First of all, don’t let the title fool you – this book offers advice that is just as applicable to little princes as it is to princesses. Entitlement, selfishness, and materialism are certainly not restricted to girls. Some of the other chapters, such as focusing on appearance, expecting someone to rescue them, and looking for romance over substance in relationships, are problems that may (or may not) be more prevalent in girls, but even those chapters offer valuable advice for raising boys. Dr. Hartstein looks at many different problems that our children face growing up and then gives ideas to combat those problems in age appropriate ways.
Each chapter is divided into two sections – the “Princess symptom” talks about a problem and then the “Heroine value” talks about teaching a healthier attitude. At the end of each chapter, Dr. Hartstein offers specific advice for combating the “Princess symptom” based on the age of the child – 2-3 years, 4-5 years, and 6-8 years. She also talks about how some “symptoms” may be totally age appropriate – two year olds are generally selfish – but gives you ideas for making sure that symptom isn’t still a problem when your child is eight.
She does not advocate hiding your child away from TV or friends with different ideas. Instead, she suggests watching shows with your child and discussing what’s going on and how that does or doesn’t fit your family’s values. The same for toys that are given to your child or that your child is exposed to outside your home. If it is something you find inappropriate, you don’t have to let her have it. Or maybe you decide to let her have it, but redirect her play to something you find more constructive (helping her decide what Barbie’s career is instead of what she’ll wear that day).
She also doesn’t recommend refusing to let your child play princess, if that really is her thing. She does advocate finding new ways to play princess. Instead of waiting for Prince Charming to rescue her, how about brainstorming ways to defeat the wicked witch herself? Instead of daydreaming about fancy dresses and balls, why not design your own dress or learn some real ballroom dancing? Maybe she could play the witch and you play the princess for a change?
Even if your child isn’t a Princess (or Prince), you will still find ideas for raising kids that are strong, healthy, and independent.
reviewed by Jessica