Raising Godly Girls: How to do the “Hard Parts” of Godly Girl Parenting
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I can’t help but wonder if David avoided creating boundaries with his sons because of David’s own guilt?
According to 1 Kings1:6, King David “never interfered with [Adonijah] by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” This statement occurs when Adonijah claims the throne.
Other indications that King David was possibly a negligent/lenient disciplinarian include:
- 1 Samuel 13 when Amnon rapes Tamar and there is no record of consequence
- 2 Samuel 13-14 when Absalom kills Amnon and King David offers reconciliation and forgiveness without repentance
Maybe he was busy and exhausted from running the kingdom?
Did he ache with pain from old battle wounds?
Perhaps he just did not know what to do?
Whenever I feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and distracted by pain, my first response is to go to God in prayer.
Since I am broken myself, I pray for guidance in raising Godly girls.
A couple of years ago, God led me to a secular book for teens called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. One sentence stood out to me:
“Hard moments are conflicts between doing the right thing and doing the easier thing.”
Covey goes on to explain that success in the “small hard moments” prepares one for the “large hard moments.”
Examples of “Small Hard Moments” for teens/ tweens:
- Waking up
- Regulating emotions
- Being self-disciplined to complete homework
Examples of “Large Hard Moments” for teens/ tweens:
- Standing firm against negative peer pressure
- Picking oneself up after a failure
- Finishing an unpleasant task because it will be beneficial in the future
- Using self-discipline to live a healthy life
How Does this Relate to Raising Godly girls?
Mamas, we work through the hard moments of parenting so that our girls can learn how to handle the hard moments of life. And, conquering the small hard things during the tween years will produce fruit during the teen years!
How does this work?
- We teach skills for prosocial behavior and self-regulation.
- Opportunities to practice these techniques are provided. Thus, confidence and competence grow.
- We give our tweens more control over small hard moments.
Small Hard Moments in Raising Godly Girls
1. Conflict Resolution
Raising Godly girls requires that our daughters learn to advocate for themselves. Then, later they can advocate for others.
Tips for Raising Godly Girls Who Can Resolve Conflict:
Be the example.
Parents, we must model how to handle conflict in a healthy manner with our spouse, children, friends, coworkers, etc.
Teach the Matthew 18 (NLT) principle.
In the tween years, we found that conflict was less physical and more verbal. It was time to teach our daughters the Matthew 18 Principle. Parents, please talk through what this looks like in a variety of scenarios!
- “Go privately and talk out the offense.”Skills required: Use I-messages to talk to the person. Apologize and take responsibility for her actions. Indicate that she is ready to change. Learn to “disagree without being disagreeable.”
- “Take one or two others with you and go back again.”
- “If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church [or authority].”
As Mamas, we want to fix the problem. But, if we take the time to coach our girls through the Matthew 18 process, they build competence and confidence in their ability to handle conflict. Think about how powerful this confidence will be when they are teenagers!
Since we are “in the world,” we also help our girls understand that non-Christians may not hold the same standards of morality. Yet, as Christ-followers who are “not of the world,” we must show them love even if they don’t respond well.
God designed the brains of our daughters to follow a typical path of development. As they mature, the emotional part of their brain develops faster than the logical, decision-making part. Raising Godly girls requires that we take advantage of our time of influence and prepare them for the emotions to come. (These talks can also coincide with puberty discussions.)
Tips for Raising Godly Girls with Self-Discipline
Be the example.
Model the self-discipline skills you wish to see in your teen.
Mamas, it may be easier to do things ourselves, but is it beneficial? And, will it be easier for our daughters when they head off to college without knowing certain skills? Please be encouraged to take the time to teach life skills, and then hand over responsibility slowly over time. Consider teaching strategies to
- Wake up on time
- Organize, plan, and complete school work
- Practice for sports or music
- Cook, clean, wash laundry, etc.
Develop systems and routines that work for your unique daughter. Parents, you may need to experiment. Please don’t give up! Go through the process. It will serve your daughter well in the long run.
Mamas, this is a huge challenge! Yet, it is so important to move our daughters from the emotional part of the brain to the executive function part!
- Be proactive. Research and teach tools to help your daughter handle various emotions – anger, fear, sadness, disappointment, etc. The Bible has a lot to say on these topics. Three books by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson are also helpful in this area: The Whole-Brain Child, No Drama Discipline, and The Yes Brain.
