When my girls were little, we talked about a lot of important stuff. Like how to be brave on the balance beam, what color the trees are in heaven, and why it’s a good idea to change your underwear every day. You know—normal preschool conversations.
But now that they’re growing up and blossoming into young ladies, my daughters present more challenging questions, trickier problems, and plenty of how-in-the-world-do-I-handle-this moments. I’m learning to scout ahead and guide my girls through their inevitable growing pains, armed with carefully sought wisdom from God. Here are three conversations we should all be prepared to share with our girls.
The Friends Talk
At first girls’ social problems amount to “she butt ahead of me in line” or “she took my marker,” but soon enough girls are forming cliques, testing boundaries, and becoming vulnerable to dangerous influence. As moms we have an opportunity to teach our girls not only how to choose good friends but also how to be a good friend. The key is to start early.
Before my older daughter entered third grade, I invested a summer in preempting friendship drama by gathering a small group of classmates—and their moms—for a Bible study we called Fantastic Friendship. Together we developed six lessons and application activities, all based on verses from the book of Proverbs. We focused on basic virtues like kindness, honesty and forgiveness. It gave us a great foundation to build upon as the girls’ social climate now shifts toward middle school.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12–14).
The Hormones Talk
Last week, my fourth grader suddenly developed a split personality. Happy one moment, angry the next. And guess who bore the wrath? Mom, of course. The next day I talked with a friend who was battling her own Jekyll and Hyde, and she gave me some great advice.
“I sat down with my daughter and explained to her what was happening,” she said. “I told her there are chemicals running through her body that are going to make her feel mad, or sad, or crazy. And she’ll want to take it out on me, which will make me upset. But we need to remember to respect each other.”
Being a kid is tough enough. Our daughters are under constant watch and correction, just trying to figure out where they fit in the world. Imagine throwing hormones into the mix then expecting our girls to remain pleasant. Do you always remain pleasant when you’re hit with PMS? So the best approach is empathy—and insight. Let them know what’s happening and what to expect. Help them know they’re not crazy, and that they can come to you with every emotion. God made us feeling beings. Emotions are not bad. But they’re also not an excuse for turning into a monster. So decide on some guidelines before the heat of the hormonal moment. And always—always—forgive.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26–27, ESV).
The Boyfriend Talk
If it were up to me, arranged marriages would be an American thing. But since someday I’ll need to trust my daughters to choose their own husbands wisely, you’d better believe I’m going to teach them what “wisely” really means. How? One of the best tests I’ve heard is to recite 1 Corinthians 13—with the boy’s name inserted in place of the word “love.”
[Henry] is patient, [Henry] is kind. [Henry] does not envy, [Henry] does not boast, [Henry] is not proud. [Henry] does not dishonor others, [Henry] is not self-seeking, [Henry] is not easily angered, [Henry] keeps no record of wrongs. [Henry] does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. [Henry] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (See 1 Corinthians 13:4–7.)
If my daughters—when they’ve reached dating age—cannot honestly apply those descriptions to the young man in question, then he’s not boyfriend material. And the best part is, they won’t need to ask (or disagree with) my opinion. God’s Word speaks for itself.
So to all you girl mommas out there, God bless you. We are raising the next generation of faith-filled women. It’s a job critical to the kingdom.
And I love it with all my heart.