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 childbirth, and her father was in international business. She grew up speaking a different language and in a culture where clothes had nothing to do with status.
When our friend was in the sixth grade, her father met a woman on a business trip to the United States. He decided to marry this woman and raise his family in America. Our friend started seventh grade in Dallas, Texas. She had no social awareness. She had never heard the word popular, let alone worried about whether she was or not. As you can imagine, her world changed dramatically in a few days.
This friend continues to have difficulty in relationships. She is socially awkward and has a very immature sense of humor. If she gets close to someone, she sabotages the relationship. Believing that arguing is what makes friends close, she sets up arguments with her friends. Obviously, her friends tire of her quickly.
Relationally this young woman is still living in the seventh grade. She got stuck at that age and has yet to move beyond it. Any of us can become stuck at different places in our development— and we all probably have at some point or another.
As you read the chapters on development, you may read about milestones you never reached, or you may hear suggestions for parents that your parents never offered you.
There is hope. Even when our parents fail, even when you fail as a parent (which you will . . . often), we have a perfect parent. As our Father, God desires to use our development not only to help call out who we were created to be, but to draw us closer to him. He doesn't require our perfection or the perfection of our imperfect pasts to equip us to be parents.
As you read this section, think not only about your daughter's past but also about your own. Where do you see yourself in terms of your development in each particular chapter? Where could you have possibly gotten stuck? Can you see how this "stuck-ness" could affect your own parenting? Can you see how it affects your view of yourself or your close relationships?
In the last section of the book, we talk further about the importance of looking at your own life. We would like you to do this as you read the entire book:
J Read a little
J Put it down
J Talk to your spouse or a friend
J Pray about what God is teaching you about your daughter
J Pray about what he wants to say to you about your own life
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