Posted on February 1, 2016
Encouraging Your Daughter Approaching her ‘Teen’ Years
Photo: Annie Spratt at Unsplash.com
Last year I talked about Preparing for the ‘Teen’ Years, and this year we will have two teenagers in our family! We intend to have a similar teenage challenge to the one that we did for our son, for our daughter to complete this summer, but with different specific challenges that are more relevant to her interests. In looking ahead to this in advance, I have also been thinking about the ways we have tried to encourage our daughter, as she approaches the ‘teen’ years.
Since our eldest daughter was about 8 or 9, I have done nightly Bible studies or devotionals with her. Before that, we just read a children’s story Bible together before bed. Some of the Bible time helps she has enjoyed have been God and Me! 2: Devotions for Girls Ages 10-12, the One Year Mother Daughter Devo, by Dannah Gresh, and the Field Guide to Bible Promises: True Stories for Real Kids.
Although we sometimes miss these times due to illness or busyness, I have found them helpful in both reading the Bible together and praying, and also giving her a chance to talk to me about anything that is concerning her, on her own.
Other Resources for Girls
Other books we have read together include Beautiful Girlhood, edited by Karen Andreola, and Call Her Blessed, by Mr and Mrs Stephen B Castleberry, (which is really aimed at Christian wives, but was definitely suitable to read together with our 12 year old). These usually led to lots of discussion.
In addition to having weekly individual times with my daughter, when we play a game or some other activity, we have also used Dannah Gresh’s Secret Keeper Girl Kit. This takes more planning and organising than our usual weekly individual time. It includes a devotion or discussion time, plus some sort of ‘girly’ activity, (e.g. going for a walk together, a tea party with special cups, or a ‘facial’), but when I have made time for it, my daughter has really appreciated it. It is a good follow-on from Six Ways to Keep the ‘Little’ in Your Girl, by the same author, which is a book for mums, not about keeping your daughter as a perpetual baby, but about helping her to grow as a godly young lady prepared for the kind of obstacles and temptations that can be a problem for girls in the current generation, such as body image, media, and true beauty.
I have also mentioned before Elizabeth George’s book Raising a Daughter After God’s Own Heart, which I would say is helpful particularly for mums who are new Christians, or whose daughters have not yet reached adolescence.
With regards to talking to our daughters about the physical changes that come with puberty, I found Sandi Queen’s booklet From Girl… To Woman helpful. This is available in the UK from Icthus Resources, or from Queen Homeschool elsewhere.
A resource which involves both a Bible study of Proverbs 31, and improving practical sewing skills, is the Ruby Doll Kit from Doorposts. This kit was a lovely way to spend time with my daughter, and we will be able to reuse instructions and Bible study for our younger daughters, once I have replenished the fabric and sewing supplies for it.
As well as encouragement for our daughter’s spiritual, emotional, and physical growth, it is important to us that we don’t neglect to teach her practical skills for life. I discussed this a little in Preparing for the ‘Teen’ Years, and the teenage challenge that we give our daughter will include learning some practical skills, just as that for our son did.
Obviously, we homeschool, and so the ‘lines’ between what is ‘school’ and what is not are quite fuzzy- anything we are doing as a family that is not academic ‘book work’ might still be considered learning: cooking together, housework, gardening, going for a nature walk, dealing with people at the bank or shops, or looking after our chickens and cats. This relates directly to the ‘learning lifestyle’ talked about by Kelly Crawford in Think Outside the Classroom, which I reviewed recently.
But in order for us not to miss out passing on practical skills to our daughters (and son!), there are some resources I have found which we have found helpful:
- Home management training checklist, which is free for subscribers of Raising Arrows
- Skills for Real Life posts from Teaching Good Things which include topics as varied as baking, quilting woodworking and engines! Some of them include video tutorials
- Helpmeet checklist from Sandi Queen
Encouraging Interests and Gifts
Further to practical skills, we are trying to encourage interests and talents, particularly in our older children, which will be of use to them in the future. Our eldest daughter has previously enjoyed horse riding and Scottish Highland dancing for a time, but these are both pursuits which require a relatively large investment of time and money. And we don’t have room for a horse!
However, another interest she has, and in which she is very gifted, is art. In fact it was her watercolour of an island croft house which was the main image for my Homeschool Art Resources post. This has been an interest that we have been able to encourage through praise, modest spending, asking relatives for larger gifts when they ask for suggestions, such as a zipped portfolio with carrying strap, using one of her paintings as our Christmas card last year, and through art-related events that we have attended. It is an interest that she not only hugely enjoys, but may also be a future source of income, if she is so led.
To be honest, I don’t think my daughter has needed more occasions to talk or be encouraged than our son did at this age- they have both needed it- but perhaps just in slightly different ways. Of course, our son now often speaks to his dad, but I think the only difference is that our daughter likes to talk for longer!
The main thing is, I think, for me to remember to take the time to listen to my daughter, and to be willing to have conversations with her, even when I am tired or busy.
Are there any other ways in which you are encouraging your daughter who is approaching the teenage years? What has been a particular blessing to your family in this regard?
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