and more!
birdlady33 : Her daughter reacts to her hovering by overreacting to every little thing and going into hysterics.
Jules : I know this is a simple and tough question, but what is the biggest mistake parents make?
JoAnn Deak : everyone who has read it stops hovering.
birdlady33 : good idea! :)
JoAnn Deak : Hard...
JoAnn Deak : Probably...
JoAnn Deak : I'm stalling...
JoAnn Deak : What do you think?
Jules : I understand
JoAnn Deak : One is hovering
birdlady33 : hovering!
JoAnn Deak : with boys, its different
Rusty : Pushing them to do too much when they're young. I think.
JoAnn Deak : another has to do with looks
barbara : At young ages, say 6-9, is it possible to be too over-protective? Is it damaging?
JoAnn Deak : girls are not pushed as hard
birdlady33 : how about pushing them to be tough and/or macho when they may be a little more sensitivie than the average boy?
JoAnn Deak : Over protection is a big problem...
barbara : girls are not pushed too hard unless you have only girls.
Jules : Well, I think not showing respect for their emotions - at any age.
JoAnn Deak : and has long lasting effects.
birdlady33 : I see that a lot with my friends' husbands who have sons.
Leslie : Do you think most parents don't expect as much from their daughters?
Jules : Tell me more about over protectiveness, why is it bad?
Vicky : Do you think social issues that girls face today have changed or basically stayed the same since you were a child?
JoAnn Deak : I agree with that...
JoAnn Deak : Social... getting harder and worse and at an earlier age
birdlady33 : Just like Dora, the 12th grader said
Jules : BTW, JoAnn, you are doing a great job. I really appreciate your time.
JoAnn Deak : Thanks, Hard to keep up, good group!
Vicky : How can parents relate better to what their kids are facing?
Rusty : JoAnn, My Niece is 6 and is a very rough and tumble tomboy kind of girl. My sister isn't sure whether to encourage or discourage her at some point.
birdlady33 : Take your time, we're not going anywhere.
JoAnn Deak : Set aside time at night...
JoAnn Deak : not right after school
JoAnn Deak : tuck in time is best
JoAnn Deak : Say...
JoAnn Deak : sometimes I forget what its like to be your age...
desigrrl : bedtime is a great time to bond
JoAnn Deak : could you tell me what your day was like...
JoAnn Deak : how it feels to be in - grade?
JoAnn Deak : What's hard, what's easy...
desigrrl : my daughters open up most at bedtime
JoAnn Deak : Make the conversation not always about issues...
JoAnn Deak : TUCK IN TIME should happen every niight!
birdlady33 : JoAnn, do you have any daughters?
barbara : Already at 6 or 7 they seem to not want to share everything with you.
JoAnn Deak : The cortex and emotional centers are relaxing...
Vicky : Good advice. My daughters love gabbing before bed!
JoAnn Deak : Barb- I agree, but
JoAnn Deak : don
JoAnn Deak : don't try to pry details...
JoAnn Deak : OK
desigrrl : getting back to over protection. What do you mean?
barbara : opened ended questions? That's when they answer with one word -- usually "OK"
desigrrl : Is it discussed in the book?
JoAnn Deak : Doing something for your daughter that she could do...
JoAnn Deak : Not letting her take risks
JoAnn Deak : send her to Outward Bound!
JoAnn Deak : It is very discussed in the book
desigrrl : that risk taking behavior is hard for me to allow and watch.
barbara : Outward Bound??!! I don't think so.
WVHost : Folks, we'll be wrapping up the chat in about 5 minutes. Get your questions for Joann in there.
JoAnn Deak : I know, it is scary for parents to let kids take risks...
JoAnn Deak : but girls who don't do as well...
JoAnn Deak : I was asked to write a book called...
desigrrl : risk is subjective, isn't it?
barbara : At what age is over protectiveness most damaging?
JoAnn Deak : every girl should have a least one bloody nose!
JoAnn Deak : barb- all ages
birdlady33 : I agree!
JoAnn Deak : Esp. young: sets the attitude...
barbara : At what age can it not be reversed?
JoAnn Deak : Every year a child lives with protection, it becomes harder and harder...
birdlady33 : can it ever be reversed?
JoAnn Deak : The older they are, the more dramatic the steps needed to change it...
desigrrl : This was a great opportunity. Thanks Written \voices. And thank you very much JoAnn.
JoAnn Deak : That's why I'm such a fan of programs like Outward Bound
JoAnn Deak : Thanks!
desigrrl : I'm buying two more books for my friends.
birdlady33 : thanks you JoAnn!
JoAnn Deak : Good bye, tell thousands of friends...
Jules : great chat, all. thanks
Vicky : Thanks for chatting!
Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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