Parents, are you ready to guide your tween into the teenager years?
Welcome to The Weekender! Because the internet discourages focused reading, The Weekender series is designed to help you, dear reader, see the scope of God’s story in all areas of life through high-quality, curated content. Every On most Fridays, we’ll have a fresh batch of resources to help you take a deep dive into one specific topic, theme or idea. Here’s to reading and thinking well.
Last weekend I took my girl away for a mother-daughter retreat. She’s turning twelve this month and that’s a big deal. The little girl who used to routinely walk around in diapers while wearing her pants on her head and pushing a baby doll in a stroller is long gone. She’s been replaced by a young woman who is nearly as tall as I am with her own sense of style and set of friends.
That weekend away was purposeful. It involved doing our nails and eating her favorite foods and lots of time in the hot tub. But, it was also a time when we went through the program Passport to Purity, listening to talks on CDs and dialoguing about the exciting and awkward things that are ahead of her in the tween and teen years.
My husband and I intentionally wanted to mark this milestone between girlhood and womanhood for our girl. We wanted to begin a conversation about the things to come. We wanted her to know how treasured and special she is and how excited we are about how her world will expand in these next few years. We wanted to give her a moment to mark this transition time in her life.
So, for this edition of the Weekender, here are a few resources for those of you entering into this tween/teen phase of life and who want to think through marking milestones.
“Time Flies” by Julie Silander—The Rabbit Room
Synopsis: A simple reminder of how quickly our 2-year-olds become 13-year-olds—and yet their eternal value never changes.
Representative quote: “Most of us have felt the twinge of (or gut-wrenching) sadness that accompanies the milestones commemorated in our photo albums. We sigh, and with a mix of melancholy, nostalgia, sadness and yearning, we chant the parental mantra, ‘Time Flies.’ Yet take heart.”
Why you should read it: To be reminded of the beauty at every stage of our children’s lives and to take heart and make the most of the season we are in right now.
“God’s Essential Purpose for Every Parent”—a parenting seminar by John Meyer
Synopsis: John shares what he learned from his years as a parent and challenges parents to think through how they want to walk through the teen years with our kids.
Representative quote: “This discipleship of your kids is a privilege. These years are still yours. You need to claim them.”
Why you should listen: My husband and I came away from this talk a little scared but also greatly excited. This is a really encouraging talk on how to make the teen years spiritually rich for our kids and ourselves.
“Underwear, Discernment, and Truly Bright Young Things” by Jeremy Pierre—The Gospel Coalition
Synopsis: An article that encourages us to be aware of the culture our teens, especially daughters, are growing up in but also to cultivate an excitement for what that time can be in their lives.
Representative quote: “But I refuse to fear my daughters’ coming of age. Not because the dark appeals to them will get any lighter, but because I am confident God can make them truly bright young things.”
Why you should read it: If you don’t have time to listen to John’s seminar this weekend, then read this article instead. A similar call to be purposeful as we walk into the teen years and to do so with hope.
“The Challenge of Adolescence”—a Family Life Today radio program
Synopsis: The creators of the program Passport to Purity talk about the importance of engaging your tweens on issues of purity, sexuality and dating and ways to begin that dialogue.
Representative quote: “…your assignment is, is to take the bent of your child—and some of them are little more crooked than others it seems—and the issues you’re facing, the winds of the culture, the obstacles—and you’re to think about where you’re aiming your child and how you prepare them for the day of battle that they are going to face.”
Why you should listen: If you are interested in taking a weekend away with your child to talk through the birds and the bees and everything related but don’t want to have to do it on your own this talk introduces you to Family Life Today’s Passport to Purity program, which is a great resource for doing just that.
“When You Have a Deadline Closing In” by Emily P. Freeman
Synopsis: While marking milestones in big ways is important, we also need to be aware of the moments our kids need us in the midst of hard things on busy days.
Representative quote: “She isn’t calming down and it’s getting late so I ask her to join me on the porch. I’m surprised when she agrees. I guess even eight year olds know that sometimes the best thing to do is walk away.”
Why you should read it: Because we all need a reminder that sometimes the most important moments happen when we let go of all we should be doing and simply take the time to connect with our child’s heart.