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Six Ways to Keep the Little in your Girl… Giveaway!

Parenting is hard.

Parenting a girl tween is bordering impossible.

haylee train

I think I have been afraid of parenting a teen since I was a teen myself. I remember seeing friends or others that went down a wrong path and wondering what was it that made that happen. They seemed to have normal caring parents and a normal home. What is it that makes some teenagers go off the deep end? Turn their backs on everything they have been taught?

I don’t have the answer. Sorry to disappoint you if you were thinking I have made some great discovery. I still don’t know.

Haylee is going into 5th grade this year which means lockers, and switching classes, and mean girls.

haylee minnie mouse

Oh well, the mean girls part isn’t new, but I’m sure it is worse.

For like forever, my pet peeve has been not nice people. From the child to the adult. I just don’t get why some people just can’t be nice.

Girls are usually the most prevalent in the “not nice” category. Girls Haylee’s age and girls my age. Their cutting words are often veiled behind a patting hand or a fake smile, but they hurt just the same. Worse maybe.

I feel like we are on the cusp of all the teen craziness starting. Somehow it seems like THIS is the year where she begins to morph into that unrecognizable thing known as a tween/teen.

I recently read an amazing book on guiding your daughter from her tweens to her teens, and let me say that it really hit home with me.

Lots of things stuck out that I knew needed to change.

It’s called Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl  by Dannah Gresh, and it’s a  must read.

six ways to keep the little in your girl

Picture me wide eyed and dramatic.


What I didn’t realize was how critical of a time the tween years are… from 8-12 years old. It’s easy to get complacent and think that we have time before the dreadful teenage years hit. We have time to make sure they have an idea of the right kind of values and morals to handle what life in today’s culture will throw at them from every side. Even in the type of what I would call sheltered environment our daughter is in.

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According to various research  the years from 8-12 is when children are asking why. They are searching for answers to why things are the way they are. They will find the answers somewhere, whether it’s from you or not. Our impact on our children is greatly lessoned if we try to give them the answers AFTER they have stopped asking the questions… since they have already found their OWN answers–accurate or not.

Here’s what Gresh says…

“Introducing critical subjects {to your daughter} after the age of 12 is like kayaking upstream! Your daughter’s belief system is already formed, and introducing values in her teens–when she’s no longer asking why–is difficult! So the question for you now–in her tweens–is not ‘Should I talk to her about…stuff that scares me silly?’ The question is ‘How do I talk to her about stuff that scares me silly w/o robbing her of her innocence?'”

Gresh also says that the brain goes through a crazy growth spurt right before puberty similar to the amount of growth in the first year of life. Our tweens need us there with them to guide them as their brain is growing, hormones are changing, and they are making their decisions on values, morals, God, and life.

haylee willy wonka

Another busted myth? Quality time vs Quantity time. It’s a lie we try to make OURSELVES believe since we are SO stinking busy and want to feel better about the lack of time we are investing with our kids.

This isn’t new information, but it’s something I needed to hear. In order to guide our crazy tween through all of these value choices, we have to be PRESENT when the situations arise so that we CAN answer the question and give our input.

Obviously, we can’t be there all the time, and hello, I’m a teacher, so you know much of my time is spent either actually working in my classroom during the day or at home working on school related stuff.

The point is when we CAN be there… to really BE THERE.

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According to Gresh, research after research points to one key factor in determining if a kid is going to go “off the deep end.”

Wanna guess what it is?

She calls it… Parental Connectedness or Intentional Togetherness.

Kids who grow up spending intentional time with their parents on a regular basis forming family traditions and rituals are less likely to go down that scary wrong path.

It’s not rocket science, but why is it SO hard to implement?

Things like eating dinner at the table with NO tv. Playing board games together or riding bikes together. Tucking into bed rituals… singing and praying together.

For me, I think it comes down to my selfishness, fatigue, and overall busy-ness.

I put too much on my plate and then stew about not getting it all done and done well.

haylee easter

I loved these four ways to Listen so She’ll Talk…

1. Give her undivided attention… don’t multitask while she’s talking about something important. Look her in the eyes and focus. {I am so bad about this. I have tried though, to stop what I’m doing and LOOK at Haylee even while she’s telling the longest recounting known to man.}

2. Ask her opinion… see her confidence rise when you ask her what she thinks you should do in a given situation.

3. Allow her time to express her feelings… don’t interrupt her when she gets emotional.

4. Always answer questions with questions. Our tweens will often come to the same conclusion we would if they are given the chance to be guided through the thinking process with questions, and they will be more receptive to the answers when they’ve come to the conclusion themselves as opposed to mom just flat out saying, “No, you can’t do xyz because it’s not a good idea.”

