By Erin Bishop
Some parents plan ahead for the “sex talk” and maybe even rehearse it in front of the bathroom mirror a few times, and then bring it up when they think their daughter is ready to learn about such a serious topic.
But sometimes, thanks to our over sexualized media, and the placement of certain magazines next to the candy, Matchbox Cars, and Princess Band-Aids, we find ourselves dodging questions like bullets in the checkout line because our daughter wants to know exactly what Cosmo means by “Kinky Sex Moves”, “Summer’s Hottest Sex” and what the deal is with this Bruce Jenner person.
For some parents, the idea of talking to their daughter about sex may cause anxiety for various reasons. If this is the case for you, I encourage you to ask yourself why. Why it’s uncomfortable and if there are some issues from your past you could work through with a licensed counselor so that you can be available to talk to your daughter about this important topic.
Or, maybe you’re worried you won’t know what to say, or you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or your daughter. Give yourself some grace. Kids are resilient and they are looking for some direction and leadership from you. We have some great resources at the end of the article to help you on your way.
Talking about sex with my daughter has always come easy to me. It kind of had to. You see, she’s 17, and my husband and I have only been married 14 years. There’s a story here, and you can read part of it, here.
7 Tips for Talking to Your Girl About Sex
- First, pray. Ask God to give you peace, clear communication with your daughter, and for the Holy Spirit to go with you and before you to prepare her heart, and yours, for the conversation.
- Start with the truth. Tell her what sex is, that God created it for husbands and wives, and why. Arming our daughters with a firm foundation in the truth will empower and equip them to admonish cultural lies and choose God’s best for their lives. When we do things God’s way and save sex for marriage, there is no shame, condemnation, fear of an unplanned pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases. Our daughters will know kids who have sex and see on the outside that things seem fine and normal-but the changes that occur on the inside of a girl who has had sex outside of marriage can be devastating-even traumatic.
- Have a gentle, loving spirit. This will set the tone for this part of your relationship with her. This will reassure her that she can trust you and come to you with questions and for guidance.
- Be open and honest. Her little girl body will begin to change into a woman’s body. She may experience curiosity, confusion, arousal, embarrassment or shyness about her growing body. She needs to know these changes and feelings are normal before someone or something tells her otherwise. Give her an idea of what to expect, and ask her if she has any questions or concerns.
- Know where you stand and stay there. Flexible morals are no morals at all. Our daughters are counting on us to be leaders and hold them accountable to a higher standard.
- Your actions should line up with your words. Some movies, television shows, books and music normalize casual and premarital sex. Adults in her life may be shacking up with someone, sending the message that sex outside of marriage is acceptable.
- Keep talking. The “sex talk” shouldn’t be a one-time conversation. It needs to be an ongoing dialogue that continually keeps her grounded in the truth and the knowledge that she can talk to you about this and anything else, without fear, rejection, or condemnation.
- Do you feel prepared to talk to your daughter about sex?
- When do you plan to talk about sex with your daughter?
God’s Truth to Stand On:
- “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
- “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Putting It Into Practice:
- Pray for your daughter and her desire to lead a life of purity and sexual integrity.
- Keep the conversation going. By demonstrating that you are a tender and loving person to confide in, she will feel free to talk to you about this and many other topics.
Passport to Purity
“Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity” by Shannon Ethridge
“Every Young Woman’s Battle” by Shannon Ethridge
“Every Single Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise” by Shannon Ethridge
By Erin Bishop
Here at Whatever Girls, we are all about intentionality. In fact, I started this ministry in 2009 because I am a solution finder, not a problem dweller. The United States Marine Corp has a saying that I like: “improvise, adapt, overcome”. We can’t control what the world or the enemy throws our way, but we can control our response. We can even plan ahead.
Erin and Grace Bishop (2014)
Before my daughter, Grace, set foot on the campus of her middle school, I designed my response to the enormous amount of peer pressure she would face in the coming years. By being an involved and intentional parent, I have enjoyed my daughter’s teen years far more than I could have imagined.
In the coming weeks I am going to share my best teen girl parenting tips, my parenting fails (get comfortable, there are quite a few), and I’ll share more about the heart of Whatever Girls, what we do, and how you and your daughter can get involved.
But first, here is my number one parenting tip: be there and listen. Grace and I have a very honest and open relationship, but it didn’t happen overnight. For years I have been faithful in making time for her and listening to her talk about the things that matter to her. Each time I listened, I was making deposits in an account that built up enough equity that has earned me the privilege of hearing the things on her teenage girl heart and speaking into her life.
