Friday, September 30, 2011

Raising Girls

Here are my notes from the Raising Girls breakout session at DotMom - lead by Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Goff. I will blog more about the conference later, but wanted to get these notes out asap. What a LIFE-CHANGING session.

I highly encourage you to also buy the book, All You Need To Know About Raising Girls by Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Goff. The notes from the session are basically a cliff notes of the book. The book is much more in-depth and specific than the notes are. But I was writing as frantically as possible in the hour long session. I could have sat there for 10 hours. GOOD STUFF.


Raising Girls

The Discovery Years - Girls 0-5 Years
  • She is…
    • Relational
    • Caretaking
      • Baby dolls, mothering instinct
    • Imaginative
  • She needs from me…
    • Boundaries
      • These makes her feel safe
    • Freedom
      • Show her that you trust her by giving her some distance from you – like in a Chick-fil-A playground – but always stay near as she will constantly look for you and needs to be able to see you at a moment’s notice
    • Delight
      • She wants you to think she’s FANTASTIC
      • When she walks in the room, she is WORTHY of my attention.

The Adventurous Years – Girls 6-10 years
  • She is…
    • Fearful
      • Literal, concrete in their thinking
        • Teach her that God is BIGGER than her fears
        • Do not be grey – speak in black/white language only. (i.e. don’t shine a light under the bed to scare away the monsters. Teach her that there is no such thing as monsters. And then teach her that God will always take care of her)
    • Relational
      • Friendships are IMPORTANT
    • Responsive
      • Point this out to her when you catch her caring for a friend, being sweet to a sibling, etc. She needs to know that you notice.
  • She needs from me…
    • Opportunity
      • They need something they can feel confident in (soccer, softball, art, piano, choir, chess…)
    • Unity
      • Especially between mom & dad
    • Grace
      • Teach her how to succeed AND fail.

The Narcissistic Years – Girls 11-15, 16, or 17 Years
  • She is…
    • Relational
      • She needs friends.
      • They are a POWERFUL force in her life. Help her choose them wisely and steer her away from bad influences. We still control where they go and who they hang out with outside of school.
    • Insecure
      • When guys fail, they blame others. When girls fail, they blame themselves.
    • Ambivalent
      • Her lack of decision-making skills is NORMAL.
      • She will switch from loving you & hating you in a matter of seconds.
        • As grown up girls, we will blame ourselves for this behavior. This is NOT our fault. Her brain is malfunctioning, and is a normal part of growing up. Love her through it – she will realize that she can count on you even when she isn’t nice to you.
  • She needs from me…
    • Space
      • PRIVACY
      • She’s working very hard to make and keep friends.           
      • She needs time to decompress
        • Allow her an hour or so in her room alone after school.
        • Then require her to come out and be social with the family.
        • It is not good for her to never have privacy. It is also not good for her to not be required to emerge and be social.
    • Strength
      • She needs me to be stronger & more powerful than she is.
        • If she feels stronger than me, she will feel unsafe.
      • She needs me to be her mother. NOT her friend.
        • We want her to be excited about the day when we can be friends (not till after age 23ish)
    • The Back Door – Sissy wrote a book about this. The Back Door To Your Teen’s Heart: Learning What They Need And Helping Them Find It  - Can find it on
      • I need to be unpredictable in the way I communicate with her. If she thinks I’m looking for info from her, she will shut down. (i.e. have a friend pick up siblings from school one day. Take her, alone, to “run a few fun errands.” Stop by Starbucks (which she will think is cool) & just chitchat. She will tell you so much during this time because she won’t feel like she is required to.)

The Autonomous Years – Girls 16-24 Years
§       She is…
o      Relational
§       She will gravitate to 1 friend – often a guy. She wants to belong to somebody.
§       This is where some girls experiment with homosexuality. When they gravitate to a GIRL, who shows a special interest in them – some of them mistake this for love.
§       SHE NEEDS STRONG VOICES SPEAKING TRUTH INTO HER LIFE. This needs to be another adult. Not you. Youth groups / small groups are KEY here. She will listen to what she hears. We need to make sure the right people are talking. It’s key that when they are children we steer them toward friends who have parents who raise their children like we do.
o      Post-pubescent
§       Her body will be curvier
§       EMBRACE THAT. No girl has ever heard her mom say, “You need to lose weight” and has thought, “she’s right. I’ll get right on that.” This is where a lot of eating disorders start – when their mother tells them constantly that their body is wrong or should be changed.
o      Her own person
§       She needs from me…
o      Respect
o      Room to learn
§       Give her a few more privileges. We want them to make mistakes while they are under our roof where we can protect them, instead of sheltering them and then sending them off to college where we can’t protect them when (not if) they make mistakes.
o      Wings
§       Be CONFIDENT in her.


Marc and Charity said...

Hi there, I follow you on twitter (cverlander) and I loved this post! I have 3 little girls too and we live overseas, so I'm thinking I need to order this book! Thanks!!

Melanie said...

I have to get this book!! Thanks!! Mom to mom of 3 girls! :)

The Iowa Farmer's Wife said...

This is GOOD stuff. Thank you for sharing!