- Discern when to speak to your daughter about her emotions. Don’t fuel the emotions! We must stay calm and regulated in order to support our daughters when they fall apart. Be empathetic and stay connected.
- Ideally, discuss strategies before an emotional moment. Then, after the outburst and a period to calm down, review the use of strategies and how they were applied.
Be strong and courageous! Raising Godly girls in the midst of fluctuating hormones and emotions necessitates patience, discernment, wisdom, and unconditional love.
Since the prefrontal lobe is not fully developed in tween girls, it is our job to be their prefrontal cortex right now. The challenge is creating a balance of external structure while maintaining a relationship with our daughters. Through this connection, we gradually give our girls control over creating their own boundaries.
Mamas, we can do it if we:
- Define the problem. Calmly state the boundaries and positive/negative consequences related to the boundaries.
- Teach. Explain the reasons why those boundaries are in place. Always include how much you love your daughter and that you want the best for her. Boundaries will allow her to live an abundant life!
- Discuss. Guide her thinking by asking her what she thinks are appropriate boundaries for a certain situation and why.
- Practice. Depending on her maturity, allow your tween to practice creating and following her own boundaries on simple concepts. Start small such as determining healthy/unhealthy food and water intake, creating a sleep schedule, etc. The goal is to help her experience competence in order to give her the confidence to be counter-cultural in her teen years!
The concept of work is important to raising Godly girls to be independent, contributing members of society.
It takes effort to teach your daughter to serve the family, freely serve those in need, and serve others with a business. But, look at the long-term benefit. You are developing a servant-hearted, Christ-follower. Isn’t this worth the challenges and push back from your daughter?
Tips for Raising Godly Girls Who Serve Others Through Their Work
Yes, it is inconvenient for our busy tweens to help out the family. Yet, chores teach our daughters life skills and develop character traits such as grit, empathy, and cooperation.
Granted, it is inconvenient. But, get in the habit of volunteering as a family before your daughter can drive. As Christ followers, we are called to serve others.
By volunteering together, your tween can learn that she has the POWER to make a difference in someone’s life. The volunteer experience is more meaningful and can touch your Godly girl’s heart when you or another caring adult is close by.
Our goal is to move our daughters from being normal, self-centered tweens/teens to being counter-cultural and others-centered. It is worth the inconvenience.
Create a Business
Younger tweens might earn money through extra “earning opportunities.”But, older tweens may wish to earn money outside of the home.
Consider starting a business. For more benefits of a business, check out the post, Why Should Teens/Tweens Have Jobs When They Could Own Businesses. Remember, the ultimate benefit is that your daughter can learn to serve others through her business.
When we follow Biblical financial principles, it is easy to see God’s hand in leading us to an abundant life of peace and the freedom to make choices for our daughters!
Mamas, please make the effort to get your own finances in order and teach your preteens Biblical financial principles that can change their futures! It takes small, consistent deposits of time to teach your daughter to work, give, save, and responsibly spend money. In fact, giving, saving, and spending are foundational budgeting skills!
Tips for Raising Godly Girls to Practice Biblical Financial Principles
- Be the example: tithe, sponsor a child, get out of debt, save cash for vacations, etc.
- Provide “earning opportunities” so she can practice budgeting money.
- Use piggy banks or clear jars to Give, Save, and Spend
- Use percentages to deposit earned money in these piggy banks (For example, Give 10-15%, Save 30-40%, and Spend 45-60%)
- In middle school, create “sinking funds.” Your daughter creates one or more savings goals. Then, she deposits a little money in it each month, week, etc.
- Practice saving for once a year purchases (Christmas) or monthly bills (cell phone line).
Help your daughter build her savings muscles now so that later it is easier to save for a car, college, or emergency fund! The real reward will come at retirement when she is prepared with enough savings.
We are commanded to love God and love others! So, let’s explore tips for both areas.
Relationship with God
Developing a relationship with God is actually a “big hard moment.” Yet, you make find that this becomes a “colossal hard moment” in the teenage years.
Please be encouraged to never give up praying for your daughter and her relationship with God. Ultimately, we want to raise Godly girls who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit in order to bring them into a relationship with Christ as their Savior.
Tips for Raising Godly Girls Who Love God
- Be the example: Model, model, model. As life gets busier, we need to demonstrate how to create boundaries that enable us to put God first.
