My husband called me the other day expressing his desire to take our soon-to-be twelve-year-old daughter out to dinner. He is equally as frustrated at times with her current behavior, but it’s a different dynamic for mothers and daughters (if you are a mother of a daughter, you get it). I listened and nodded my head, and I pushed back the emotions caught in my throat. She’s entering some of the most important years of her life. I don’t want the reason she rebels to be because we didn’t do enough. Those words hit me hard. Sure, there are times when children manipulate and try to divide us as parents, but our love for our children should never be compromised or lacking. We needed to express our love for our daughter more. Verbally and physically. One-on-one attention was needed. The more we actively invest in loving and spending time with our children, the easier it will be to like them during this stage of life. The preteen age is full of unpredictable emotions. Our children will try to pull us into their emotional instability; as parents, we need to be a calm and steady front for them (easier said than done, I know).
Middle school is a tricky time full of finding out who we are and who the world around us thinks we are. There are a bazillion changes happening within and without. Nothing seems to be normal or feel constant. They are fighting against wanting to grow up, yet still very much a child.
Here are six important things to tell your daughter before middle school:
HOME WILL ALWAYS BE A SAFE PLACE
Even though you may get mad at us, the home will always be a safe place. A safe place to unwind, relax, express emotions, and come to us with any question or concern. Home should always be the number one place for you to feel safe and have fun. Let’s make time to laugh and smile together! If they feel unloved, judged, angry, bitter, or resentful, they are more likely to not feel safe and rebel.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND LOVED
You are beautiful inside and out! You are loved! Your body is changing at a rapid pace that you can’t seem to keep up with. How you look on the outside will always be changing, but who you are on the inside is most important. Inner beauty is what will last. It’s okay to not feel okay sometimes. It’s normal to feel like there is an alien inside of you! We need to verbalize why we love them and believe in them no matter how they act.
MIDDLE SCHOOL IS NOT REAL LIFE
It is so important to have real conversations offline (social media used inappropriately can ruin relationships). Quick texts and messages can hurt people. Cool off and resist the urge to be impulsive. Popularity is fleeting. Most things that make a person popular are dominating others and not being kind. Thrive on your differences and seek out those who need a friend. Be a friend to the friendless. Clothes, accessories, and things won’t last. Material possessions break and fade. Things don’t define us! Contentment brings true happiness and joy! This book just came in the mail, and my daughter was instantly drawn to the name and cover! Immediately she said, I’m going to read this with my morning devotions!
Liked, by Kari Kampakis, encourages girls to apply God’s timeless truths in the digital age. She covers topics like social media, friendship, identity, and faith. Key questions at the end of each chapter help girls think through questions like,
- Who am I?
- What is my purpose?
- How can I change the world and make an eternal difference?
- How can I love myself when I feel unlovable?
Chapter titles like Identity, confidence, kindness, character, humility, and more!
CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY
Some questions to ask yourself when choosing a friend: Is this person the type of person I hope to become? Do I respect them, and do they respect others? Do they drag me down or lift me up? Just because a person is in your class, does not mean you need to hang out with them or be best friends. You can be kind to others without taking on their garbage and drama. Always be kind and remember, the mean kids need love too (maybe an extra dose of it). Be part of the solution, not the problem. What others tell you and what you listen to will influence what you start believing. Girls can be nasty, jealous, cruel, and mean! Don’t be one of those girls. When you find a friend that’s loyal and trustworthy, hold onto that friendship and cherish it.
LEARN TO SAY “NO, THANK YOU”
Say, “No, thank you” to drama, bad choices, and wrong behavior. Just because another person is acting a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to participate in that action or behavior. Others may do things that we don’t allow in our house, and it’s more than okay to say, “no thank you.” We are bombarded with choices every day. We need to listen to that still, small voice within us and choose to make the right choice. Just the other day, I checked out a book from the library recommended by a person online. Not even halfway through the book, I realized the content and language was not making me feel comfortable. I closed the book and returned it to the library that day. Does that make me a special person? No. I’ve certainly made my fair share of poor mistakes and choices. But learning to say no thank you is an important trait to practice. The more we do it, the easier it will get!
KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
God created you to be someone unique and amazing for His glory. What gives you His peace in your heart? I’m guessing it’s doing the right thing and making the right choices. Always remember that God has a plan and a purpose for your life. He desires to use you and the gifts He’s given you to shine for Him. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.