Monday, October 4, 2010

Mean Tweens? Guide Your Daughter to Love Her Enemies

Growing up and learning how to relate to other women is not easy. Girls entering the middle school years find a social hierarchy established on the shaky ground of tender adolescence. These years have the power to lay the foundation for a lifetime of gossip, bitterness, and unforgiveness. For most tweens, it is easy to be critical rather than caring and fault-finding rather than forgiving, but these tendencies must be transformed through the cleansing power of God’s Word. That’s where you come in, Mom! Are you willing to set an example of a Christ-like approach to offenses? Believe me, it's quite easy to revert to the vengeance, feelings, and form of a hurt 12-year-old when it's your baby girl who's being mistreated! But we're called to a higher standard.

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt. 5:44). With your guidance, your daughter can learn to pray for her enemies. Praying for one who is hurtful will not only release a spirit of forgiveness within the one who prays, but also, it will open the door to a supernatural understanding of the offender (which can even result in compassionate feelings toward that person!). Praying together now will lay the groundwork for approaching your daughter’s teen years as prayer partners.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29). Gossip, teasing, name-calling, and sarcasm are standard fare for pre-teen conversation, whether it is up close and personal or anonymous via cyberbullying on email and blog sites. Your daughter can go against the flow by remembering this verse and using her speech to encourage her peers with truthful words that are kind and helpful.

Don’t show favoritism (James 2:1). Help your daughter avoid the trap of superficiality. Lead her to understand that friends should not be chosen based on how they dress or how attractive they are. She will miss out on some great friendships if she makes judgments based on first impressions.

At the Pure In Heart Conference, we discuss all these issues in breakout sessions with the girls. We're registering now for the upcoming conference in Tampa (early bird discounts apply!). If you're anywhere nearby, and you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter between the ages of 7 and 12, won't you join us?
Check out the website for details!

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