It feels like just yesterday that I dropped my daughter off at Kindergarten. As she walked into her classroom with hesitation, my eyes filled with tears. I wondered how she would do in this new environment with strangers. I worried that my shy little girl would have trouble making friends.
I find myself thinking of this as I prepare her for middle school. She has come so far since that first day of school but it doesn’t keep me from wondering if she is ready to navigate the next few years. It’s as if overnight, the game has changed and the stakes are higher. Her body is starting to develop, relationships have become more complicated, and the pressure to perform academically has increased.
The older my daughter gets the more choices she’ll make on her own and I want her to be prepared. There are a few things I want her to have as she heads into these years and I am grateful that there are resources to help.
Personal Practice of Prayer and Devotion
My daughter goes to church regularly, participates in family devotions, and memorizes scripture. However there comes a time when she must take ownership of her personal relationship with God. Up to now I have been the primary nurturer of her spiritual growth. Now, it’s her turn to create a routine that will allow her to consistently connect with her Heavenly Father. Reading Whatever is Lovely: A 90-Day Devotional Journal by Allia Zobel Nolan is a great place to start. It focuses on the ability of our thoughts to direct the course of our life and the power of Biblical truth to connect us with God. Based on Philippians 4:8, this fun devotional in the Faithgirlz series brings new meaning to the word “whatever” and tackles some current issues for tweens and teens, like navigating social media and finding your worth in Christ, not in the approval of others.
When you have a keen sense of who you are you make better choices. Are you an introvert or extrovert? How do you approach school work, relationships, and money? The Big Book of Quizzes: Fun, Quirky Questions for You and Your Friends asks teen girls the types of questions that help them understand how they were created. The scoring at the end of each quiz not only provides personality type results but encourages girls to live in a Christlike manner.
I do my best to teach my daughter what she needs to know when she needs to know it. But new situations come up everyday and I am not always around when she needs immediate answers. Thankfully I have some help in giving practical advice on things that matter to a 12 year old. 101 Things Every Girl Should Know: Expert Advice on Stuff Big and Small helps with how to cure Saturday boredom, how to talk to a teacher about grades, how to buy shoes that actually fit, and much more!
Confidence in God’s Love for Her
As I’m sure you do with your kids, my husband and I love our daughter beyond words. However, there will be times when we, and even others will let her down. Of course, we don’t want to, but we’re only human. So, I want her understand the love of her Heavenly Father, because He is going to be able to love her far better than we will ever be able to. It is what will get her through the tough times. My Beautiful Daughter: What It Means to Be Loved by God by Tasha K Douglas reaffirms the truth that she has a Father that loves her deeply, completely, and forever.
Friends Who Follow Christ
Being a part of a club is one of the most rewarding things a girl can experience. It strengthens friendships, cultivates an interest, and teaches commitment. True You: A Guide to Becoming a Faithgirl and Starting Your Own Club by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a simple guide that takes the guesswork out of what to talk about when gathering with other girls who love Jesus and want to grow in their faith.
I am looking forward to the ups and downs the next couple of years will bring. While I am inexperienced in raising a teen, I am confident that my daughter and I will get through it with God’s wisdom and the guidance of these wonderful books.
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Do you have a daughter or granddaughter? A tween or teen? How do you try to relate spiritual truths to your children at this stage? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!