I am a mom of three daughters. Yes, all girls. Yes, potentially three weddings to pay for one day, as many dudes are quick to point out. (Ahem…maybe we’ll just stress the cool concept of eloping!) I’m raising girls, who are “easy” as young kids but unbearable as teens. My husband is not looking forward to all the estrogen that will soon surge through our home.
As people say, “God has a sense of humor” in giving us all girls. I never struggled with all the emotions and drama as a girl. Many facets of my personality are more like guys, even though I’m totally girly-girl. I always thought I would be a rockin’ boy mom. Now I’m thinking I’ll be a rockin’ mother-in-law to some sons-in-law! But God knows what He’s doing. I can already see how having girls has and will stretch me and keep me growing, depending on God.
My middle and youngest both celebrated birthdays this past week. Now everyone’s ages are 9, 8 & 5. I’ve been singing a tune I made up to the old, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers, dirty looks,” like when school’s out. Mine goes, “No more babies, no more tots, no more diapers, wiping snot.” It’s a new season of motherhood.
Along with that, I suddenly realized that I am a mom of not one, but two tweens. (FYI: Tweens are considered ages 8-12.) Whoa Nelly, back up the horse!
Okay, so I’m an “expert” at the babies, tots, diapers and snot stuff – easy peasy lemon squeezy. Have you ever realized how many books, magazines, blogs, mom’s groups, and resources are put into helping us parent those babies & tots?
Then overnight, (though I know it doesn’t seem like it will ever happen), they turn into tweens…and well, things change and resources are limited. I suddenly realized that I need to refocus my parenting, update my plans, and revive my intentionality. Quick, someone throw me a tween parenting manual! Wait. What’s that? You can’t find any?!?! Help!
Lots of parents think the kids are now all in school so they can both work, focusing on career, and perhaps sighing relief to be away from the sleepless nights, temper tantrums and sit-down buffet of leftover Cheerios in the car. (I’m happy to see that stuff go, too.) But with that, their grip loosens a little. They think the majority of their work is done in raising the kids. By age eight, the kids should know the basics, getting independent…tying their shoes, zipping their coat, making toast, wiping their own noses. They should have a sense of right and wrong and some level of responsibility.
However, I actually feel that it is even more important to be available with your kids during the tween/teen years. It is a delicate balance between loosening your grip as they gain independence and yet tightening your grip as they navigate this whole new world to them. It’s a world of homework, bullies and cliques, sleepovers, after school activities, dressing appropriately, navigating media and technology, and laying the next level foundation of their worldview.
As Christ followers, we are to be in the world, but not of the world. The world has loud voices, leaving anyone spinning out of control, let alone an innocent, vulnerable tween. We need to be there to talk over issues, answer questions and be the ones to tell them about things… like becoming a woman. (Lord, please help me!)
I was listening to a CD I recently got by the group Royal Tailor. The lyrics to the song, Control, hit me. (Click to listen.) They talk about how this world is in a bad romance with us, trying to win us over. Everything’s so plastic and fake and it’s trying to hypnotize us and control us. The chorus is a battle cry to stand together so we won’t let them take control. They reference a Bible verse found in 1 John, chapter 4. It’s verse 4, “…because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.”
That is exactly the foundation upon which I want to parent my girls. (In fact, all of 1 John, chapter 4 is great!) Will you stand together with me as we purpose to raise our kids in this crazy dark world and yet to be a separate, shining light of Hope for all to see?
I’ve found some great resources with The Whatever Girls, Secret Keeper Girl, The MOD Squad (Mothers of Daughters), and Moms In Prayer, International. I’m going to start writing more about parenting tween girls on my personal blog, as I flesh out a new intentionality to parenting.
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