Believe me. There were days when she had to ask me to put my iPhone down, or I was tired or distracted, and she grew impatient with me and stormed off in a huff. Fortunately, I have made more deposits than withdrawals, which has earned me this position in my daughter’s life.
I would love to hear what has worked and what hasn’t worked in your relationship with your daughter.
Erin Bishop is the Founder and President of the Whatever Girls Ministry.
By Madi Cowell
Have you ever been in a room full of people and commotion, yet you could not feel more alone? If your answer is yes, let me tell you I more than understand.
As I walked into my first day of my senior year, I couldn’t have felt more by myself. We’re given all these expectations as we go into these years: “It’ll be the best years of your life” or “You’ll fit in perfectly with your own little group.” But where was my “group”? Why was I the oldest around but still felt like the smallest?
So, what if we don’t feel all this excitement? I struggle a lot with feeling like there is some type of formula to life that someone just forgot to tell me about. Am I doing something wrong? Because high school has not been a box of chocolates for me.
To feel lonely; it may sound like such a mild thing but it isn’t. What drives people to follow the crowd? To blend in, instead of being their own person? It’s this fear of loneliness and rejection. As hard as this idea has been to swallow, I’ve come to realize that at this stage in life, if I stick out from the crowd that is—in fact—a good thing. The pain you feel today you will thank yourself for tomorrow. Whether it’s social media, your friends or maybe your parents, we as kids are told to just go with the crowd, to fit in. But that’s not what I see going on in the Bible.
God created warriors who were willing to stand up, who believed in Him enough to know that He was the one who had the final answers. They recognized this world for what it truly was, and knew that it was not worth surrendering to.
Not one person on this earth craves anything more than love and acceptance. We are programmed like this; it’s what keeps us going. We don’t want to be rejected because the idea of being on the outside, being away from the crowd is, to many teenagers, their worst nightmare. I encourage you, in your times of loneliness, to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Speak life into yourself. Remember – you are not alone at all. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) Not only is He with us, but also He is fighting for us.
In my times of loneliness, I have felt like God is nowhere to be seen. Looking back, I see not only was He there, but He was walking along right beside me, feeling my pain and my burdens. This topic is exceptionally challenging for our age group, considering every waking moment we are faced with decisions that shape our character. In the hurtful situations of our lives, God can use us for the glory of His kingdom. Through my loneliness, I’ve learned to cling to the only stable person that has always been in my life, Jesus. Next time I want to unpack this idea of vulnerability, and how we can use this “bad” word in today’s society: use it for our own benefits! As we go into another school year, let’s remember who always walks alongside us. He is more than enough.
By Susan Norris
This month my daughter celebrates her 18th birthday. She shares her birthday with her 1 year old cousin, Jacob. We were blessed to spend some time with them last week, so we celebrated the birthday twins.
As I sat there singing Happy Birthday to them both, I was blown away by how quickly the time passed. It seems like she just turned a year old, sticking her face and hands in her birthday cake.
For those of you who are tweens, teens or the parents of them, the days go slow, but the years go quickly. I thought it might be helpful to interview my daughter about her middle and high school years. So, it is my privilege to introduce you to Laura, high school graduate and soon to be college freshman.
What was the best part about middle school?
Getting out! (she laughs). FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) was really fun because it was something I could be involved in and meet a great core group of people. I was able to join the leadership team and have an influence on my campus.
What was the hardest part of middle school?
The hardest part of middle school was finding a friend group because everyone is trying to find their own. Kids came from three different elementary schools to our middle school, so there were a lot of new faces. I found a lot of times you’d think you were friends with someone only to learn they weren’t really a friend at all.
If you could give one piece of advice to your middle school self, what would it be?
Find your identity in the Lord instead of other people. Lean on your family and those who have been friends for a while, who really know you.
How different did you find high school from middle school?
High school gave you a lot more freedom ( i.e. You were not walked to the lunch room). I made new friends coming from other schools. There were more people in the school to make friends with because they came from multiple middle schools. A lot of people developed new friend groups. Some people you were friends with in middle school weren’t necessarily the people you spent time with in high school. Once you can drive, then you hang out more with friends outside of school.
Was it harder or easier to find your place in high school?
It was a lot easier. People acted a little more mature and people became more independent so their choices were more their own and not what everyone else was doing.
Did you ever have a “mean girls” situation?
In middle school I did. It wasn’t fun. People I thought were my friends proved not to be. They talked about me behind my back. It’s not always mean girls, but mean boys too. Don’t pay attention to things immature boys say, trying to sound cool or mature. Gossip is the root of it all. Just don’t listen to it, and don’t do it yourself.
