When little boys carry toads in their pockets or chase siblings around the yard shooting squirt guns, we shrug it off. Boys will be boys, right? A friend of mine once used that excuse when her teenage son mulched a teddy bear in the blender. Maybe that’s normal. I wouldn’t know; I have girls.
But from what I can see, it works both ways. When girls are catty and freeze each other out; when they obsess over the latest boy band or shoe fad; when they scream at their parents and sink into a puddle of tears, well, girls will be girls, right? That’s just what it means to grow up female.
It’s true God made us male and female (Genesis 1:27); therefore, our daughters will have a natural tendency toward certain behaviors and preoccupations simply because of how they’re wired. How they channel those natural tendencies, though, will make the difference between worldly girls and godly young women. As parents it’s our job—our privilege—to help them sort the two.
Here are five areas where we can make an “uncommon” difference.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Gossip might be normal among females, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. I am constantly reminding my girls to choose words that build other people up, not tear them down (especially when talking to each other!). The rare and godly girl will walk away from gossip and remember everyone is worthy of respect.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).
We all have preferences for who we hang out with. Even Jesus had besties—Peter, James and John. But He didn’t cut off the other disciples and tell them they weren’t part of the club. More than that, He made and kept other friends outside the ring of twelve, people like Lazarus and Martha. Best friends are fine and good, but exclusive friends are not. Let’s teach our girls that making friends with one person doesn’t require making enemies with another.
Fashion and fads
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight” (1 Peter 3:3–4).
Hey, I love to shop. I’ll be the last person to condemn my daughters for enjoying fashion. But I will draw the line at worshiping fashion. We can guide our daughters to find their worth in Christ (rather than in their designer jeans label) without squashing their inherent interest in looking beautiful. It’s not bad to want to look good. The question we need to explore with our girls is why. If they’re coveting certain clothing or hairstyles in order to attract people or gain their acceptance, they need a boost of God-esteem. But if they simply want to express themselves, then let’s encourage it—within godly parameters of modesty.
“As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (Ephesians 5:31–32, NLT).
Nothing bugs me more than someone asking my seven-year-old if she has a boyfriend. I know they’re just trying to make polite conversation, but in my eyes there’s nothing polite about suggesting a first-grader ought to be ogling little boys on the playground. At some point (probably sooner than we think), our girls will start to express interest in boys, and that’s okay. The first step is to not freak out. But then let’s have the conversation, once again, about why. Why did God create us male and female? Why did he wire us with a natural attraction to the opposite sex? Without going into graphic detail, we can teach our girls that marriage was designed to be a reflection of Christ’s relationship to the church, His bride. He loves us sacrificially, and we honor Him. That is a beautiful kingdom truth. So our girls’ interest in boys can and should begin on that foundation of respect and love for the King.
“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back” (Proverbs 29:11, NLT).
Oh dear daughters, we have been there. As females we battle hormones that conjure up nasty versions of ourselves. We can teach our girls this is normal, but it doesn’t have to control us. Mood swings are not a license to bark at everyone in our path. Like with all other sinful tendencies, we need to practice self-control (and seek a little help from the pharmacy in some cases). I encourage my girls to flop on their beds or punch a pillow until they’re ready to talk. And then when they are, we moms need to treat our daughters with gentleness and grace—just like Jesus does for us.