Tackling the Hard Issues with Your Tween
At my 24 week checkup of child number 2, the ultrasound technician happily informed me that the precious bundle of joy I was carrying was a boy. I cried. No, I wept, maybe wailed is more like it. I did NOT want a boy.
I already had a boy and in order to complete the perfect little family I’d envisioned, I NEEDED a girl. Our son would grow up to be an athlete, possibly an Olympian, and our daughter would grow up to be a world renown doctor or scientist.
As I got home that afternoon, I had another panic attack.
God Answers Prayer
I prayed hard that night. Actually, I prayed for MONTHS after the doctor’s visit, asking for a girl.
Seriously, present-day me would have dumped past day me in a tub full of ice. I needed to chill.
If you’ve been a believer for any length of time, you KNOW God is in the business of answering prayer. He will clearly respond with “No”, “Go”, or “Wait”. The sonogram was wrong, child number 2 was a girl. And so were the next 4.
I have 5 daughters and one son. Yes, FIVE girls.
God also has a sense of humor. This is something I know.
Do You Lack Wisdom?
“God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called” is what my Pastor constantly reminds us of, before an evangelistic event.
One thing I should mention is that I’m not what you would call “girly”. I don’t like pink (unless it’s fluorescent), I absolutely hate shopping (unless it involves office supplies). I have a pixie cut because I never learned how to style hair. I’m clueless when it comes to make-up, and I will always fall on my face if and when I attempt to wear heels.
My lack of ‘knowing how to girl‘ as my 16-year-old would put it, was no problem of course when my son was entering the tween years. Communication between us was great. We loved reading, we loved movies, we loved comic books and building things. We ‘got’ each other.
However, when my oldest daughter began to transition from an athletic tomboy to a girly girl, I had another panic attack. I was completely out of my comfort zone. Suddenly she wanted me to do her hair, paint her nails, buy her dresses and stockings. She wanted glitter and scented lotion. All.Things. Foreign.To.Me.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally
and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Wisdom in parenting has always been my number one prayer request. One particular aspect I’ve tried to apply the wisdom I’ve been given is in parenting tween girls.
Did I mention God gave me 5 girls?
I’ve had a tween for the last 12 years.
You know what comes after the tween years right? YUP. It’s the highly anticipated teen years. I’ve been parked there for 8 years with 9 to go. Lord give me wisdom!
For years my worst parenting fear was seeing my kids move away to college. After raising so many girls, my new worst fear is seeing them struggle with self-esteem and insecurity, something I struggled with as a young teen.
Suddenly my eyes were opened to the magazine ads, billboards, TV shows, and even cartoons.
Sex is in. The women in commercials are getting younger and wearing less. Even young girls are touched-up and air-brushed in the magazines.
All of this junk is enough to make almost 40-year-old me scream. How much more can the images affect our girls, who are going through the ‘awkward’ changes of puberty. Our girls who are still carrying a little more weight, than the girls on the teen magazines. Our girls who are wearing retainers and glasses and look gorgeous just the same.
Society has placed too much importance on appearance, and though it does affect boys; low-self esteem caused by one’s appearance is very common among girls of all ages.
Social media fans the flame, by giving our tweens full access to the comparison train.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
In all 21 verses describing the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, the only time beauty is mentioned is as a reminder that it will not last. The emphasis throughout is upon her strength, wisdom, and fear of the Lord. Let us raise young women who strive to please the Lord, not men.
Bullying & Suicide
For homeschoolers, bullying is not as big a concern as it would be in the public school system. Yes is happens there too, I have seen it, and it’s ugly.
According to girlshealth.org, some reasons girls might be bullied are: being different in some way, being overweight or skinny, going through puberty earlier or later than others, having an illness or disability and having low self-esteem. Ultimately bullying can lead to self-harm and even suicide.
These are real issues, our tweens are facing today. According to the CDC “suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15-to 24-year-olds, and it is the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds”.
This is a depressing statistic. My heart breaks at hearing this, and this not something I would normally want to discuss with my super optimistic 11-year-old. However it is a subject that has come up, and one we’ve discussed in the light of God’s word.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
Seize The Opportunity
Sometimes we (and yes I also mean me) miss the signs our tweens are sending and we miss opportunities to address future problems. Recently my teen girls started watching a show I loved as a teenager. I walked in and out of the room several times and never once did I stop to watch/listen. Days later my 10 and 11-year-old sat down to watch the same show. I listened in this time and was appalled at the content. Instead of addressing the topic immediately, I raised my voice, turned the TV off and sent them to their rooms.
Though my aim is to raise girls who want to please the Lord and who can discern right from wrong, this was not entirely their fault. They had seen their siblings watch it, they had seen me allowing them to watch it, and they trusted my judgement. What’s worse is that it took me 4 days to go back, apologize and discuss.
Sex is not something I particularly want to discuss with my tweens. BUT, how much better is it that they hear about it from me, than from a TV show, another child at the playground, or catch a glimpse on an internet ad.
Tackle The Hard Issues With Your Tween In Light of God’s Word
Low self-esteem, depression, body image, bullying, sex.
I challenge you to discuss the awkward, uncomfortable, hard topics with your tweens as the opportunities present themselves. Most importantly discuss these things from a Biblical perspective. What does the word of God say about it?
If we start there, we will not go wrong.
For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life
As I kiss my kid’s goodnight, I look them in the eyes and remind them they are fearfully and wonderfully made. I remind them God created them just as they are, He made them in His image and for His glory.
These issues are not going away and unfortunately, they are in the face of our children whether we like it or not. At minimum look at the billboards and checkout line at the grocery store!
It is tough to parent tweens in this day and age, but sharing all in the light of God’s word and you (as a parent or caregiver) being the primary source of the tough information is SO important!
So let’s hear how you are, or how you plan to navigate these issues with your tweens- leave us a comment below!
Did you miss the other days of the Tween Parenting Blog Party? Check them out here!
Tatiana blogs over on The Musings of Mum where she shares Encouragement & Tools to Reach the Next Generation of Believers. She covers topics such as YOUTH MINISTRY, APOLOGETICS, MARRIAGE and SO MUCH MORE! Stop by to visit and sign up for her email to keep up to date with all she has to offer -I know you’ll be blessed!