If so, when and how did you handle it?
I talked to some of my friends from church and my small group leader, but kept some things to myself. That only worked for a while. Then everything changed when I talked to my mom. TALK TO YOUR MOM! (She said to make sure I put that sentence in all caps and bold print.)
A friend of mine asked my mom if I’d talked with her this week about something bothering me. Since I hadn’t, my mom decided to confront me. She checked me out of school telling me I had an appointment. When we got to the car I asked her who my appointment was with and she told me her. She took me to Starbucks for treats and then we drove home and sat on the sofa for hours talking and crying.
Everything came spilling out and my mom just listened. She was there for me. As we talked I realized I needed to find my identity in Christ and not what other people were saying. I stopped trying to fit in and focused on just being me. I realized I liked who I was. Going through this experience made high school easier.
How did you navigate the whole boy or boyfriend situation?
After my big deal in eighth grade, I just didn’t want to date. I knew personally I wasn’t at a place where I would date and could handle it appropriately. I trusted God to bring a guy into my life when and if it was time for me to date. It didn’t happen in high school and I was at peace with it. I had guy friends who I would hang out with and they would take me to dances if I needed a date. It took all of the pressure off and I still had a good time.
I had the greatest time at my senior prom. My closest guy friends either had work or sports commitments so they weren’t available to take me to the prom. I was totally prepared to go solo with my friends; however, my brother, who is two years older than me and in college, offered to take me. We went and had more fun than anyone. I didn’t have to worry about anything inappropriate or how I looked when I ate. It was so much fun.
I didn’t write off all guys; I just chose not to date.
Do you feel liked you missed out on anything based on your decision not to date in high school?
Uh, yeah, I missed out on heartbreak and drama! (She cracked up laughing).
Do you feel like the choices you made in middle and high school had an impact on college?
Yes. I have some solid friends I met in middle school and high school that I’m going to college with. Thru my experiences in both middle and high school, I know who I am as I head into college.
Any other advice before we close?
Dress modestly because dressing in a way that shows off your body only sends the wrong signals about you to guys. A guy’s respect for you drops if you dress immodestly. You’re no longer seen as just a girl a guy can have a conversation with, but seen as someone putting yourself out there in an inappropriate way. Guys will see that as an invitation for things you may not want. It’s just not smart.
What are you looking forward to in college?
I’m looking forward to gaining more independence, discovering more about who I am, and becoming the person God wants me to be. Oh, yeah, and I’m also looking forward to football. Go Dawgs!
By Brenda Yoder
When I was given a girl to raise, something inside me froze. At twenty-three, I was still a girl myself, struggling with my own issues – an eating disorder, insecurities, identity issues, the list went on. If I struggled with my own body issues, how was I going to raise a girl with a healthy self-image?
God’s word says in our weakness, He is strong (1 Corinthians 12:9). Somewhere in my weaknesses and insecurities, God’s strength showed up. Though my struggle with food and weight was a constant battle, I didn’t want my struggle to be my daughter’s. I never wanted her to know the hell I lived in beginning at fourteen when I became anorexic, then bulimic. I wanted her to have a life free of bondage, free of the obsession with weight and food. I wanted her to be healthy, something I’ve diligently pursued as a lifetime principle.
The Holy Spirit showed up when I lacked the skills of raising a girl with a healthy approach to food. My upbringing was ruled by the food and weight issues of my immediate and extended family. I had a love-hate relationship with my body and food, and I didn’t want to pass that onto her. As I watched my daughter graduate from college this month, I marveled at what God has done in giving her a healthy self and body image.
I’m sharing my thoughts on breaking the cycle of disordered eating in this first post of a two-part series. Here are the first principles God taught me in raising a healthy daughter.
- Using the word “healthy” and eliminating the word “fat.” Sometime during her preschool years, I began using the words “unhealthy” or “healthy” rather than “fat” or other words when referring to body image, weight or food. God gave me these words throughout the years to guide food choices and help her understand the importance of balanced eating and body image. When she was in middle school. I remember her using the word “fat.” Fortunately, we had a healthy discussion about body image. I don’t remember the word “fat” being used by her again.
- Complimenting her character rather than physical characteristics. I made a conscious effort to compliment my daughter more on her character, behavior, and manners than her physical appearance. I tried to avoid saying “That makes you look skinny” or similar comments because comments like these make many of us self-conscious (Do I look fat in other outfits?). A comment about my physical appearance as a sixth grader sent me into a tailspin of losing weight as a seventh grader, which turned me into an 88-pound skeleton by eighth grade.
