Novelist and Children's Author

5 Ways to Help Our Tween Girls Keep the Faith

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Faith, Family | 7 comments

Are you a mom or a grandma of a 8-12 year old girl?

I have two teenaged daughters, but I remember when my girls were in third through seventh grade. Big life changes happen as they discover who they are and where they fit—into their family, with friends, boys . . . and everything in between. No wonder they call it the ‘tween’ years.

Me:Girls

How do we help our girls keep their faith a priority?

Enjoy God’s creation. Take a hike in the mountains, along the beach, or around your neighborhood. Point out beautiful trees, the waves crashing against the shore, or pretty flowers. Remind your girl how God created them all.

Go to church. Statistics are high for kids to leave the church in their later teen years. By attending weekly services, it shows your girl the importance of going to God’s house to learn more about Him, to worship through song, and to fellowship with other believers. People come up to me and comment about how they like to see my whole family sitting together on Sundays. Frankly, I don’t give my kids an option. If they live under my roof, they come to church. It’s an expectation. I’m thankful my kids don’t complain and come willingly.

Make your home a safe place to bring friends. As your girl gets older, mom/daughter play dates at the park will dwindle. Instead, she’ll want to hang out with her friends by herself. Unless you know the families well, it’s difficult to let your girl out of your sight—especially if you don’t know what they believe. It’s a cruel world out there. By making your home a comfortable and safe haven, your girl and her friends will want to hang out at your place.

Eat dinner together. School, sports, work, laundry, grocery shopping, etc., our lives are busy and it’s hard to make sure everything gets done. One thing you shouldn’t skip is family meals. During dinner I like to ask my kids, “What is the worst thing and the best thing that happened today?” It’s fun to hear their answers and I learn a lot about their lives. I grew up with devotions after dinner, usually read by my dad. I can’t say we do this every evening, but we strive for at least three nights a week.

Be open and honest. Life is hard. Parents have a lot of responsibilities. Things don’t always turn out the way we hope. Don’t be afraid to be real with your girl. She knows when you’re upset. Share what’s going on in an age-appropriate way, and tell her how you’re trusting God to take care of the details. She’ll learn that when life gets tough, she can rely on God to bear her burdens.

How do you help your tween girl keep the faith?

7 Comments

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  1. Daniel Roberts

    As a previous Camp Director and current Retreat Director for a Christian summer camp I loved stumbling upon this post. As parents and grandparents of our daughters (and sons) we need to remember the Lord is ultimately in control and we have to be faithful stewards of our children. Like Mary Giles said, Christian summer camps are wonderful encounter for kids and teenagers where they are surrounded by counselors and staff who love God and want to help them develop their faith. If you are interested in learning about our camps, feel free to visit our website http://www.shepherdsfoldranch.com. God bless you as you “train up a child in the way he will go”.

    • Sherry Kyle

      Hi Daniel!
      Thank you for coming to my blog and commenting. Children are so blessed to have a Retreat Director, such as yourself. My kids have been going to summer camps for years. Thank you for giving us the link to your summer camp. Looks like a lot of fun!

  2. Laura Bennet

    Great suggestions, Sherry! I’ve done these things with my grown girls and with my 12 year old. I really believe they make a huge difference. I especially think that making our home a good hang out place was instrumental in transitioning the older kids through the teen years. Believe it or not, I ask my kids the same question about the best and worst of the day. My ten year old is on to me though…his daily answer? School was worst. PE was best. Of course.

    • Sherry Kyle

      That’s funny, Laura. It doesn’t take much for our kids to figure us out. We’ll have to make sure we’re creative. Having my house be a hangout place has gotten easier now that we have more elbow room. Last Monday night we had the Young Life group here. Lots of talking, laughing, and singing. Music to a mom’s ear.

  3. Karen O'Connor

    My grandkids are beyond the tween years but I have sown good seeds, I hope! I received a sweet birthday message from one granddaughter who said she was grateful that I’m such a good role model and she told her mom my faith is strong. It seems our example–living our faith walk is most important. Great post, Sherry.

  4. Sherry Kyle

    Hi Mary! Great suggestions. I’m a planner when it comes to meals since I feed six every night, but I LOVE it that you spontaneously invite friends for dinner. That’s awesome! What kind of meals do you have? Yes, Christian summer camps are the best. My older daughter has gone for years. She wanted to go to the spring break camp so much that she paid for it herself! Priceless. My younger daughter is going to camp this summer. With her outgoing personality, she won’t want to come home!

  5. Mary Loebig Giles

    I couldn’t agree more, Sherry! Thanks for the encouraging words. I’d also like to add a few other ways we try to keep faith a priority around here:

    • Shared meals with other Christian families and friends. These relationships are vitally important and offer my girls wise counsel, sounding boards and reality checks when I’m not the ideal conduit. On Wednesdays we typically spontaneously invite friends from the neighborhood over for dinner. The weekends we often share meals with other families.
    • Christian summer camps: Since my daughter attends a Quaker school (spiritually oriented: Yes, Christ-focused: Not so much), summer camps remain an important place to reorient to a Christian perspective and talk about matters of faith with peers.

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