Teaching Our Daughters to Respect Themselves…
Her eleven year old eyes met mine and she smiled, handing me tissues.
“I told you the movie would make you cry!” Her bell-like laughter bounced around the room, and my heart captured it.
Emotion leaked out of the corners of my eyes again. This time joy overflowed.
“Mom, I just love this weekend. It’s the best ever,” she beamed.
With men sent to the cold cabin in the woods, estrogen prevailed in our home as together, as we walked through Family Life Ministry’s “Passport to Purity.” Familiar topics discussed, CD listened to, and new commitments made, we engaged each other in dialogue that hopefully will impact her future in a positive way. She shared really personal things about herself and I did the same. We both talked about our mistakes and struggles (age-appropriately for me) and I shared with her my hopes for her future with her husband. We are closer as a result.
If you aren’t familiar with the materials – they are awesome – seriously one of the best tools out there for helping your daughter navigate the difficult waters of peers and sexual pressures. One of the reasons that I chose to homeschool my kids (and I don’t really homeschool my older ones, they do junior high and high school at PEP to prepare them for college and the world – I just manage the homework) is because I haven’t liked what I’ve seen in the culture. I personally know of several children, who in second, third, and fourth grades were exposed to oral sex encounters on the bus, pornography on the playground, and sexual bullying and abuse where they were forced to watch or participate in behaviors reserved for marriage. Some of these kids were in Christian schools, too.
While my daughter knows what some of these things are, her actual innocence has been preserved thus far for her husband. Her plan is to not date until her dad and I think she is mature enough to do so, and with the purpose of figuring out whether or not a boy is someone she would marry. She plans to not do anything but hold hands and maybe hug before she gets married. She really wants her first “real” boy kiss to be on her wedding day. All of these things were her ideas, not me shoving ideas down her throat or laying down a bunch of rules. Given that she has a number of friends her age in fifth and sixth grades with boyfriends already, I find this remarkable. She loves this about herself right now, and I pray she maintains this solid sense of who she is and Whose she is such that she doesn’t need to denigrate herself to feel appreciated or valued by others. Some of the young women I know who are high schoolers and college students share with me that men expect young women to be sexually promiscuous these days. I’m old enough to remember when those girls who “gave it away for free” were frowned upon – now the opposite is true.
The Family Life materials had a number of “what would you do?” situations, where you had to think through how you would respond. Talking through how she has stood up to her peers in the past and changed the way the crowd behaved, talking through the times when she was the only one who stood up for what was right, and how alone that felt. When she asked me if I had ever done that, I was honest. I told her about having a group of women at my home many years ago, and politely disagreeing with their insistence to watch pornography in my home after a party. They left and went to someone else’s home, and while I was a little discouraged by the event, I didn’t take it personally. I hoped I had represented the Father well, didn’t come off as judgmental, but rather confident and comfortable in my own skin and convictions. One of the women was clearly uncomfortable with the activity, too, but said nothing. They pressured her to come with when they left, and I have no idea whether or not if she did. Please know I understand the pain of making mistakes as moms – we all have our share.
I don’t mean to sound like I think I’m perfect, as I’m far from it! I will tell you that I feel blessed to have the relationships I do with my kids – they are based on mutual respect and this impacts everything. My husband and I have authority in our home, yes, but we have fabulous relationships with the teens and tweener that live here – we listen to contrasting opinions and consider them as people precious to God as we are training them for adulthood. Having said that, however, transparency, apology and honest interaction is the best way to start impacting our relationships from here forward if we need to make changes. It’s never too late to start treating our kids with respect and requiring that behavior from them towards us, too.
Today I dare you to do two things: first, do the hard work of learning how to respect yourself, wrapping your identity up in the Father’s opinion of you alone – it changes everything. He’s a real person, and He loves you. Get to know Him. Second, have transparent (but age-appropriate) conversations with your kids about your own struggles. They know you aren’t perfect and it’s prideful to pretend you don’t make mistakes. It puts walls up between you.
