I stood in the bathroom brushing my daughter’s hair as I had a hundred other times, but today seemed to be different.
I noticed she was taller as I no longer had to look down while brushing her long brown waves. And maybe she was leaner too. She asked me to braid her hair so it would be curly the next day and made sure to let me know the boy she thought was cute, got good grades, and liked sports.
She then went on to say how the other girls on her soccer team were shaving their legs and could I teach her… and if that wasn’t enough, she asked if her younger sister could be moved out of her room so she could please have some privacy while changing.
After a short pause, I quickly realized it was here. The day had come. My first born, my sweet 11-year-old daughter was starting “the change,” or “puberty,” or any other strange word for describing an otherwise beautiful and positive experience.
What was your memory of “the talk?” Did you have an awkward sit down or were you given a book? Was your first experience watching an outdated scary video in health class? Or maybe you were given the birds and the bees talk from an older sibling that surely left you with nightmares.
Enter parent handbook… oh wait, there isn’t one. So how do you navigate this new phase when you aren’t sure if your daughter is ready, but would like to open the lines of communication from a positive and Biblical perspective? Here are a few highlights:
Tips for Talking to Tween Girls about Puberty
Leaning into God and his word is the best place to start when beginning this important journey with our daughters. Praying for wisdom is a necessity. I don’t think we need to over-complicate things, but I love the idea of taking Scripture and using it as a way to explain God’s design.
“There is nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” – 2 Timothy 3:16
This verse tells us the importance of God’s word. As our girls move into a season of life with emotional highs and lows, new feelings and body changes, keeping them grounded to the word will help bring stability… for all of us!
The Right of Passage:
I also love the idea Robert Lewis of Focus On The Family shares about his son’s right of passage. He recommend taking a retreat with your son, where you can focus the conversation around becoming a man. As a mom to one son and four daughters, I see just as much value in doing this type of outing with my girls but with a different message.
My girlfriend Lisa shared with me how she took her daughter for a special sleepover at a hotel – creating a fun girls’ night with ice cream and room service and movies. She took the opportunity to create a memory as she told her the exciting news about becoming a young woman.
Giving your daughter something tangible like a cross necklace or small promise ring is another special symbol in talking about the right of passage. Depending on your daughter’s age, you may not be referencing sexual purity but rather modesty and the understanding that we are daughters of the King and we are to love and respect our bodies.
Friends and Resources:
Thankfully, I am blessed with some amazing friends and mothers who have gone before me and paved the way! Of course when I noticed my daughter was sprouting some hair (yes I said it), I immediately called my friend Amy, mom of 4 girls, and began drilling her with questions. God designed us for community and having strong women of faith who can pray, encourage and challenge us, is truly life giving. You’ve heard the phrase “it takes a village”; well in my book it really does. Get involved in your church small groups and women’s ministries and take advantage of the resources available to you.
Books are another great resource in exploring the many seasons we will go through with our girls. Whenever I need a great book idea I know just who to ask.
A Great Book!
The book that was recommended most in this “transitional phase” was The Body Book by Nancy Rue, from the Lily series. I wanted something with personality and wit – a book that would capture my 11 year old’s attention and not be to stuffy or serious. Nancy makes it fun by allowing the girls to take a body quiz and, in a lighthearted way, shares what to expect as things begin to change. My favorite part is how she focuses on the importance of health and why our body is a temple. She really puts an educational spin without being boring.
Most importantly, let’s pray for each other and our daughters as we move closer to God’s best version of ourselves. We are all wired so uniquely; celebrate one another and celebrate our girls as they become the young women God designed them to be.
How have you talked to your tween about puberty? What concerns do you have about this period in your daughter’s life (no pun intended!)? I’d love to have you join the conversation!