- Be encouraged to continue to build the habits you have established: spend quiet time with God through prayer and the study of God’s Word, attend worship, participate in fellowship, etc.
- Work together to overcome obstacles to putting God first.
Relationship with others.
The challenge here is the time and effort required to teach prosocial behaviors, reteach the skills, and solve new issues. Our daughters must practice these skills in order to build competence and confidence! Then, we begin to coach our daughters on how to apply the strategies.
Tips for Raising Godly Girls With Healthy Relationships
- Be the example: Demonstrate how to be a good friend and love people who are difficult to love while still maintaining boundaries.
- Connect with your tween to engage her heart.
- Teach conflict resolution skills. Practice. Coach. Practice some more.
- Surround your family with healthy, Godly people of a variety of ages. These mentors can be examples and pour Godly wisdom into our daughters’ ears. Sometimes, our girls truly “get” what we teach them when they hear it from someone else. Think about the characteristics of these mentors and ask your child, “What kind of person do you want to be?”
- Walk through the hard moments with your tween. For example, go to the funeral. Practice praying, comforting, and being present to care for others rather than protect your tween from discomfort.
6. Be Counter-Cultural
As our tweens begin to care more about what others think, they discover the negative attitudes towards Christianity exhibited by parts of our culture.
Again, this is not exactly a “small hard moment.” But, by taking the time to fight against the spiritual forces of darkness in the tween years, it will pay big dividends in avoiding the “colossal hard moments” of the teen years. Be brave, Mamas, even when it seems like “everyone else does.”
Tips for Raising Godly Girls to be Counter-Cultural
Be the example.
Don’t parent or live your life from a place of fear, especially the fear of what others think. Instead, parent from a place of strength and knowledge of whose you are.
Ask, “Whose approval matters?” Remember, we have an audience of One.
Create a village of counter-cultural people.
Even if your daughter is in the public school system, create a village with your church family through living life, traveling, and volunteering together. Those who are closer to your tween become the people she can go to for help. Their support can help your tween avoid the “easy” way. And, it is good for your tween to observe and hear another person doing and saying the same things as your family.
Talk about the influence of the friends with whom they choose to hang out.
Be the salt in a decaying world.
Consider how your family can take part in the culture in some way, but use it to spread God’s love. We must share God’s love with those who need it most! We can use our experience with God in the fight to redeem the world.
For example, use technology to be the light of the world as a way to love and encourage others. And, raise your daughters to have the skills, strength, and courage to bring darkness to light!
Limit the negative messages, but don’t avoid the “spicy” content.
Watch movies/ TV shows together. Choose those which show the consequences of sin and unwise choices. Explain how sometimes shows glamorize or gloss over the potential consequences.
For instance, discuss when a character goes to a bar to drink away problems. And, let’s teach our girls to filter the characters’ actions through the lens of the Bible. This way, when peers claim they are “naive” or say something to try to “shock” them, our daughters are prepared.
Final Thoughts on Raising Godly Girls
I can’t help but wonder how King David raised his sons when they were younger. Did he choose to take the easy route? Or, was he so overwhelmed with life that this was the best he could do?
Despite the rebellion and choices his sons made, David made one singular wise decision over his whole life – he pursued God with every fiber of his being. And Mamas, this is our most important parenting strategy of all – seek God’s heart in all that we do!
In the comments below, please share some of the small, hard parenting moments you have experienced! Let us pray for you and praise God with you!
ARE YOU A BOY MOM?
As parents, we understand that it is no easy feat to raise Godly sons. There is so much pressure on them everywhere they go to be something other than what God created them to be. As parents, we can take action to by embracing 4 steps that will help us to raise Godly sons. Join Angel of Experience His Freedom as she offers encouragement on 4 Ways To Raise Godly Sons To Become Leaders !
∞ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ∞
Ashley is an imperfect mother. Flawed wife. Servant-hearted Christ follower. Encouraging teacher. Lifelong Learner. Recovering introvert. Chocolate lover. And scaredy-cat “adventurer.” Parenting is by far her greatest adventure of all!
Ashley helps thoughtful parents find research and experienced-based tips for raising teens and tweens with character and practical life skills. Ashley holds degrees in Primary and Elementary Education. She coordinates Financial Peace University and blogs at Navigating the Years. Follow Ashley on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!