Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Parenting Your Christian Teen, Part 2

In a half year my eldest daughter will turn 9 years old. Our library considers her a tween come this fall and I'm not ready.

I love my daughter passionately and I want nothing other than God's best for her. I'm old and I've lived my glory years and I'm not interested in living through her, or molding her into a miniature of myself. I want to seek the face of God as I listen to and study my beautiful daughter. She is a gift and I want to know her as the woman God had in mind when he knit her in my womb.

I want to introduce her to that woman, one day at a time.

I'm comfortable in my own skin more than ever before, and also more than ever, I see myself as enough. I'm enough for God, enough for my family, enough for my fellow man.

For many years I wasn't sure I was enough, and I'd like to spare my daughter that angst and wasted time. I left home for a college dorm at age 18 and my cup was empty. When my own daughter leaves home, I want her cup overflowing...not just with my love, but with God's love, His grace, and His purpose.

I see a beautiful, energetic, imaginative young lady with a heart for the poor and the lost. A see a young person intent on doing good and right, but with a stubborn streak known to most mothers of girls.

I already know my girls need different things from me than do my sons. So far, we're good. Both girls love to cuddle up to me at bedtime, storytime, in the church pew, and during devotional time. There's no ongoing tension and it's easy being together. Our positive mother-daughter bond is the foundation upon which we will enter the tween years together.

I don't know much about tween girls; they're beyond my expertise or wisdom, so the first thing I'm going to do differently is spend more one-on-one time with my Mary, to listen, to observe, to study her, separately from her sister, who is 24 months younger, with different needs.

I'm also looking for resources and I trust the Lord to provide.

I'm going to pray specifically for her 9th year, and then for her 10th, and then for her 11th, and so on. We're going to take this one day at a time, one year at a time, for the glory of God.

Because why do we parent, ultimately? For the glory of God. It's all for Him.

Two books you might want to check out:

Synopsis: You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.

In a book based on her run-away blog post "Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls,” which garnered more than 2 million views in two weeks, Kate Conner calls us to action in Enough. We all have teenage girls in our lives who we love, whether it’s a sister, friend, or daughter. Kate has identified 10 things these girls need to hear today from someone who loves her.

Peppered with wit and laced with grace, Kate’s list tackles relevant issues like Facebook, emotions, drama, tanning beds, modesty, and flirtation. Woven into each chapter is a powerful message of worth that transcends age, and will touch the souls of women, young and old alike: You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.

A former youth-worker, wife to a college minister, and a young mom in her twenties, Conner stands squarely in generational gap, the perfect place from which to bridge it. Conner offers herself as a translator, helping you to speak your teenager’s language and equipping you with a fresh perspective from which to engage your teenage girl—one that may enable her to truly hear your heart (and your wisdom) for the first time since puberty.

Here are the ten things she wrote in that blog post, by the way (the book expounds on each one):

1. If you choose to wear shirts that show off your boobs, you will attract boys.

2. Don’t go to the tanning bed.

3. When you talk about your friends “anonymously” on Facebook, we know exactly who you’re talking about.

4. Newsflash: the number of times you say “I hate drama” is a pretty good indicator of how much you love drama.

5. “Follow your heart” is probably the worst advice ever.

6. Never let a man make you feel weak or inferior because you are an emotional being.

7. Smoking is not cool.

8. Stop saying things like, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.”

9. Don’t play coy or stupid or helpless to get attention.

10. You are beautiful. You are enough.

A companion book to give to your daughter.

About the Author:

Kate Elizabeth Conner is a 27-year-old writer, speaker, and first generation southerner who spends her days learning braille, counseling teenagers via text message, and adjusting to life in middle Georgia. She is married to a college pastor and has three impossibly beautiful children who only make her crazy 97% of the time. Kate authors a self-titled blog, which received more than three million views in two years, due in part to her viral post, 10 Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls. Kate writes about surviving parenthood, teenagers, and her twenties with her faith and sense of humor intact. She believes in music, coffee, and prose – and in all the world, nothing has taken hold of her like Christ.

Another great resource is this article by a youth minister:

So, how are you doing Momma? Do you have a tween or teen girl in the house? Do you feel ready?

Part 1 of this teen series here.
Part 3 here
Part 4 here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My daughters are so precious. We have a 12 year old and a nearly 10 year old. It is scary, but we're ok. We're in God's hands and I thank Him that my lovely girls are growing up in a Christian home and learning that it's not just 'ok to be different' but that being different, for Jesus, takes courage and love and a willing heart. They also know that everyone makes mistakes and that we can say sorry for those mistakes.
The two hardest things I find are attraction to the opposite sex (or expectations imposed by peers/culture) and judging others. Only yesterday my 12 year old said, "I hate Rebecca!" So we had to have a talk about that. Praise God for mercy and grace.