Relational

One of the most common phrases for girls to say to each other in these twelve-to-fifteen years is, What's wrong In their Adventurous Years, girls didn't say these kinds of things. If her friend was sad, your daughter drew her a picture or tried to make her laugh. As they reach the Narcissistic Years, however, girls ask. When one of their friends is sad, they ask what is wrong (often ad nauseum) and usually believe the answer has something to do with them. This has to do with the relational...

Chauffeur

As a daughter moves into her latter elementary school years, the hours from four o'clock to seven become the busiest in the day for girls and their moms. Moms of daughters from about ten to sixteen years of age don't have time to be home plates they are so busy acting as chauffeurs. Many mothers of girls in this age tell us that their very best conversations with their daughters occur in the car. In these years, girls are becoming more uncomfortable with face-to-face interaction. Herein lies...

Spiritual Development

Children in their Adventurous Years love to talk and think about God. They have wonderful questions and are hungry to hear the answers. We define spirit as the part of a girl that is aware of and responsive to God. Children from six to eleven are both, in ample measure. We asked girls in the Adventurous Years what they would ask God if they could ask anything. These are just a few of their questions Why do you love me so much that you would die for me What is it like in heaven Will my dog Otis...

The Redemption Child

I (Melissa) recently met with a young soccer player named Andrea. She was to compete in a state tournament but had to choose between the tournament and a family trip to Europe that had been planned for six months. When she told her coach, the coach became angry. This was Andrea's response to the coach's anger I hate that my parents are making me go on the trip. Not that I don't want to go, but I just feel bad hurting my coach. She was a really good soccer player when she was in high school and...

Name That Is Unique

Our dear friends Pace and Brandon are expecting a baby in September. If the baby is a girl, we have jokingly said she should be named Silissa the Si for Sissy and the lissa for Melissa. If nothing else, her name would be unique. Your daughter's name her true name is unique. In this life she may have one of those common names and know five other people in her class who share it, but she is entirely different from all who have come before her or will come after. The name God is calling out in her...

Homosexuality

The media has saturated our homes with portrayals of homosexuality. Almost every primetime television show has a person who is living a homosexual lifestyle. We see this impacting the social lives of girls. In previous generations, girls had heroes. They had older girls they respected and looked up to and even emulated in the way they acted. This was a normal part of growing up. Today, it has become twisted. If a girl feels strongly about an older girl or woman, she may unconsciously absorb the...

S Going On

Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her. My darling child she cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. Where in the world did you come from From the Land of Oz, said Dorothy gravely. And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em I'm so glad to be at home again I don't understand what's going on with my daughter. She used to want to talk to me when she came home from school. Now, I can't get...

What You Can Do

Computer and cell phones are both a blessing and a curse in the world of girls. The advantage of cell phones is that parents can get in touch with girls immediately when they need to. They help facilitate pickups from practice and safety in cars. Computer courses are part of the curriculum of many schools today. Kids start using computers as early as kindergarten and are given computers by the schools (actually their parents pay a hefty sum for them) as young as middle school. Grades and...

Parenting During The Autonomous Years

We have talked at length in the chapters on development about helping to call out who God is creating your daughter to be. In small ways, you will continue to do that for the rest of her life. But the loudest, most direct part of your calling is over in these Autonomous Years. She is finding her own voice. Her body, her emotions, and her faith are working together to give your daughter the ability to care, to give, and to have a sense of purpose that is outside herself. In these years, she is...

Whats Behind It

As adults, it's hard to understand what could ever be behind self-mutilation. It is appalling to think about your daughter hurting herself for any reason, but girls do and for a host of reasons that make complete sense to them. From a physical standpoint, the brains of these girls respond to the injury in a way that encourages the behavior. Opiates are released from the brain when a body is injured to dull the pain. These opiates that dull the physical pain of the cut serve to dull the...

School Culture

I (Melissa) recently spoke with a group of seventh- and eighth-grade girls about their purpose in life. They each talked about where they saw themselves fifteen years from now. One girl in the group talked about how much she looked forward to being a mom. Another girl turned to her and said, Wow. That's really great. You just don't hear that very often anymore. I was shocked. When we (Melissa and Sissy) were growing up, being a mom is what most girls wanted. These changes are not just the...

Obstacles for

My parents are boring they don't do anything fun It's amazing how many children believe this about their parents, and sadly, there are parents who will admit they stop having time for fun when they have children. I (Melissa) met with a mom recently who was struggling with her adolescent daughter. I told her that I wanted her to enjoy life outside of parenting, since being a parent currently was not the source of much enjoyment for her. When was the last time you and your husband went on a trip...

