My girlies are growing…getting older, larger, and taller with each passing day. As they grow, the issues they face grow larger as well. The strong hugs and gentle kisses I gave to ease the hurts of toddlers no longer stop the stings that sometimes accompany the issues of the school age years. Hugs and kisses are great (and are still needed and welcomed), but these days lots of mother/daughter talk time is on our agendas as well.
After prayer and just before bed is when I talk with my daughters about their day. I visit each girl and have a private chat with her for several minutes. During a recent before bed chat, my nine year old daughter, Sweet Pea, talked to me about how she was being treated by some other girls. My heart hurt as she described some of the unkind comments and laughter directed at her.
Later that night, I prayed for my daughters and wished I could shield them from the cruelties of the world. I knew I couldn’t because God often uses hard times to grow us.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-4)
Unfortunately, mean girls exist and my daughters will encounter them. I can’t make mean girls go away, but I can help prepare my daughters for brushes with them. Today I’m sharing how I help prepare my daughters for run ins with mean girls.
I maintain an open line of communication with my daughter. I want my daughters to feel comfortable about coming to talk to me. This means I take time to listen to the little things too. If I don’t take time to listen to and discuss the small things, my daughters won’t come and talk to me about the big things that are bothering them. If I haven’t maintained good communication, my daughters might not tell me about their issues with mean girls and may end up feeling further isolated. I talk to my daughters about their friends and get to know them too.
I remind my daughter that she is valuable to our family and to God. When other girls are mean to my daughters, it can lower their self esteem. Instead of seeing themselves as God’s wonderfully made creations (Psalm 139:13-14), they may see themselves as worthless, incompetent, and unattractive. When my daughters cannot see themselves clearly, I must be their mirrors, using my words to cast an accurate reflection of the beautiful girls I know and love.
I teach my daughter to be herself and to stand up for herself. I want my daughters to be exactly who God made them to be and I want them to embrace the gifts He’s given them. I do not want them to be ashamed of who they are, so I’m constantly reminding them of how God special their gifts are and how He will use their gifts to bless themselves and others. If someone ever tries to belittle them because of who they are, I want my daughters to be able to confidently say they are beautiful daughters of God.
I explain why girls are sometimes mean and I help my daughter pray for these girls. It’s true that hurting people often hurt other people. I want my daughters to recognize that though some girls are mean just to be mean, many girls use meanness to mask hurt, anger, and insecurity. This doesn’t excuse mean behavior, but it does give mothers and daughters a starting point for prayer.
If being the recipient of mean behavior makes it hard for my daughter to pray for the one who has hurt her, I pray. First, I pray that God will soften my daughter’s heart and that she will not hold a grudge against the girl who has hurt her. Next, I pray for the other girl, asking the Lord to show her His love and to give the girl a desire to show that love to others.
I teach my daughter to recognize characteristics of true friends. It’s important for me to teach my daughters what true friendship looks like, so they’ll be able to spot counterfeit “friends”. I want my daughters to recognize that true friends will accept them as they are and that true friends love, encourage, and support one another. I can also help my daughters understand what true friendship looks like by maintaining positive and Godly relationships with my own friends.
I keep my daughter involved in a few different extracurricular activities so she’ll have friends in more than one setting. I help my daughters branch out and make friends in different areas. I can encourage my daughters to make friends in church, on their sports team and in the neighborhood. Not only does my daughter benefit from many friends, she is not left friendless if something unpleasant happens among the girls.
Mothers want to protect their daughters, but keeping our daughters inside protective bubbles isn’t healthy or possible. Instead of wasting time blowing big bubbles, we can help prepare our daughters for unpleasant situations by praying for and with them, talking to them, and spending quality time with them.
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.