In the almost fourteen years I have been raising children, five of them have been girls. Currently, we have five girls ages 3 to almost 14 under our roof, along with our ten-year-old son. The minute my first daughter was placed in my arms, life changed at that moment.
People joke that she is a mini-me, but in all reality, she is her own person. She was known to God before she was born to me. Delicately and intricately, she was woven together in my womb by the Maker’s hands. He made no mistake when she was created, personality and all.
Shortly after the birth of our first daughter, we were joined by our second daughter. The two are as different as night and day. From the beginning, my first daughter did not sleep and constantly demanded my attention as a newborn. She wanted to be held all the time. While my second daughter slept all of the time, did not care if she was held or not, and was not demanding as a newborn.
Within a few more years, we were joined by daughter’s 3, 4, and 5. By the time I had my second, it was no secret that my daughters each had different personalities, needs, and unique ways. The easy part of parenting was figuring out how different they each were. The most difficult were the lessons that I have learned along the way. These lessons have provided the background for me to give advice to other mothers on raising their daughters.
Lessons for Raising Girls
1) Details Matter:
Where boys are more focused on fixing something and often struggle with the ability to multi-task, girls focus on details. Details are extremely important to girls.
If you ask a boy how was his day at school, you are likely to get a grunt or “good” as a reply. If you ask a girl, prepare to sit down for 15-20 minutes and hear about her day. You will hear it all, every.single.detail.
However, it is so important that she is heard. Let her speak, even if you don’t care what she is talking about. Make a concentrated effort to hear about her day. When you give her the time and are focusing on her, she feels important and cherished. She will trust you and continue to open up to you.
2) Feelings are Important:
When your daughter is talking to you, be careful not to fall into those communication pitfalls that parents do so often. Don’t be a fixer — be an effective listener. Even if you disagree if what she is saying, don’t correct her or try to change her mind; just let her talk first.
Give her your full attention. Put down the phone. Turn off the television. Look her straight in the eyes. Reflect her emotions, don’t mock them. Restate what you have heard the say. Have positive and attentive body language.
If a topic comes up in conversation that appears to be a problem for your daughter, ask her if she is just venting or if she seeking advice. Often she just wants to talk and doesn’t need a superhero to swoop in and solve her problems.
3) They Need their Daddy:
The most important lesson that I learned is that a girl needs her daddy. Even though I have been a homemaker and with our children the most, my daughters have benefitted the most because of their relationship with their father. A father is very important to a daughter for so many reasons. A girl needs her father’s love.
Fathers inevitably change the course of their daughters’ lives, in so many ways.
According to Dr. Suzanne Le Menestrel, “Higher levels of father involvement in activities with their children, such as eating meals together, going on outings, and helping with homework, are associated with fewer behaviour problems, higher levels of sociability, and a higher level of school performance among children and adolescents,” as stated in the Child Trends Research Brief “What Do Fathers Contribute to Children’s Well-Being.
Here are a few reasons girls do better with a father:
- Academically girls do better with an involved father.
- Girls have a better self-image because of an involved father and are less likely to experiment with premarital sex, seek male attention, or seek out dangerous social habits.
- A father is a positive role model for whom a girl can compare the qualities she is seeking in a future husband.
- A daughter that has a loving, caring, and protective dad is more likely to be close to her heavenly Father.
4) They Don’t Need a Boyfriend
Society tends to push girls to look good for boys or men, even in kindergarten girls try to look their best for a cute boy.
Middle school girls focus so much time on hair, clothing, and makeup in hopes of looking cute and appealing to a boy. This behavior is scary and unfortunately appears to be the norm. It seems to be expected that girls have boyfriends, even as young as seven years old.
Here are our reasons why girls don’t need boyfriends:
- Time to focus on their own unique gifts and talents
- Strengthen their faith walk with the Lord
- Abstaining from anything impure, thus promoting purity
- Not setting them in a situation where hormones could take over
- It’s okay to have fun without a boyfriend
- Grow into the wonderful daughters of God they are supposed to be
5) Don’t focus so much on outward beauty, as on their hearts
My daughters are very beautiful and they know it, but we have taught them that there is more to life than their looks. According to Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.”
Of course, it is important that our daughters take care of their bodies through healthy habits such as exercising and eating properly. But to place such an importance on having to look the best all the time by being on point with makeup, clothing, and hair; is teaching them that their outward appearance is most important.
As parents, our biggest prayer for all of our children is to have a close personal relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ. And in today’s society, there is so much pressure put on little girls, preteens, and teens that it is nearly impossible for them to stay little.
We are doing the best we can to instill the secrets of true beauty and modesty in their hearts, as they save themselves for one man. A girl can be beautiful without wearing tight-fitting clothing, tons of makeup, and having a boyfriend.
A genuine smile and a pure heart are much more beautiful than society’s definition of the ‘perfect girl’ and we are hoping to raise our daughters with these morals.
Our daughters can be a role model for women of all ages, despite their young ages, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers, in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. — 1 Timothy 4:12.
Raising five daughters has been a roller coaster of memories, adventure, and drama for our family. Every day we learn more, love more, and are grateful for our daughters.
I was not prepared for how much I would learn as a mom until I became one. Just when I think I have mastered one phase, we’re onto the next phase.
Ever-changing and always moving, our children are the biggest blessings we have received. And at times the most frustrating blessings we have received. Yet we remain so thankful for being allowed to become their parents.
Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home
Here are a few resources that you may enjoy on raising daughters
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers, in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. — 1 Timothy 4:12
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