- Being conscious of comments about my physical appearance in front of her. While I still have “I look fat” moments when I look in the mirror, when she was young, I worked hard at not letting her hear about my insecurities or pity-parties. I didn’t want her to know how I struggled with body or self-image. Something must have worked, because it wasn’t until she was in her late teens that she was aware of my history with an eating disorder. God is gracious all the time.
Join me next month for Part two of this article. Until then, how do you raise your daughter with a healthy body image? What things have you found helpful?
Broken and Beautiful: Brenda has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a BA in Education. As a Parent, Counselor and Educator her ministry is helping moms and daughters navigate the tough stuff of life. Have a question for Brenda? Email her at AskBrenda@thewhatvergirls.com
By Micca Campbell
I confess. As far back as I can remember I’ve always had low self-esteem and a poor self-image. As a child I was painfully shy. When I reached high school, I’d walk the crowed hallway with my head down to avoid eye contact. No matter how hard I tried to act as if I had it all together, whenever I looked into my bedroom mirror it revealed something different. I can still recall the negative self-talk as I peered into the glass.
“You’re too short. You’re too fat. You’re not smart enough or even likable to others. You’re friends put up with you.”
Everyday, I wished I were different—taller, thinner, popular, pretty.
I wonder. Do you ever look in the mirror and wished you were different? Maybe you feel you’re too short, or too tall, or too thin, or too heavy. The list never seems to end. It might physical dissatisfaction, or feeling as though you’re not smart enough or outgoing enough that drags you down. I understand. I also know this has to change.
There are a multitude of studies that indicate the way you and I see ourselves determines to a large degree the way we act and react in life. That a person’s self-perception, self-worth, self-esteem tends to be a leading factor in her life.
In other words, if I see myself as a loser, I’ll end up acting like a loser. If I see myself as a victim, I’ll tend to let people victimize me. If I see myself as uncreative, I’ll never come up with any creative ideas. If I see myself as a piece of junk, I’ll begin to think I’m garbage.
The world’s definition of beauty only makes matters worse. The world tells us to be beautiful, we must have no defects, we must remain forever young, and we must maintain a perfect figure and have a “cover girl” face. I don’t know about you, but I don’t measure up to this image. And that depresses me because I long to be beautiful, successful, and confident.
Did you know the desire to be beautiful comes from God? However, because we live in a fallen world, we seek the good things of God in unhealthy ways. God’s definition of beauty is different from Hollywood’s.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1Peter 3:4).
When I read what God says is beautiful, I realized I had allowed the world to shape my understanding about beauty instead of my Creator. God says it’s a quite and gently spirit is more beautiful than the latest fashion.
Our world encourages women to cultivate a beauty that only last for a brief amount of time. God encourages women to cultivate a beauty that will never fade, but will only grow more attractive with the passing of time. In fact, when you become more and more the woman God has created you to be, there will be something beautiful about you that has nothing to do with outward beauty.
I decided from that day forward to stop the negative self-talk and look into the mirror of God’s Word to see what He thinks of me. It was life changing.
Today, I’m confident—not in myself—but in who God says I am. This didn’t happen over night. It took more than reading and memorizing verses that describe the way God sees me. It took faith. I had to believe His Word over my negative thoughts. Once I believed—really believed the transformation began.
Allow me to share what God says about you!
1.) You Are Loved (John 3:16). God so loves you he withheld nothing—giving his only Son to die in your place
2.) You Are Chosen (1Peter 2:9). Before God created the heavens and earth, He chose you to be his very own.
3.) You Are Wonderfully And Fearfully Made (Ps 139: 14) God designed you in your mother’s womb. He planned your eye color, hair color and skin color to fulfill a specific purpose that is yours alone.
4.) You Are Beautiful In His Sight (Song of Solomon 4:7, Gen 1:31). You were created in God’s image, and He declares all his work is wonderful! Including you!
5.) You Are Forgiven (Eph 1:7). God doesn’t draw back from your sin. He draws near and forgives all.
6.) You Have A Future (Jeremiah 29:11). When you think you’re at the end of your rope, you’re not at the end of hope. God has promised you a bright future.
7.) You Are Part Of A Royal Priesthood (1Peter 2:9). You have purpose. God calls you to minister to others as he has ministered to you.
8.) You Are An Overcomer (1John 4:4). Hang-ups, habits and hurts can’t keep you down because greater is the Spirit in you than the spirit of this world.
9.) You Are Empowered (2Corn 13:4). The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in you daily!
10) You Belong To God (John 1:12). You are a child of God because you have believed.
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