The Importance of Play with Moms at Every

It is the most natural thing in the world to play with your daughter when she is young and often the most difficult thing as she becomes older. What comes much more naturally for moms is to instruct. Sally, you need to take your laundry upstairs. Please don't leave your backpack right here at the door. You can't invite all of them without inviting Jenna. And so on and so forth. Because moms are perceptive, and sometimes simply because they are around, they are often the parent who does the most...

Divide Your Wood

How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. This verse is a little more confusing when it comes to parenting. What happens is the plank in your eye stretches all the way over to your daughter's and ends in a little speck in hers. Your plank and her speck is often one and the same or so...

What You Can Do About It

If cutting is emotionally and socially motivated, it can be difficult, as a parent, to know how to respond. As counselors, we have the same rule of thumb about cutting that we do with kids who threaten suicide. We tell parents that if their child threatens to take her life, put her in the car and drive her to the emergency room. If she means it, she needs to be taken, and the ER will do a psychiatric evaluation to determine what needs to happen next. If she is manipulating you, she needs to...

Nearsightedness

Not only are the brain connections growing rapidly in a girl age twelve to fifteen, but hormones are beginning to take center stage. This adds to a girl's sense of being overwhelmed and markedly limits her perceptive abilities. As we said before, she is thinking about herself continually who she is, how she looks, and what other people think about who she is and how she looks but there is a significant problem she is terribly nearsighted. I (Melissa) remember riding on a bus to a retreat in...

Emotions And Personality Development

Emotionally, these are unfettered years for girls. They are free to go, play, do, try, risk without much concern about what others are thinking. These are years that are significant for working through fears, developing confidence, gaining social skills, and discovering their individual personalities. In many ways, girls in the Adventurous Years find their uniqueness with both courage and creativity. In the last chapter, we talked about the emotional development of Discovery-age girls in...

Getting Stuck

If your daughter didn't move through each of these important stages of development, she would never learn to separate from you and become the unique woman God is calling her to be. Girls can become stuck in their development. Often, trauma in the life of a maturing girl or boy can cause that child to stall to never move beyond a particular developmental stage. This can be crippling in their later lives. We have a friend who grew up in a small town in Eastern Europe. Her mother died during...

Well Worn Paths

In the last chapter, we talked about the importance of activities for girls. These activities aid in a phenomenon psychologist Gerald May talks about in his insightful book Addiction and Grace the well-worn path. As a new activity is learned, a neural pathway is created. The more often that activity is participated in, the more well-worn that particular neural pathway becomes. It's a lot like the road home how sometimes you'll end up in your driveway when you really meant to drive to the store....

The Adventurous Years Six to Eleven

J Take her to do some type of physical activity like horseback riding, water- or snow-skiing J Help her learn to paint or to draw. If you're not artistic, take an art class with her J Have her teach you the gymnastics she is learning in class J Bake cookies or brownies together for a sick neighbor J Read books out loud with her taking turns reading J Make an adventure out of a family vacation do something unusual and surprise her J Make decorations for the Christmas tree together J Have pillow...

The Deepest Longing

A book I (Sissy) read as a nineteen-year-old was Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb. That book changed everything for me. It was the first time I heard that, first, I was designed to have longings and, second, my longings would never be fully met until heaven. I read that book with a sigh of relief. To know that nothing was wrong with me for longing, that it was a part of the reality of a fallen world to be disappointed, and that God would fulfill my deepest longings was profoundly freeing for me....

Who She Is

Who is your daughter Is she a leader in her class Is she funny Is she gifted with animals Is she weak in math Does she struggle with friends Does she feel comfortable with any group she meets Is she critical of others Is she tenderhearted Is she creative What are her strengths Her weaknesses It is sometimes difficult to see both sides of your daughter. When she has yelled at you or come home after curfew two nights in a row, the weakness side is much more visible. In your exasperation, it is...

The Role Of Grandparents

Grandparents are a tremendous gift in the life of a girl. We both have very fond memories of our grandparents. My (Melissa's) grandparents taught me about faith, food, and the strength of women. My (Sissy's) grandparents have taught me to enjoy life and what it means to be a woman of character. We see more and more grandparents who are courageously raising their grandchildren in lieu of their birth parents, but for the most part, grandparents get to enjoy the benefits of their grandchildren...

Just Want to Be Accepted The Need to Belong

I'm so alone even my best friend has moved away. Why do I not have any friends Am I not a good enough person Am I too fat Am I too ugly Am I just so annoying that no one wants to be around me Will I ever feel that sense of belonging that I'm looking for From the journal of a sixteen-year-old We spoke to two parents recently about their seventeen-year-old daughter, Kristy. She is floundering in relationships. She comes straight home from school while other girls...