So glad you are on the journey!
Love to you,
So what about you? How have you seen the culture change since you were a kid? What are you doing to prepare your kids? Please share materials – we’d love to know! 🙂
Thanks Nina…I really needed to read this today. I wish I could fully understand how God views women and how he views me.
Me, too, Lisa. When I get it right, (wishing it was 100% of the time) I know how deeply He loves me. And you. And my daughter. 🙂
Love to you,
“All of these things were her ideas, not me shoving ideas down her throat or laying down a bunch of rules.”
Yeah, but you raised her right.
Reblogged this on Sherri Wilson Johnson – Sharing Jesus In My Own Unique Way.
Churches nowadays have become too forgiving. We need a little more or a lot more should I say “hellfire and brimstone” being taught. The youth think they have a get out of hell free pass. Recently I heard of a preacher’s son who was living with a girl and they had a child together. The girlfriend refused to marry the boy even though he was willing. Another scenario was a boy and girl choosing to live together. The boy wanting to marry the girl, but the girl’s parents insisting the couple live together before they got married to make sure it would work out. When we look to God for His will for our lives we put our trust in whatever comes our way we will make it with God as our guide. We don’t look for a money back guarantee when we go into a relationship. Society has made it too easy to cheapen marriage. It is a sacred vow, a commitment we make before God. How can your marriage be blessed if you start it out in defying God’s will from the start? I am not saying that God is not forgiving if we mess up. If people make bad decisions and are irresponsible, but later realize they were wrong. They can come to God for forgiveness and He will forgive them. A man and woman married is God’s will. It is in the Bible. Man may change the words however he may, it will not change the “Word or Will of God”.
Darla – We fully agree! Having a healthy respect of GOD first is key – understanding His great love in the middle of that is grace and healing. 🙂 Amen! So glad you are here! Thank you for the reminder. I hate what the culture has done to our vows, and wish we had more teaching around Who it is we are dealing with – the entirety of God, not just the “warm fuzzy side” that we like to hear about. None of that is even relevant without the wrath.
Love to you,
Good topic! And is that you and your daughter in the pic?? You look gorgeous:).
Just wanna say My husbands and I *first kiss together* was on our wedding day!! And our pastors children. .all three of them 2 girls and a boy all married as virgins!! So yes it can be done!!!:)
I LOVE THIS!!!
can I say it louder??? I WISH I COULD. 🙂
OH MY WORD HOW WONDERFUL! 🙂
I had a friend in college that couldn’t wait to get married – she was so looking forward to sex. I have another friend now who was also a virgin when she got married – and these women are the sweetest of souls, and have stellar relationships with our Lord.
Thank you for letting us know your situation! I LOVE THIS FIRST KISS business on the wedding day.
What a way to honor God! 🙂
Wish that could have been me, but He loves me anyway. 🙂 And for those of you reading this, don’t waste time feeling bad about where you are at – He loves us all! 🙂 And He knows more about us and what we’re going to do than we do! 🙂
Love to you, Amanda!
So glad you are here!
My husband and I were just talking about this – how if you look at the whole big picture of what you have to teach your kids, it’s monumental. It’s so much. You have no idea how you will get it all in or when exactly they need to have each piece. I think this is because we are having a boy so he is really starting to think of what Little Man needs to know. How I’ve approached it with our daughter is that to make it more manageable, I just do everything the best I can. I talk to her. I let her try things. We learn shapes and colors and how to add spices to pancake batter. And we talk about Jesus. This is an area I can always grow in, I know that. But I also know that if I take each day and the opportunities that come along with it, we are all going to learn a lot!
Agreed, Leah! I love those “teachable moments” that just happen! When we are spending time with Jesus daily, when He is an active Influencer in our life, His Holy Spirit will prompt us with opportunities with our kids. Keep it simple, spend time with Him and with them and together as a family – and He’ll take care of it! 🙂
Love to you,
Pressure – even in the best raised most trusted son of a lifelong friend is still just as dangerous and just as present. There is no picking the right guy. Once the hormones start rushing, EVERY GUY is the right guy.
