Resources for Raising Girls in Our World Today

Well. That was something else.

Clearly, we need to talk more about how to raise our daughters in this world. I’m not an authority or expert (which is why I usually just tell my story and point to good resources), but I am a conservative Christian and I am not ashamed of how we choose to raise our girls in a world that often devalues them. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me (the road is narrow, after all).

I know when it comes to modesty, there are extremes: I won’t be sewing clothes for my daughters or making them wear a swimsuit that looks like a full body unitard. There also won’t be thongs or string bikinis in their drawers. But this isn’t just about modesty or what stores sell, it’s not about sex or singleness or feminism, it’s about choices we make and boundaries we lay as parents as we raise them in a world filled with degradation and objectification.  It’s about loving our little girls and leading them by example.  It’s about going against what our culture says is okay and trying to live more like Jesus.

And I’m the first to admit, I mess this up and I get lost in knowing how to navigate this journey, but I will not give up on my daughters or myself. And I remind all of us that, regularly.

I’ve compiled some great resources (mostly, Tween to Teen, some resources for under age 8) we’ve used and some that have been recommended. This is not a comprehensive list and I’m not getting anything in exchange for listing these items, books are Amazon affiliate links. (I am listing resources I would personally use) And it goes without saying (although I’m saying it since there are a lot of new readers here), the Bible is our ultimate resource. It is my daily go-to guide):

resources

Books for Mom and Dad (Body image, modesty, sex, purity, boys):

Books/Magazines for Daughters:

Devotions to have with your Girls (Tween to Teen):

Stylish Clothing Sites with Modest Choices for teens/girls:

Events:

Positive Girl Clubs/Groups:

Music:

        • Britt Nicole
        • Francesca Battistelli
        • Jamie Grace
        • BarlowGirl
        • Mandisa

Websites for our Girls:

Other:

      • A Mighty Girl: collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls

Raising Daughters in a World That Devalues Them: 7 Things We Must Tell Them

I took my daughter shopping one night over Spring Break. It’s flip flop and shorts weather down here in Texas about 10 months out of the year, not to mention my girl gets taller every minute. She passed me up months ago.

Shopping with my teenager should be fun. And mostly it is, except for the actual clothes-shopping-part. It’s so hard to find modest clothes. My teen doesn’t even ask for the shorty shorts any more, even though it’s challenging to find anything but in the stores.

“Why do they do it, Mom? Why do so many stores sell such immodest clothes for girls?” She was frustrated. It was a question I didn’t know how to answer. I think about how girls are viewed in this world and in return, how they view themselves. How do I tell my 13 year old daughter that sex sells? But I do tell her. She’s a smart girl and notices that some stores sell padded bikini bathing suit tops to 8 year olds.

It’s time for moms to be offended and stand up to giant stores like Victoria’s Secret and the way they sell sex to our daughters. Their new tween brand is called, “Bright Young Things,” and includes lace black cheeksters with the word “Wild” emblazoned on it, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with “Feeling Lucky?” and a lace trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front. Source.

“Our country is replete with an unprecedented number of young girls suffering from eating disorders and body mutilation, while pushing the limits of sexual promiscuity. Is this racy underwear modeled by unrealistically thin girls really the best that we have to offer our girls? In this age when female sex trafficking is becoming a wide-spread crisis, reaching into the depths of our inner cities, is it really responsible for Victoria’s Secret to entice our impressionable young girls with this “come hither” message?

Underwear that reads, “Call me” does nothing but cheapen a girl’s self-esteem while exacerbating the objectification of her God-given femininity. Our children are being objectified by retailers who see them as nothing more than a path to increased profits.”-Amy Gerwing

seven-600x480

We live in a world that hates girls.

Too harsh? I don’t think so. Globally, did you know that more than 200 million girls in our world have been aborted or abandoned in what is being called a “gendercide?” Many who survive, face neglect, violence and most likely sex trafficking. We might feel detached from this epidemic on this side of the world, but we aren’t. The Super Bowl is the biggest day for sex trafficking in the world and most major cities including the one closest to me, is a hub for young girls to be sold into sex slavery.