Discovery In Action

Children ages birth to five perform countless monumental tasks on a daily basis in this stage of their lives. Every day for a baby is a crash course in life as her brain forms new neural pathways. She sees and feels and hears and smells (and tastes, unfortunately) new objects with every passing hour. Babies and toddlers are learning about relationships, trust, hope, independence, attachment, and countless other concepts that we adults spend the rest of our lifetimes trying to understand. A girl...

Promiscuity

Susan had been sexually abused at the age of twelve by her father. By the time she came into my (Sissy's) office, she had averaged ten to twelve boyfriends per year since then. I hate my life. No one knows what I'm really like. Everyone at school thinks I'm a slut. My mom does too. I got so tired of hearing it that I decided I might as well give in. I decided to just be one. At least the guys will be nice to me. Susan has gotten stuck in the boy category of the girl-boygirl-boy. It is where she...

About the Publisher

Founded in 1931, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Zondervan, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers, is the leading international Christian communications company, producing best-selling Bibles, books, new media products, a growing line of gift products and award-winning children's products. The world's largest Bible publisher, Zondervan (www.zondervan.com) holds exclusive publishing rights to the New International Version of the Bible and has distributed more than 150 million copies worldwide. It...

Redemptive

Several years ago, a fifteen-year-old girl came to camp who had never been to Daystar. Laura was brought to counseling because of her explosive anger at home. Her teachers said she was a model student. She was well-liked by her peers at school. All of her disappointment, hurt, and anger was stored up during the day and poured out at home each night. Her parents were not only concerned they were exhausted. Through the beginning of the ten-day term, Laura was delightful. She quickly developed...

Teaching that Stirs

In his book The Curate's Awakening, George Macdonald says, Polwarth did not want to say or explain too much, for he did not want to weaken by presentation the truth which, in discovery, would have its full effect. This statement could have been written about Autonomous-age girls. Sixteen- to nineteen-year-olds learn by discovery. They need to be invited, rather than instructed. As we teach girls in their Discovery or Adventurous Years, we teach directly. We instruct them and feed them exactly...

Physical Development

Our friend Mimi visited us while we were writing this chapter, to encourage us and spur us on. She brought us each a Starbucks and said, Could you just finish it tonight I'm tired of this chapter already. We're trying we just got to the section on bodies, Melissa replied. What is there to say at this age asked Mimi. They're just little and cute and squishy. Mimi's right. They are little and very cute and very, very squishy. But as she knows, having raised three girls herself, they are a lot...

Communication What Theyre Doing

Cell phones have taken the world by storm . . . actually, they have taken the world of teenage girls by storm. Whereas eleven- and twelve-year-olds used to have ponies and bicycles at the tops of their Christmas lists, they now have cell phones. And these are not just ordinary cell phones. These cell phones are like something from a James Bond movie from the 1960s. They allow the user to make phone calls but also allow her to text message (without having to type the entire words the phone does...

Relax

As you read this paragraph, God is working in your daughter. She might be at the pool with friends or on a date or snuggled safely in bed but he is working. He's bringing about the woman he has created her to be. You, obviously, are an important part of this process, but you are not the process. It is not up to you to teach her every learn-able lesson before she becomes an adult. She doesn't need you to. What she needs is you to teach and then relax, to believe in her and then to enjoy her. To...

The Power Of Enjoyment

Think back over your teachers from school. Which ones do you remember Who made the most positive impact on you We would guess that the ones who made the most difference weren't necessarily the smartest or the strictest or even the ones everyone considered the coolest, but the ones who seemed to like you. These teachers made us want to read or write or work harder in class. We wanted to help them with bulletin boards and made sure our moms got them the best Christmas gift. What endeared us to...

Friend

As the dust settles over the foil stage, moms reemerge as human beings in a daughter's mind. You actually are able to have a relationship again and even have an opinion. They want to see you as more of a friend than an authority. (See chapter 5.) Surprisingly, this is often one of the most difficult stages for moms. It involves listening more than talking. It involves letting them make their own mistakes but helping them pick up the pieces afterward. It can involve offering advice but mostly...

Discovering Identity

If your oldest child is an athlete, your next child will often be an artist. If your middle child is strong academically, your youngest child will probably be more of a social butterfly. Girls like to be individuals not replicas of their siblings. This doesn't mean you won't have two artists or athletes in the family, but for the most part, siblings want to shine in their own ways and have their own identities. In my (Melissa's) family, one child is a writer, one a doctor, and the other a...

Assume the Best

After counseling several years, you start to see the same family come in every so often. They are not exactly the same family they have different names and different combinations of children, but the dynamics are the same. one such family we see regularly has a daughter we will call Dr. Jekyll Miss Hyde. This girl is typically a teenager. She is a joy to work with. After a few sessions, it's hard to remember why she is even in counseling. But then we meet with her parents. Liz has probably told...