I think we need to deal with our emotional desires that become as pressing as a mans physical desires at a certain age. We want the happily ever after – no one desires to be used up and thrown away, but we really don’t have a map for how to get there besides Disney – and it’s not exactly accurate.
Before we’ve been hit by the baggage and media brainwashing, our natural response to loving action is submission.
We need a plan to protect ourselves from elevating a man to being on the same level as God and our Parents, and putting the same degree of faith and trust in him when he is incapable of living up to those expectations. I think we can all look back on our dating years and think about the ones that weren’t and should have never been – lips and hearts lie- even unknowingly.
We need to be aware that we cannot in that moment put out a mans lust with our love of God without putting him in a situation in which he is in competition with faith for a females favors, otherwise faith becomes an enemy to man. Someone at this point is going to be the bad guy. When our faith is an obstacle to our favors, then our faith will come under harsh attacks – rejection wants someone to blame.
As parents we carry the load on this one, making sure that we don’t allow opportunities for will to over ride wisdom. We can slow down our boys, we can talk to them about pressure and why it is wrong to manipulate a girl into compromising herself, but we are only one voice and we are fighting the other voices. Peers, media, and the other guy.
We can also talk to our girls about why some girls want the wrong kind of attention. We can point out that the things feminists are doing are actually pretty misguided – the message and the media don’t match leaving us corrupting ourselves by being the media instead of the message. How does walking nude in a Slut March help rape victims? It doesn’t. Leave it by the wayside.
We can talk to them about boys are not evil, dirty or wrong for their desires, but like all children with new responsibilities they have to learn to manage them and not all families are training up their boys to manage their desires. In some households they are being taught that gratifying their desires is the only God they’ll ever feel. Teaching a boy that his manhood does not rest on his impulses but his regulation of them is a big missing link in our world of reality programming and bigger faster louder.
We can talk to them about their desire for love and a family of their own as being one that also has to mature. The culture that makes our young adults validated adults for engaging in adult behaviors demands that our children take part in these activities to become adults. The clothes do not make the man. A female having sex at 17 is no more a woman than her 11 year old virginal sister. A married 18 year old boy no more has the accumulated wisdom to work in a mans world than a single 15 year old boy.
Validating children as adults with adult privileges p[ushes them farther and faster into adult activities.
I’ve spent the last 13 years fighting to slow my boys down because my ex feels the exact OPPOSITE. He can’t get them going fast enough. He feels it is a race and he who breaks the seals first wins. Be careful. The world is full of people who think this way.
Wise words indeed, Mandi! And we are in the war against the culture, which is run by the enemy. That’s why I love our PEP – trains these young minds to be discerning, and “onto” the media (and that other guy’s) tricks. Same can be said for the creatively cultic Christian communities who portray men as dominant and women as second class. I love that my older boys, both teens, are picking what they watch on television with discernment. I pray my fool head off for the future lives of these men – the pull of the culture is strong… Praying for your young men as well – these are difficult days indeed.
Love to you,
Thanks for the repost! 🙂
I applaud you for what you’re doing! 🙂 I learned a similar life lesson from my old Pastor & his wife. By being transparent with their 2 boys & 1 girl about how it should go (and the pains they experienced by not being saved & doing right), their boys both decided they wouldn’t even date a girl until they knew they were emotionally ready for marriage. They said to date a girl before that time would be misleading and not fair to her. They came up with this rule on their own, too! 🙂 The daughter, who was the youngest, knew no man would be able to come near her till she was at least 30 anyway, with a dad & 2 big brothers, so she wasn’t even worried. 😉
Any good is all from Him – wise teaching from many others that have “been there” and “done that.” Glad you are here! 🙂 We liken it to relationships with adults – I would never hold hands or kiss another man, and my husband wouldn’t do that with another woman, either. These teens and young adults are potentially someone else’s future husband or wife, so we need to treat them with respect, instead of following the leading of the culture.
Love to you,
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