Warning: This post may contain alarming information about your pre-teen child or one you know. But I believe it’s necessary to share.
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God has opened my eyes and laid this on my heart. I can’t shake it. I’m learning to embrace that obedience for me looks like sharing information and helping you any way I can.
But I won’t only give you information.
If you’ve followed me for any time you know I can’t leave you without application – so I’ve got your back!
Today I’m talking with you straight from my “Mama heart”. Not as a blogger, ministry worker, co-op member or homeschooler. I’m here as a Mom of 5 kiddos who desires them to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior above all else in life.
Being a Mother of pre-teens has sent me down a path of discovery. One that is actually very troubling to my heart.
As believers, many of us realise there’s a battle going on for our children’s hearts. We also agree that unlike our childhood, tweens today face a barrage of challenges. These are difficult, real struggles, on top of the standard battles of adolescence. They live in a world often hostile to Christians. There is an overpowering media influence like never before. Even according to secular opinion our sexualized culture shouts at them at every turn. And this is only to name a few.
But what you may not know – what I didn’t know – is how crucial fighting back, during the tween years, really is.
You see, there is an actual sweet spot in childhood. Yep, it’s called the tween years. The years between 8 and 13. These pre-teen children are still mold-able and formative. Their moral compass is not yet set.
Tweens are still open-minded.
Forming their values and opinions during this time is an ongoing process. They are open to ( and even seeking ) their parent’s input on the big things in life.
But here’s the shift
Studies show that all changes after the age of 13.
Follow me for a moment.
Research has shown that a child’s moral foundation (how they determine right and wrong) is established by the age of 9.
As George Barna says, after that they’re just trying to figure out what that looks like in life.
On average in the US, a child’s faith commitments and practices are formed before the age of 14.
Meaning, if a child does not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by the age of 13, they likely never will.
Did you catch that?
And here’s the kicker:
Studies also show currently only 32% of pre-teens have accepted Christ as their Savior.
So where does that leave the future generation??
Sadly this is not new information. These studies continue to prove true. Despite these statistics, there still is (in most instances) a greater focus placed on teen and adult ministry than tweens.
Have you done a comparative search for resources that apply specifically to the age group of 8-13 vs teens? I have and it’s limited friend.
Please let me be clear
Ministries of all kinds are needed and wonderful! But with this age group, we are missing a piece of the puzzle that can greatly effect the future.
I know very well there is nothing outside the power of God. I am not saying He can’t move and change hearts. I have experienced this myself. I am eternally grateful to be part of the 10% of believers who were saved much later in life.
But my question to you today is what if?
What if we put a greater focus on training up these children during the formative years?
What if we spent more time, energy and resources building them up instead of repairing the adult like me with an aftermath left behind?
What would that do for those children, for our families, our churches, our nation and future?
Friend, I write this in hopes that we will find out!
But How? What can we actually do?
Let’s look at what we can do to get started!
#1 First things first. Prayer. Much prayer. Pray for your children and those around the world. Pray for churches, ministries and leaders. Pray for wisdom, grace, and direction. Pray that He would raise up kingdom workers to help fight the battle!
#2 Communicate- a lot- with the pre-teens in your life. Many of them are still open to communicating with you maybe much more than you think! Please don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. Some of our best conversations have started out, well… not comfortable ? Here is a post on How to Encourage Open Communication With Your Tween + Tip Sheet to get you started!
#3 Put in what you hope to get out. It is so important to pay attention to what they are filling their minds and hearts with! Some may call it strict or overbearing, but what they put in – has a direct effect on their hearts.
#4 Build them up God’s way. Let’s encourage them from the inside out. Talk to them about what the world values and what God values. Share His unconditional love for them with them and narrow in on the heart above anything else.
Let’s support resources and events that are created to build up and equip the tween age group.
Two of our favorite events to support are Secret Keeper Girls Tour and B413 No Filter Tour Live Events! They’re designed exactly for this reason! Check out the coming together of some well-known ministries to create the B413 events (for boys and girls). It is going to be an incredible blessing for the whole family. Also, if you have a tween girl, you can explore the Secret Keeper Girl Tours here. PS Let me know if you’re heading to one of these events near you, as we will be too!
Ok, let’s talk more resources!
So this admittedly makes me a little giddy! Yes, I’m a total google nerd.
As a parent of tweens, I have found it incredibly difficult to find good resources for our pre-teens. There are some for teens, but not as many for tweens!
That is part of the reason I have created a FREE 10 Week e-course for tweens. It’s where an Intro to Inductive Bible Study + Intro to Bible Art Journaling ‘Meet’! You can read more about it here or if you know you want it delivered to your inbox every week click here now.
Since my first group of tweens are girls, whenever I’ve found resources for them I took note. I have been collecting resources that I use or were recommended to me over the last couple years.
If you have a pre-teen girl, I have compiled a FREE list of 100’s of resources for you!
We call it The Ultimate Resource Kit for Your Tween Girl!
The PDF with links includes the following categories:
Our Tween Playlist
Encouragement For Girl Moms
I am so excited to share this with you as I know I wish I had this a couple of years ago! I have not come across anything so extensive.
With my boy quickly approaching these formative years I have been compiling a list for him as well. If you’re a boy Mom with resource wisdom to share please let me know! Also if there is a large enough request for an Ultimate Resource Kit for Tween Boys – I will put it together. Just send your request here!
I’ve also been so blessed to be able to create and teach a 12-week course for tween girls. It’s called Girls Created To Shine – Equipping Tween Girls to Pursue Their Identity in Christ. This course is designed for either Parent and Daughter or taught in small group ministry or Homeschool co-op setting.
You can find out more about it here or download your Free lesson on How to Handle Tween Emotions Here.
I can’t wrap up a section on valuable tools for tweens without giving mention to my two favorite tween parenting books and video. God used these books to ignite a passion in me for this age group years ago and I pray He continues to!
These three are perfect if you are looking for a place to start. I highly recommend Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl and Six Ways to Keep the Good in Your Boy. Both are by Dannah Gresh who I highly respect. And get this … she will be speaking at the B413 event!! This hour-long video called SHIFT hosted by best-selling authors; George Barna and Francis Chan is a must see in my book. It provides invaluable insight for parents or pastors of pre-teens or teens.
Well, there you have it, friend. The whole picture.
Above is the answer to why your pre-teen child is in crisis and what you can do about it. You have the information to use or to share.
Still not convinced there is an issue? Want more facts? Take 3 minutes of your day to watch this video by Tween Gospel Alliance, they lay it out for us so well.
So this is my plea to you.
From a Mama’s heart to yours…..
Will you join me in fighting for our tween children and those pre-teen children you know?
Would you be willing to ask God to use you in whatever way He chooses to further this kingdom work?
I would love to hear from you! Let me know you’re with me here or in the comments below and don’t forget to start spreading the word now by sharing this post!
Joining you in the in be’tween’,
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