Emotional And Personality Development

We have a twelve-year-old friend named Mamie. She overflows with life. Whatever she does, she does with gusto. When she laughs, she laughs hard. When she rides her bicycle, she likes to be in the front of the pack. When she enjoys a movie, it is the best movie that has ever been made. Mamie also loves to perform. For years, whenever she had a friend spend the night, they would rival any nightclub act in a hairbrush revival of Nat King Cole's L-O-V-E. When she was a little girl, Mamie's dad gave...

Responsiveness

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. What did the child in this verse do that led Jesus to believe that he was humble As far as we know, the child didn't speak a...

Sex and Confusion

These words used to be a phrase of endearment for teenage girls. Today, we don't really even hear the phrase. Part of the reason is that many girls have already been kissed by their sixteenth birthday. The other reason is that, for some girls who haven't, it is more of an embarrassment than an endearment. Sex is everywhere. Girls are overexposed, overstimulated, and tragically underestimated in this area. The media portrays sex as the ultimate fulfillment of...

Take a Step Back Rest

Sometimes our worst enemy is not a person but our own imaginings. Your daughter goes straight to her room after school she doesn't like you anymore. She chooses to go on vacation with a friend's family rather than yours she thinks they're more fun. She yells at you for asking her a question she hates you and wants to trade you in for a different mother. These imagined messages you think your daughter is sending you can start to control your thoughts and eventually your behavior toward your...

Breaking Down the Dam Self Hatred

Self-hatred is an issue we see in a distressing number of teenage girls. I (Sissy) recently spoke with a girl whose boyfriend had just broken up with her. Her response is one that all of us have probably heard or said at some point in our lives I can't believe he did this. He doesn't even speak to me in the halls anymore. But I keep trying to get him to talk to me. I don't know why. I don't even know how to stop liking him. I'm just such an idiot There is nothing idiotic about this young woman....

Vck

Neither your development nor your daughter's is fully over until you reach heaven. To help you understand more of what your girl is going through, remember your own development the successes and failures, the stresses and strains, that defined those years. Raising girls and helping call out who God is creating them to be is a difficult task. It is especially difficult in light of so much of what is brought out during their developing years. In reality, what we see in them is not so different...

Simplicity

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. What does it mean to talk, think, and reason like a child We have already said that children are aware and responsive, which we believe Jesus calls us all to be, but they are also simple. They learn and respond to simplicity. our friend who teaches a catechism class to fourth graders taught the same class to a group of high school students several years...

Namers

L'Engle says a namer's job is to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. As a father or mother or grandparent or friend, your job is to help each girl to be more particularly the particular girl she is supposed to be. God gives her the name, but you help call it out. As Romans 8 17 says we are co-heirs with Christ, and you are also co-nam-ers of the girl you love. He graciously gives us that place. We have the mysterious, joyful, precarious honor...

What Theyre Doing

This fifteen-year-old girl is not alone in giving herself over to the god of thinness. According to the Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. (ANRED), eating disorders affect almost 5 percent of young women in the United States. Anorexia is defined as an eating disorder marked by an extreme fear of becoming overweight leading to excessive dieting to the point of serious ill-health and sometimes death. It affects 1 percent of female adolescents. Bulimia, a condition in which bouts...

How We Can Help

Girls are going to crash headlong into their longings around the age of middle school and they won't know what hit them. As a parent, you can help your daughter immensely at this time. You can help her spiritually by doing the things we talked about in the last section. You can also help her practically. First, help her know that it's okay to want relationships and that it is okay to feel hurt in those relationships. She may not admit these things to you, but you can still talk to her about...

That Would Never Happen to Me The Need to Idealize

At sixteen, I (Melissa) had just gotten involved with my youth group. We had a great group, but we had one problem we didn't have a youth director. So I decided to volunteer. I went to my minister one Sunday after church. Listen, things are going great right now with the youth group, but we really need a youth director. I just wanted to let you know that, until you can find one, I would be happy to step in. Obviously, I had no training. I hadn't even been a Christian for very long. But I saw a...

The Ability to Choose

As girls become comfortable around boys, they develop closer relationships. The up side of this is that they begin to see differences in guys. They see guys who are strong, guys who have depth, guys who are adventurous, and guys who are creative, and as they see these different characteristics, they begin to value certain traits over others. Karen dated several guys in high school before she met Will. Will went to the same Christian camp and caught Karen's eye. He was athletic, fun, a...

Playmate

Dad is often the first and best playmate a girl can have in her early years. He swings her through the air, lets her dance on his toes, and makes lots of scary noises. Dads have a natural ability to enjoy their daughters. In turn, this enjoyment helps girls feel safe in their father's care and helps them feel that they are enjoyable themselves. Thankfully, in today's culture, dads are much more present in the daily (and nightly) lives of their daughters than they have ever been. They take on a...