Coupled with the pornography industry, when you consider every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing nude images of somebody’s daughter, it’s more than disturbing.  Source

Yesterday I read about a young girl who was raped. She was just six years old. I’ve heard of horror stories like these thru our work at Mercy House, but this wasn’t in distant Africa. It was in our county, 20-something miles away. I have an innocent six year old and I am sickened by the crime against this child.

And as if all that isn’t enough to turn a momma gray, the surge of aggressive girls taking the initiative with guys at a very young age, trying to lure them into sexual activity has increased dramatically :

What in the world is happening?

What is going on in the hearts of some young girls that causes them to be so assertive?  I think there are several reasons for what we are seeing: (from Family Life)

First, the culture is supporting it.  Movies, television shows, commercials, magazines, books …  they all glamorize sex and intimacy and the right of young women to go after whatever it is they think will make them happy.

Second, we have a whole generation of young men who are confused in their own sexual identity. Are they supposed to be sensitive or aggressive? Leaders or helpers?  Many young men today are not being taught how to treat a young lady with nobility, dignity, and respect. Many are growing up without a father or male figure to provide guidance.  As a result, some of these young men have no idea how they should expect to be treated by a real young lady.

Third, the breakdown of the family has resulted in a whole generation of daughters who have been abandoned. And in the absence of a healthy, emotional attachment to their fathers and mothers, they’re trying to fill their emotional gas tanks with the opposite sex.

Finally, there’s little or no preparation for adolescence occurring among parents of preteens or early teens.  This may be the core problem.  When you ask parents of preteens how many of them would like their children to have the same experience they had in adolescence, there aren’t many hands that go up.  But those same parents often become increasingly detached as their children move into the adolescent years.

Seven Things We Must Tell Our Daughters:

  1. You are Valuable:: She needs to know she is important and so valued that you will protect her with rules and boundaries because you love her. There is safety and comfort within those restrictions, even when she pushes against them.
  2. Your Worth Isn’t Based on Your Appearance:: She needs to be told she is beautiful–not because she’s wearing a sassy outfit or new lipgloss–her worth is not found in her appearance, the opinions of others or herself. She is beautiful because she was created in the image of God. Her appearance has little to do with true beauty and her worth isn’t wrapped up in looking good or being perfect.
  3. You Don’t Need a Guy:: She needs to hear starting at a young age (but it’s never too late to start telling her). She needs to be told a boy doesn’t complete her, God does. Chasing or enticing or wanting a guy doesn’t make her attractive and it doesn’t make her a woman. The only guy she needs in her life for a long time is her Dad or a father figure until God brings her a husband if that’s His plan.
  4. You Are Amazing:: Our daughters need to hear we are proud of them. She is enough. Tell her out of all the girls in the world, you’d always choose her. Sadly, she will be tempted to spend a lot of time in life trying to prove her value to others. Create an atmosphere where she is loved, just like she is.
  5. You Don’t Have to Believe What You Hear:: She needs to hear your affirming voice in her head. Because there will be mean girls in her life, peers with pressure and adults in her world who will let her down and have low expectations of her. She needs to hear the opposite at home, your voice will lead her to Him and she’ll know who to listen to.
  6. You Have Me:: No matter what happens in life, the ups and downs that will come her way, the losses and gains, our daughters must know we are there for them. She needs to know she can talk to you about anything. Anytime. More importantly, we can show her Jesus.
  7. You Can Change the World:: She needs to know she can dream big and can accomplish whatever she wishes. She can do so with God by her side and she doesn’t need a boy or society to make it happen. She can be anything she want to be with your help. Stand by her, with her and watch her fly.

I’m raising two daughters in this world and my heart cries for Jesus to rescue us all. But until He does, I can’t always protect or shield them, so I will tell them the truth. I can’t change (all this) in the world, but I can prepare them for it.

“Our daughters are precious, intrinsically valuable and deserve better — they deserve to be cherished and protected.” -Amy Gerwing

*Update: Thanks so much for your thoughts on this post. I’m closing comments as personal attacks begin to take priority. Here’s a follow up post with some recommended resources.


WFMW: Google Reader Alternative

wfmw-300x198

I don’t like change. Not a bit. I also don’t like to upgrade or fix things that aren’t broken. Makes being a blogger tricky with all the technology and whatnot.