Another thing that I had to gulp through and decide to make some changes?

What our girls are watching is affecting them. It is.

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If my 10 year old is spending too much time watching “kids” shows where a predominant theme is Boy/Girl relationships than she is losing her ability to stay little.

Too much Boy/Girl in their media pretty much HAS to lead to early onset of the boy crazy madness.


What we watch on the screen {tv, movies, ipods, computers} affects us. It affects us as discerning, been around the block adults.

It REALLY affects our tweens who do not have the ability as we do to discern between reality and fiction. As children, they do not have the capability to watch show after show watching girls like them who always look flawless and have everything work out for them and realize that it’s not real.

new ipod

They don’t realize that the lead character looks flawless because she spends an hour or more in hair and makeup and has studios providing a limitless wardrobe.

It doesn’t take a genius to see how comparing their bodies with those flawless ones could lead to some of the many body image problems or worse, disorders.

After reading this book, I am going to be more purposeful about finding times to remind Haylee that she is fearfully and wonderfully made… in the image of God.

This also means that I need to model this correct thinking as well… not letting her hear ME berating my own body or skin or whatever.

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Parenting a tween girl isn’t for the faint of heart, but here are my biggest takeaways…

1) Be present.

2) Listen.

3) Model the behavior I want her to develop.

4) Limit exposure to the current hyper-sexualized culture.


There were SO many other lessons in this book. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is an ESSENTIAL book to read if you are a mom of a tween girl.  Remember to picture me with scary intense eyes!

Do you want a chance to win a copy of this great book?

After reading it {I bought my own copy at Amazon}, I emailed Harvest House, and they agreed to donate a copy to one of you!

Follow the directions below to enter! Giveaway ends next Tuesday, July 16th at midnight! Be sure to follow the instructions, as entries not following the guidelines will unfortunately be disqualified. Whomp-whomp. :(

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Even if you don’t win… you need to read this book! Did I say that already?? :)

Linking up at   Weekend Bloggy Link up


21 Responses to Six Ways to Keep the Little in your Girl… Giveaway!
  1. Lori Ha
    July 10, 2013 | 9:54 am

    Hi, I follow your blog via email (listed below). This
    Sounds like an informative book for my own Tweens and my nieces as well.
    Thanks :-)


  2. Tisha
    July 10, 2013 | 10:00 am

    Wow. Great post. Hope to win the copy, but if not, I will DEFINITELY be buying this book. Thanks for sharing. My baby is 9 and yep, I’m scared witless! Haha. :)

  3. Leah
    July 10, 2013 | 11:43 am

    I’m def. going to buy this book if I don’t win it! Sounds fabulous!

  4. Tracy
    July 10, 2013 | 1:04 pm

    Wow this sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for sharing information about it!

  5. Kelly at Littlest Sweet pea
    July 10, 2013 | 7:24 pm

    This is an excellent article. Our oldest daughter is 11 and I feel lost at times. We’ve had talks and I know it was hard for both of us but I’m afraid that I may have initiated some of the talks a little late! Some of her “friends” (she doesn’t talk to them anymore!) showed her images on their ipods that were adult content. We talked about it, but little girls shouldn’t be in that situation. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m running right out to get a copy of this book. Now to find one for our son!

  6. Laine
    July 11, 2013 | 5:44 am

    I’m definitely buying this book if I don’t win. Sounds like one I really need! Lydia’s going to be 10 in September and it’s scaring me to death. So much of what you talked about struck home with me and I know there’s some things I need to implement now. Thanks for sharing, this was such a great post!

  7. Brenda A.
    July 11, 2013 | 11:26 am

    I didn’t think I would have to worry about this for a while! Wow time flies!

  8. Cathy L
    July 11, 2013 | 4:36 pm

    I have a 9 year old. I need to check out this book. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Crystal
    July 11, 2013 | 11:52 pm

    Wow! My baby is only four, but I can’t wait to read this book! I feel like she will be a teenager before I blink!!! :( And yes, I find myself always questioning why some kids go down the wrong paths…when they have all the right supports in place to help them make the right choices.

    Thanks for sharing this book and forcing me to think about the future!!!

  10. Karina
    July 12, 2013 | 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the chance to win this book. I have 3 daughters. My heart’s desire is to protect their innocence & raise them to live to their full potential as they love & serve God. God bless you!

  11. Aunt Linda
    July 14, 2013 | 5:58 pm

    Renee, you are an excellent model for Haylee to follow. She is blessed to have a wonderful, caring Mother.

  12. Christa @ BrownSugarToast
    July 16, 2013 | 1:32 pm

    Would love to win this!!

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