The Fairy Tale Fable

As we were preparing to teach a class, we watched several movies based on fairy tales. In these, an amazing number of women (and mermaids) give up their identities their families, homes, and fins to be with the boy they love. Time and time again, finding the one is portrayed as the ultimate fulfillment of a girl's and a guy's life. Girls fall for this fable every time. Beginning at an early age, girls dress up like brides and dream about finding the love of their life. There is a part of this...

The Discovery Years Birth to Five

J In her first year, smile at her make faces and sounds that make her laugh J Get on the floor and play games with her J Join her in role-playing types of games where you are the child and she is the mommy or the daddy or the teacher J Play outside with her swing, do forward rolls in the yard, go for walks J Take her to the pool or to a playground J Read picture books to her J Wrestle and tickle her J Play in the sprinkler with her J Sing and dance with her J Laugh and laugh and laugh

Building Confidence

We often think of confidence being built by success and encouragement, but it is also built by scrapes and scuffles. Last summer I (Melissa) taught the girls at camp about a word many of them had never heard moxie. Moxie is defined as courage combined with inventiveness and not much builds moxie in a girl's life better than brothers and sisters. As she fights with her sister for room to talk around the dinner table, she develops courage. As she tries to outsmart her brother to get the keys to...

Home Plate

During the Discovery Years, mom is home plate. She represents all that is safe and accepting in a child's life. She is the one her daughter wanders away from and comes back to time and time again. She provides the backdrop for her daughter's exploration of life. She wanders away but wants to remain within sight of her mother's ever-watchful eye (and adoration as we talked about in chapter 2). This role will continue to be the foundation of a mother's relationship with her daughter. Her...

Gir Boy Girl Boy

Marilla, she demanded presently, do you think I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea A a what kind of friend A bosom friend an intimate friend, you know a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life. L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables This is not just a seating chart for a dinner party. It is also what goes on inside a girl's brain as she grows up. A young woman recently told us that she had spent the first half of her life...

Another Voice for

Girls need other voices as do parents. You don't need another voice because you don't know enough, but because you are living in the middle of life with your daughter. Because extended family members are not living in your home and parenting your daughter, they can have an objective viewpoint. To ask your sister or mother or friend for help is not to admit parenting failure. It is to say that you can't see the forest for the trees. Other voices can help you know when you're being too much of a...

Info

Could you make the boys be nice to the girls for one day What do you hear in the questions of these girls Pets, death, heaven, and taking away things that are painful are the themes that run throughout the questions. There is also a great deal of honesty. These girls are not afraid to ask about things they don't understand (Why did Grandpa have to die ). They are not afraid to ask for things that are huge (Could you make it where nobody will ever be hurt or sick again ) or relatively...

Cuttingselfmutilation What Theyre Doing

I would rather see myself bleed than feel myself hurt. These are the kinds of comments we hear from girls who engage in what is referred to as self-mutilation. Eight years ago, I (Sissy) met with one girl who cut herself on her arm. She was struggling with depression, and I had her parents drive her straight to the psychiatric hospital. Today, three to four out of every ten teenage girls I see in my counseling office have experimented with self-mutilation, or, as it is more commonly known,...

The Bare Necessities Of Enjoyment

Before you read any farther, try to remember as many of the lyrics of the song The Bare Necessities (from Disney's Jungle Book) as you can. Whistle it, hum it, sing it whatever you have to do to remember what good old Baloo the bear was trying to teach Mowgli. We sang it together as we tried to remember the words. Not only did our dogs look at us a little strangely, but we ended up laughing and enjoying ourselves. That was Baloo's point. It's difficult to feel your frustrations with your...

Influence

I (Melissa) started Daystar over twenty years ago on the premise that kids impact kids. I still believe this to be true. They hear each other's voices much louder than they ever hear ours as adults. In group counseling, I can say the same thing many times over but if one of their friends says it, they are shocked and amazed at their friend's wisdom. As a parent, you can use this truth to your advantage. Your child will be influenced by her peers for good or for not so good. You can help her...

Parenting During The Adventurous Years

I (Melissa) remember my tenth birthday. I really wanted a blue-eyed, curly headed doll. I also wanted a shiny silver pistol. My parents gave me both. I remember standing in front of my birthday cake holding one in each hand for the picture and feeling sad. Somehow, I knew it was probably my last year to receive a doll or a gun. Six- to eleven-year-old girls believe they are cowboys and nurturing mothers at the same time. These are the years of adventure of learning more about who they are as...

