Sunday, July 13, 2008

File This Under: Things I've Never Done Before

Soon I will be the parent of a 9 year old.

This is new territory for me. I am a little nervous. I know from my college degree that "early childhood" ends at the age of 8. According to the experts, anyway. So I feel like we are entering an new era--and I'm not sure I like it.

I want to have the right expectations for her. Let me establish a few things first.

1. I am raising a daughter. This is different from raising a son. My goal is to have a godly young woman in the end. If you are raising a son, then your goal is to have a godly young man at the end. This may seem obvious, but our society mostly speaks about raising "kids" and the lines have been severely blurred. This all came to my attention about 2 years ago and it was eye-opening. SO, I am raising a daughter.

2. I want her to remain a child as long as she can. I don't want a silly, irresponsible, immature young lady...so I know there is important training that needs to go on now. However, I want her to play with her doll and her dollhouse, and her horses as long as she wants to. I know she isn't nearly through playing with toys, but I know 9 year olds who are. And they concern me. So, allowing her to have a childhood is important to me.

3. At the same time, 9 should bring with it more responsibility. School time will change a bit. Chores, expectations, etc. also. The bar should be raising a bit each year, right?

4. How do I encourage her to become a young lady while letting her still be a child? She's already nine and yet, she's only nine. You know?

So these are the questions running through my head tonight. I googled all sorts of things about 9 year olds and 3rd graders...and the information that I found was so totally not based on God's word or even godly thinking that it was unreal! I do NOT have the world's or society's view of raising our daughter. I need godly advice. I need biblical advice.

Can any of you with 9+ year old daughters give me some advice? I'd really appreciate it!

And may I just say that I am SO HAPPY we decided to homeschool? I feel like she is being given an extension on her childhood--and protection from many, many things I feel she is too young for. And I don't care if she "looks like" the other 3rd graders around here--I expect she will be different because of being homeschooled. I don't know...

18 comments:

  1. How do I encourage her to become a young lady while letting her still be a child? She's already nine and yet, she's only nine. You know?

    Exactly. The young lady part will *come*. You don't have control over that.
    The hard part is keeping that "child-like-ness." And looking for opportunities/circumstances to teach her what a young lady does. (Think: relationship, not rule--as much as we want to Google questions at this age, it is impossible.)
    But what do I know? I'm still muddling through!! *smile*

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  2. Like andrea, I'm still muddling through as well, but I have noticed a quite unsettling trend with my own girls: Those areas in my life that are in need of more discipline and improvement are showing up to varying degrees in my girls.

    It's disheartening to see my procrastination in CeCe and my impatience in KiKi. Sometimes I hear my sarcasm in Lil' G.

    On the bright side, I see CeCe's love of the kitchen and admire Lil G's boldness to stand for what she believes-even if she has to stand alone. It goes both ways.

    Anyway, my biggest piece of advice: model as much as possible what a lady is and pray, pray pray! I'm sure you'll do swimmingly. You have nothing to be nervous about.

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  3. Ah, very wise Andrea. Yes, I get it. Thanks. I just look around at some other 9 year olds and I don't exactly want her to be like that--but I don't know a lot of families who are striving to raising Godly young ladies and who are NOT following the pattern of the world. Does that makes sense? So I don't know what it "looks like."

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  4. Thanks Terry, that's good too. Very good point. I need to look at myself as what I want he to become. Now I'm more nervous than ever!!!

    And some of that stuff? SURELY it's genetic! :)

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  5. Brenda,
    There is nothing to see what it "looks like". That is deceiving. That I am learning. Your daughter is unique, and the more you find ways to *relate* to her, the more influence and guidance you will have on her life....
    But like I said....I'm still learning, too! :)

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  6. I feel the same way about my eight year old. Only that it's the last year of some part of childhood. I bet you felt that last year, eh?

    I think homeschooled, Christian girls do remain little longer. At least that's my hope. We have a 10 year old who doesn't want to graduate from Sonflower Sisters!

    Anyway, enough about us. Happy Birthday to your baby!

