(From Day 7) “And yet there are few things that affect a girls self esteem more than how she looks or thinks she looks. Especially during those tween middle school years when they spend more time on hair, makeup and clothes than they do on their homework assignments. For some of my girls they can spend 10-15 minutes on getting ready and be good to go. My other daughter’s? We have to set a timer just so we can out the door on time. And I used to worry about it.”
And I did. I would see my girls flitting to and from the bathroom, concerned about their hair and the little makeup they were allowed to wear. Worried about an outfit fitting right or if they had any food on their face or in their teeth.
I grew up a tomboy and I just didn’t remember going through this stage of things, at least not as early as my girls did.
Sometimes I wondered how I landed up with such “girly-girls”…pink frills and lace, cute skirts and matching lip gloss. Watching them I found myself wanting to say “good grief, get over it already and move yourself out the door. We are going to be late if you spend anymore time in front of that mirror!”
I have one girl in particular that can spend enormous amounts of time getting ready. And often I found myself frustrated over waiting…and found myself fussing at her for taking so long.
“You look fine. It doesn’t matter anyway…we are just going to the store.”
But what I came to realize, that for a girl that age…it does matter…it matters very much! And that it’s not about being vain, or thinking more highly about herself than she should…it’s not about having to be perfect or even being “girly”.
It is about her need, even her inner cry, for self worth…to know that she is accepted for who she is. She desires to know that she is ok in the eyes of others…in the eyes of mom and dad….in the eyes of her friends.
Middle School can be a brutal place for a young teen girl. I remember my own middle school years…and not fondly I might add.
But I also know what it feels like to hear that your daughter is getting bullied because she doesn’t “fit in”...when the truth is….at that age, no girl feels like she fits in. Even the girls that seem to be the most popular, are struggling with their own self worth and self identity. They are trying to find their place in this world amidst a myriad of emotions and hormones, boys and mixed media messages.
That is why it matters how we respond to our daughters when it seems like all they are doing is checking their appearance. Again, it’s not about the outward, but what she is saying about how she feels inwardly.
When she asks you “Do I look ok?” What she is really saying is “Do you think I am ok?” Do you think people will like me.” Will they appreciate me for who I am?”
When our daughters were little and put on a cute princess dress…we “oohed” and “ahhed” over them. We showed them off to friends and took pictures and posted them on facebook for grandparents and friends to see. And yet something changed when they reached those tween and teen years.
All of a sudden we somehow stop complimenting, affirming and voicing our approval. Oh sure, we might on occasion. When they are dressed up for a dance or recital. But what about in the day to day?
As Christians I think we can get into this mindset that if we somehow affirm our daughters in their outward appearance that we are fostering a vain spirit. That somehow we fail to point them to their truth self worth in Christ by validating the outward. But what we often fail to realize, is that that both her spiritual and her physical body are connected as a whole….and as much as we affirm and validate her inner heart and spirit….we need to affirm and validate the outer as well.
Honestly it is all about balance. Balancing her inward heart with her outward appearance.
We can tell our girls all day long that in Christ they have value and worth..that He loves her and made her beautiful inside and out….and yet how do we expect her to believe that if we do not affirm those same things in her? Because the truth is, if they don’t find validation at home they will seek for it from somewhere or someone else.
So the challenge today is to find an opportunity to validate and affirm your daughter. That the next time she comes and asks you if she looks ok that you take the opportunity to affirm her.
I challenge you to look for opportunities to affirm her even when she doesn’t ask. But not just affirm the outward but to affirm the inward. Find something that she is doing well and compliment her on it. Even despite all the growing pains, the negative behaviors and attitudes, find something you can praise her for and affirm her in.
Your words will carry much further than you know…they will carry to her spirit…they will carry to her heart.
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment here on the blog, on the Fearless Heart Facebook Page or send your thoughts to my e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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