Obstacles To Enjoyment

You finally have some free time in the afternoon to sit down with your six-year-old and play her favorite board game and the phone rings. It's your mother calling to tell you about her friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer. The game and the enjoyment are put on hold . . . again. It's been way too long since you've done anything where you and your thirteen-year-old actually had fun together. So you tell her that you will take her shopping after school. She seems excited and then after...

Disciplinarian

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. In our book The Back Door to Your Teen's Heart, Matthew 10 16 is one of the primary verses we talk about in parenting adolescents. It also holds true for other ages. Parents need the wisdom of a serpent shrewd, aware, with a little bit of fearfulness mixed in and the gentleness of a dove kindness, compassion, and tenderness. What happens all too often, however, is that one parent takes...

J

Although these three parts are sequential, feel free to roam throughout the book. In Part One, we include information about your daughter's physical, spiritual, and emotional development at each of the four stages of development. The more preventive parent may read the entire book from cover to cover. Another parent may only read the chapters that pertain to his or her daughter. We would encourage you to do whatever feels most helpful to you. Parts Two and Three, however, are helpful for any...

Curves and Shame

We recently asked several of our friends how they felt about themselves, particularly their bodies, in the Autonomous Years. One answered before we had even finished the question I hated mine. In these three words, she echoed what most girls in their Autonomous Years would say if they felt the freedom to be honest. From sixteen to nineteen, the bodies of girls change not in overwhelming ways, but in ways that are round and soft. Their prepubescent bodies are left behind for more curves and...

Gradual Introduction to the World of Boys

In chapter 6, we talked about the freedoms and the dangers that come as girls move out of their parents' homes. If a girl has no prior experience with boys, casual or otherwise, this danger can be compounded. Now she doesn't have a curfew to meet, she doesn't have anyone around to monitor that the boy goes home when he should, and she is free to make her own decisions. It is helpful for her to have already had practice in this kind of decision making while she still lives under your roof. We...

The Role Of Extended Family

I (Sissy) met with a mom of a fourteen-year-old girl. How long do girls stay in counseling here she asked. Well, it depends. Some girls work through their issue after several months of individual counseling, and then we have some who come, connect with a group, and stay for several years. But that is not to say that you have to be involved for a long time. It is more about what you and she need. Well, we need the long haul. I want someone to be in her life and in mine to help me until she goes...

The Rewards Of Relationships With Boys

Much has been discussed in recent years about dating, courtship, and kissing and when girls should do each. We are not going to decide this for parents. At your local bookstore you will find great books on these topics written by wise guides. What we want to do, instead, is to step back for a wider view a look at the risks and rewards that boys bring into the lives of girls. After a class I (Sissy) taught on girls, a father ran up to me saying Boys boys you haven't talked enough about boys...

Eating Disorders

I realized today that I've been wasting a lot of my life trying to achieve this goal of being thin. I've spent so much time and energy focusing on it and it now controls my life. It controls all my thoughts. I'm stuck and I can't get out. Every time I think I'm doing good and I have the strength to get through, I fall back down again. I'm sick and tired of living this way. I wish I could just accept the way I am and not freak out so much about my weight. I have so much regret for how I've been...

The Importance Of Relationship

In preparing to write this book, we asked girls of all ages a series of questions. The first question we asked was What is the hardest part of being a girl Here is a sampling of the answers we received J other people laughing at me J picking clothes out J being teased by boys J being left out J parents yelling at you J shaving, dealing with period, doing hair J being bullied and yelled at in school J trying not to gossip J keeping up with homework J dealing with gossip and critical girls J...

The Strength Seer

That is the kind of blanket, naive statement that pours forth from the parents who see only strengths. These parents see strengths at the expense of the weaknesses. In essence, they turn a blind eye to the truth about all of who their daughter is, clinging to the parts that give them solace. These are the parents who see their children as always right and the school or friend or counselor or offending party as always wrong. This parent will assume the best about...

The Role Of Pets

We could write an entire book on this subject. In fact, as we write today, we are surrounded by Sissy's thirteen-year-old Maltese, Noel, and Melissa's nine-year-old old English sheepdog, Molasses, and an eleven-year-old cat, Patty. Both dogs are a part of our counseling ministry. We firmly believe in the power of pets in the life of a girl (and in our own lives). Actually, I (Sissy) have told many families in the middle of a divorce that their daughters need a pet. In my own life, this is when...

The Roles Of Siblings

Girls of all ages tell us that one of the most frustrating aspects of their lives are their siblings. The reasons primarily have to do with age little brothers and sisters are annoying, while older brothers and sisters don't want me around. Regardless of age or gender, siblings can, at times, appear to be the bane of your daughter's existence. We know the truth, however. As a high school girl recently told us, My brother and I fight all the time, but secretly we love each other. Siblings have...

