Read It And Weep

If you have a preteen or teenage daughter and have browsed the bookshelves of your local store lately, you have no doubt seen the less-than-impressive collection of books in the "young adult" section. There are some hugely popular series with such inspiring names as "The It Girl" and "Gossip Girl." The latter has even made into a widely popular TV series as well ... a virtual "Sex in the City" for the younger set. And if you think the show is racy, check out the books, which are chock full of vulgar language, sex, drugs and drinking.

In the books, it's high school kids doing this stuff; in real life, younger kids are reading it. And while they may not necessarily be emulating these behaviors, research shows that this literature does affect their attitudes. When this kind of behavior is prevalent in books, in celebrity magazines and on the big and small screen, girls begin to think that this is the norm and wonder why they are not behaving like these characters and celebrities.

Our parenting expert this morning, Roni Cohen-Sandler, says this is where the danger lies. But she says there are some things you can do about it as a parent. One thing I learned today: Whatever your daughter is reading, pick it up and take a look at it yourself. You might be shocked, but you also may be able to use that to jumpstart some important discussions.

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Parenting advice from Roni Cohen-Sandler