Anyway, The Google has decided to shut down its Reader and that’s a bummer since I use it every single day. You might too. So, I thought Feedly was a good alternative (and easy since I just put in my Google account info) and it pulled up my list of blogs and sites I already subscribe too. This little post explains more about how Feedly works. I really like how it’s more visual than Google Reader.

If you subscribe to my blog via a RSS subscriber, you’ll want to try it too. Or you can have posts delivered painlessly right into your inbox by submitting your email at the end of this post. PLUS, every month I will be giving away a lovely item from The Vintage Pearl to a random subscriber. I’m nice like that.

So, while change doesn’t work for me, new things do.

*Completely random side note: The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
(best Bible ever) is only $1.99 for Kindle at Amazon. Perfect for family reading, especially these weeks before Easter!




DIY Easter {String Art} Cross

easter

During (our long and sickly) Spring Break, we perked up to do a special (and easy) DIY project that we will stay out long after our Easter baskets are put away.

Easter {String Art} Cross Plaque

Supplies:

  • Piece of unfinished wood (Hobby Lobby $2.50)
  • Paint
  • Embroidery string
  • Small panel nails
  • Hammer

We painted our wood first:
photo

After the paint dried, we tapped 12 nails in the shape of a cross into the wood. We did two at the top, four in the middle, two on either sides and two at the bottom.

[Kitty can't resist The String]

photo copy 2

And we just started wrapping it around the nails going with the shape of the cross. It works best to loop the string around the nails multiples times to get it started. Keep string taunt and wrap away!

Image

This was a super easy project for my kids and they really got into it.

photo

And a simple reminder that He is Risen!

IMG_6520

*Pallet Family Mission Statement


Murphy’s Law of Parenting

When everything that could go wrong, does.

It’s Murphy’s Law. And when you apply that to parenting, well, it’s epic. And usually quite true in our house. So, I mentioned a few laws for parenting on my blog Facebook page the other day.

If you wear white, your child will play in mud.
If you declare the family virus over, the dog will puke.
If you mop the floor, a juice box will explode.
If it’s clean sheet day, the bed wetter will strike again.
If you desperately need a nap, they won’t.
If you catch up on laundry, wait, that will never happen.

And as usual, my friends over there had responses that made my day.

So, on this Monday, I thought I’d share some of my favorites. I hope it makes your day, too.

If you change a diaper, your baby will poop. – Sarah Rodrigues 

If the kids are away for the night, you can’t sleep. -Heather Duggins

If you cook their favorite meal, they won’t eat it. -Sara Sorenson

If you vacuum the car, a bag of cereal will magically appear out of no where and EXPLODE in your back seat. -Kayla Kingsley

If you need to go somewhere, the gas tank will be empty. -Jennifer Vermeire

If they’re playing quietly and the phone rings, they’ll need you right NOW.

If you donate a forgotten toy, they’ll remember it and beg to have it back  -Elizabeth Smillie

If your kids decided to play together instead of fight, one or both with get hurt and the crying starts anyway. -Heather Ingrum

If you only pack one diaper, they will poop twice. -Kimberly Daley

If no one’s been in sight for 15 minutes and you decide to go to the bathroom, you will immediately be swarmed with company. -Hellen Potts

If you look good, NO one sees you. If you stay in your pjs-no make up- haven’t showered-smell like baby puke, EVERYONE stops by to see you! -Sarah Rock

If you finally have a child sleep through the night, you will inevitably find that you, in fact, are sleep trained so that you wake up at the times when your toddler typically does. -Sarah Klawikowski

If you clean the bathroom one or more of your boys when then pee all over the seat and the floor. -Brook Wright

If you are about to get intimate with your spouse, they will start screaming bloody murder in their sleep. -Michelle Anderson

If buy a favorite snack in bulk… Suddenly no one likes it anymore. -Joni Thompson

If you get out of the car , with your arms , elbows , fingers and pinkies loaded with stuff, a child will drop something and refuse to pick it up the 5 feet from the car to the house . ( And stand their and cry over their one thing they dropped). -Alex Jackson

Finally get the carpets cleaned. (not the cheap cleaning either – the GOOD one) Someone will throw up immediately after. Red punch. -Julie Crockett

If you plan to get up before the kids, they will get up earlier. -Amy Corley

You’re welcome.

Do you have one to add in the comments? C’mon it’s fun. It will make you feel better.