What Doesnt Help When She Is Struggling

She shuts down and stops talking to you. Getting angrier with the friend boyfriend than she is She stops seeing her own hurt and feels the need to defend her friend or boyfriend. Forbidding her from being with certain friends or boys This creates more intrigue in those friends or boys. (This is unless the situation is dangerous, when she has to be separated for her own physical or emotional safety. Otherwise, try the separation from a back-door strategy.) Stepping in and fixing the problem for...

The Extension Child

It was so sad for me to watch my daughter as she left school. The other kids congregated in a group and were hugging each other good-bye. She walked right by them to my car. I think she must feel really isolated and left out. As this mother and I (Melissa) talked, I realized that she was interpreting how she would feel in her daughter's situation. She was feeling her own emotional response rather than that of her daughter. Her daughter was fine. She is a twelve-year-old who is just as happy to...

Let Go of the Perfect Picture

Alcoholics Anonymous has a statement that Expectations are preconceived resentments. They are also foretold disappointments. But they are resentments and disappointments that every person who becomes a parent carries with them into their new family. I recently met with a family whose daughter had been sent to a wilderness program. Before she left, she was sneaking out every night to meet different boys. She was drinking and using drugs. Basically, she was uncontrollable. She was now home. She...

Coach

In their Adventurous Years, dads not only offer their daughters a sense of enjoyment but also a sense of adventure. They introduce them to new activities that require a little more courage from their daughters and often a healthy dose of interaction with dad. Dads help girls learn to take risks as they teach them to play softball, take them on hikes, and coach their basketball teams. They take them whitewater rafting and horseback riding. My (Sissy's) dad taught me to swing dance (which he...

How To Tell Where Your Lens Is Cloudy

J Would you rather be with your child when you are upset than with your spouse or close friends J Do you feel more disappointed than your child when she is not chosen for certain teams or activities J Do you put pressure on her to do the things you did or to take advantages of opportunities you were not given J Is it important to you that your daughter see you as cool J Do you find yourself allowing her to get away with things you got away with as a teenager J Do you regularly get angry at one...

Sounding Board

As girls pull away from their mothers, they often move toward their dads. This is helpful for girls in that they are learning to see themselves as separate from their mothers and they are able to align themselves a little more with their fathers. Girls need a sounding board another person they can go to when Mom is being totally unfair or she doesn't understand my life at all Girls will definitely have these moments. As they do, dads are able to listen and gently point girls back toward both...

Tenderness

As girls reach adolescence, they may have difficulty expressing tenderness. They may become uncomfortable with affection from their parents. They can be awkward and shy away, but even with the toughest girls, pets have an ability to draw out tenderness. Girls who won't talk to their parents will talk to their cat. Girls will want their dog to sleep with them or cuddle when they are sad. It doesn't matter if it's a hedgehog (we actually know a girl who has one), a fish, a bird, or a cat or dog,...

Unconditional Love

God gave every pet owner a delightful surprise in the tail of a dog (even though Molasses moves her bottom since she has no tail). That tail wags when you speak, when you smile, when you enter the room. It is a communicator of love that knows no bounds, and this kind of love does immeasurable good for a girl. Girls can be ruthless. They can be fickle and inconsistent in their relationships, and at some point, every girl has felt or will feel the sting from these kinds of friendships. So, for...

The Gift of Strength

A friend recently told us that, growing up, she thought her grandmother was the stuff (the best). She loved to be around her and respected her deeply. As a senior in high school, when one of her close friends got in trouble, this friend went to her grandmother. My best friend told me she was pregnant. I had no idea what to do or say. I knew I couldn't tell my mom she would be really upset. So I went to my grandmother. I asked her what I should say to my friend. She told me I didn't need to say...

The Gift of Delight

I (Sissy) never heard my grandmother call me by my name. Instead, my entire life, until she died when I was thirty years old, she called me Sugar Babe. This was a gift of delight to me. I (Melissa) remember a time in college that I spoke to a group of students. Both my grandmothers were in town, and both came to hear me. Afterward, they didn't say a lot but enough for me to know they were proud. Recently our counseling ministry was trying to purchase a house for our new offices. To do so, we...

Naming The Girl You Love

This book was birthed approximately ten summers ago at a camp where we talked about Revelation 2 17. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him or her who receives it. This past summer, we revisited this verse with a group of high school juniors and seniors. At the end of camp we gave them new names . . . names that were...

Listen

Your daughter receives a new name every day, and not necessarily a name you would choose to be her identity. You take your daughter to visit your mother-in-law who is recovering from surgery. Rather than telling your daughter how glad she is to see her, she turns to you and says, Susan sure is quiet these days. She doesn't have as much personality as her sister, does she Susan is named in that moment. You finally persuade your daughter to go with you to look for her prom dress. Browsing through...