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  7. Really Andrea? Because if Titus 2 were really working around me, wouldn't I have more of an idea about raising my daughter for the Lord?

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  8. Yes, definitely Brenda. I can see in some cases it would be easier--a kind of "positive peer pressure"....but my point was even in "best case scenerio" what works for one family/daughter *might* not work for yours. that's the trap. I would love a Titus 2 mentor not to neccesarily model *how* , but *how to do it in my own family*--give counsel that way. And give counsel to me *as an individual*. Make sense?

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  9. Yes, it does make sense. I was even thinking today about our preacher's wife growing up. Her oldest daughter was 2 years younger than me (and I was the last one). I remember her coming to ask my mom at what age did she let us wear makeup, etc. Did you let your kids see this or that movie? I know it will be different for every family--but I wish I had a lot of godly families around me to observe and make me think about things before I get to those stages. It would be nice...

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  10. Y'all are just making me nervous!!!

    Happy Birthday...wow, 9!!!

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  11. Well, we actually have one more month until her birthday, but I like to get my worries out early! :)

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  12. Oh...I can't help you.

    I can't even tap my own experience with 13-year old Fifi to apply to the raising of 8-year old Dumpling!

    They're all so different. My only advice is what Terry said: pray, pray, pray! Because He knows.

    But...a good rule of thumb for how to protect this age: When in doubt, leave it out.

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  13. Grafted Branch is right and hit on what my point is:
    they are all different!!
    But this only allows us to draw nearer to HIM in these kind of circumstances....
    and that is ALWAYS a good thing.
    Hence, the prayer!

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  14. Brenda, I can so relate to your question! Not because I'm a mom (I'm not yet,) but I am a planner-near-perfectionist who likes to look ahead and strategize and learn all I can to prepare for a given task because I WANT TO DO A GOOD JOB. Sound familiar?

    So let me encourage you to rejoice in the fact that you feel inadequate to the task of raising your girls. For it's only when we realize how little we can do on our own that we then turn to our Heavenly Father and (to quote Terry) "pray, pray pray!" Just as God provided a school room table right when you needed it (and not before), when situations present themselves with your daughters and you need wisdom, He will provide that as well, right when you need it. His Spirit and His Word are there for us even if others are not. And nothing--not even raising nearly-nine-year old little girls--is too hard for Him.

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  15. Well Aunt Bossy- I think you just hit the nail on the head!

    I need to re-read this comment often!

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  16. First of all, I must say that knowing your Sweetheart personally, she is precious and a delight. So whatever you're doing - keep doing it! : ) Secondly, I can totally relate to your situation. My own DD turned 9 in Feb this year. I agree that HS'ing affords an opportunity to lengthen their time in "childhood". Most kids are growing up WAY too fast. Something I've learned recently: listen to what they have to say and treat them with respect. Often I find myself busy and really don't want to take the time to stop doing what's "important" and hear her describe in lengthy detail the Next Food Network Star competition her and her brother were having, or to watch her perform her lyrical dance she choreographed for the thousandth time. But I'm realizing that by stopping and giving her my complete attention shows her I really care and that I respect her as a person. Hopefully as she matures and the concerns that are on her heart mature also, she will still come to me because she knows I will really listen and genuinely care.

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  17. Amen, Kristin! That is EXACTLY what my mom did for me. She always spoke to and with me as though I were a "real" person, making me feel valued and important. She continued to be my best friend throughout my teenage years and into adulthood; she was both matron of honor and mother-of-the-bride at my wedding. Her Godly example and constant prayers kept a hedge about me as I grew up--my testimony is one of preservation rather than a prodigal's path. It is my prayer to one day 1.) be a mom and 2.) be a mom like my mom. Which will be harder than it sounds, since it turns out I am my father's daughter. Apparently Bossy apples don't fall far from Bossy trees. :-)

    Which prompts this thought for Brenda: even though you are home and the primary influence on your girls (as was my mother), your husband is also a powerful guiding force in their lives. So you not only have your Heavenly Father, you also have your daughters' father to lean on. Praise the Lord for Godly husbands! :-)

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I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)