Allow Yourself to Be Average

I (Melissa) went snow skiing recently for the first time since I had a head injury over ten years ago. My accident affected my balance and my response time, so I was nervous. I told Sissy and Mimi I wouldn't even ski with them the first day. I had to concentrate. I wanted to be able to ski just like I used to. I got out there, and I couldn't make my boots feel comfortable. I couldn't figure out how to pick up my ski on the turn. I didn't remember where to plant my pole. The harder I tried, the...

Filling the Holes Addictions

Another option for plugging holes is to fill them with something else. For many adolescent girls, these hole-fillers are destructive. Drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, and self-mutilation are a few of the ways that girls try to fill their longings. Rather than feeling the longing, they do something dangerous that will take their mind off the disappointment. We will talk more about these fillers in chapter 9. This kind of longing is opening yourself up to pain. Filling the holes is another way...

Parenting During The Discovery Years

As you watch your daughter wake up, your job is relatively simple. You sing to her, pray with her, snuggle with her, and teach her about Jesus. You create space for her to grow, but stay near enough to cuddle. You allow her to toddle down the lane, but only within the sound of your shouts of admiration and delight. Sounds simple, doesn't it We know it's not. We know that many of you with daughters in the Discovery Years feel much like Anne Lamott, in her book Operating Instructions There are a...

Enjoyment At Every Stage

I need to let go, enjoy, and invite my daughter to enjoy me. That was easier to do at six than it is at sixteen. What can I do with her now that is enjoyable Development does affect the enjoyment you and your daughter share. It changes as she does. In this section, we'd like to give you a few practical ideas of how to enjoy your daughter at every stage. Some of these ideas are ours, and some come directly from the girls you are hoping to enjoy.

Parenting During The Narcissistic Years Through The Back Door

Several years ago, we wrote a book called The Back Door to Your Teen's Heart. The back door is our parenting philosophy for Narcissistic-age kids. Why the back door Because the front door simply doesn't work with teenagers. To the degree that kids can predict you, they will dismiss you. Any parent of a girl between twelve and fifteen has felt dis-missed by either a look, a grunt, or a whatever. To come in the front door often earns an immediate dismissal. A fifteen-year-old recently told us...

The Perils of Puberty

Several years ago, a father came in for counseling. All he could talk about was what a hard time his wife was having with their thirteen-year-old daughter. He said that his wife's feelings were hurt continually by his daughter's rebuffs. The next week, the mother came in. We very compassionately asked about how things were going with her daughter. Her response was, Oh, I'm fine. I'm tired of her attitude, but I'm fine. Her dad, however, is having a really tough time. Actually, this happens a...

Responsibility

Responsibility is the most obvious aspect of a pet's role in the life of a girl. Pets require time and attention, and many girls fall in love with an animal before they are able to think through everything that this love entails. For your daughter to help take care of a family pet helps her learn responsibility. It may be that a pet is a privilege as she shows you she can be responsible, but as she helps to care for a pet, she learns what caring is and thereby she endears the animal toward her...

The Gift of Safety

The role that my grandparents played in my life was invaluable Their home served as another sanctuary for me. Girls need safe places other than home. When a daughter is sad, sometimes the best thing in the world is for her to spend the night with her grandparents and be embraced by love, warmth, and a home-cooked meal. When she is angry with one of her parents, her grandmother can add a little humor and help her understand a little more of the parent's humanness (without eroding her respect)....

Watch

It would be helpful if God would walk into your living room and tell you specifically who he has created your daughter to be. Things would make a whole lot more sense. He could explain why she is going through this or that stage, and you would be able to finally say with a sigh of relief, Oh, now I understand what's happening. But most likely he won't speak to you in quite this way. He will reveal to you who he has created her to be in the subtleties of who she is rather than in his obvious,...

Melissa Trevathan Sissy Goff

Copyright 2007 by Melissa Trevathan and Helen Stitt Goff All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means,...

The Buddy Child

A friend of ours named Leanne told us she wanted to have a baby because she moved to a new town and needed a buddy. Leanne is a great mom. Her daughter, who is now eight, knows that her mom is her mom and not just her buddy but some girls don't. We see parents who would rather be liked by their daughter than respected. These are the parents who tell their teenage daughters of their own wild days in high school. They share their personal lives like they are roommates rather than mothers or...

The Four Stages Of Development

Development has been defined as the bringing out of all that is potentially contained within. And whether your daughter is two, twelve, or twenty, what is contained within her ranges from wonderful to, at times, pretty nasty. And it is completely normal to feel, at times, like someone has stolen the daughter you enjoyed five minutes ago and replaced her with a fire-breathing dragon with the same eyes. In those moments you ask yourself, What's going on Part One answers that question. In this...