In recent years, I traveled across the country to eleven cities, made coffee, and invited mothers of tween daughters to tell me how I could encourage them as they seek to raise girls. There is one thing that really has moms freaked out: emotions.
Words mothers used to describe their daughters included insecure, embarrassed, confused, stressed out, angry, depressed, ashamed, and lonely.
They kept asking me if the reactions their daughters were having to life were developmentally normal, or something to be concerned about. That’s a critical question with no simple answer. Each mother has to answer it for herself. But I’ve developed a tool to help you. I coined the term sticky feelings to give you and your daughter something to identify unhealthy emotions. It’s actually a word all of us can use to decide if our emotional reactions are healthy or if they are a warning sign that something is wrong.
Your daughter’s sweet little body is going to be or already has begun experiencing an onslaught of hormonal complications that make discerning healthy and unhealthy emotions difficult. But it can be done.
In the introduction to Lies Girls Believe, I wrote this for your daughter:
“God created both good and bad feelings, and they can both be useful if you use God’s Truth to respond to them. But when you have a bad feeling and you don’t know why, or it just never goes away and you feel it all the time, every day, that’s a ‘sticky’ feeling.”
It’s entirely possible that your daughter is struggling with a particular emotion because God needs her—with your help—to respond in Truth. Maybe she is stressed out because there is too much on her schedule, and you need to help her make room for rest. Perhaps she is depressed because she doesn’t feel safe talking about things that make her angry, and she needs to learn how to communicate her frustrations in a mature way. God created our emotions to send us messages, and we’re supposed to respond to those signals. When we do, the feeling often departs because it has done its work.
But sometimes, emotions stick to a girl. They show up for no apparent reason and/or they never leave! That’s when you might have a problem. Here’s what every mother needs to know about her daughter’s emotions: Chronic, recurrent, sticky feelings could be evidence that lies are growing in the roots of your daughter’s belief system. She could be in spiritual bondage.
The term spiritual bondage, which Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth used in Lies Women Believe to describe what Christian adult women experience, also explains the crisis tween girls are facing. Seventy-two percent of the moms who attended my focus groups said they believe their daughter’s emotions are a manifestation of a much deeper, darker battle. One mother put it this way:
“Satan does not discriminate based on age.”
But where do we begin to help our precious girls?
Through Nancy’s book, Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Set Them Free, over one million women have experienced victory over all manner of sin, depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, addiction, hopelessness, and so much more. She’s helped readers trace their spiritual bondage to deeply-rooted lies. Then, she’s helped them rip up the lies and replace them with God’s Truth.
OUR DAUGHTERS HAVE BEEN LIED TO.
THEY NEED TRUTH TO SET THEM FREE.
The Lies Girls Believe and Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe set of books is the answer to the groundswell of mothers requesting a similar book for their eight-to-twelve-year-old daughters. What if I told you that instead of being jealous, mean, moody, greedy, and in bondage, your daughter could grow up to be:
This is how God intended her—and you—to live: free. Of course, Jesus told us it would not be easy. He said:
[Satan]’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.
My purpose is to give [you] a rich and satisfying life.
(John 10:10 ESV)
There are going to be tough battles in your daughter’s life as Satan seeks to lie to her, and God wants her to know and believe Truth. I want to help you and your daughter win the war, so you can experience the abundant life that Jesus came to give both of you. You cannot choose whether your daughter will embrace God’s Word, but you can plant seeds in her so she is rooted in Truth.
This blog is an excerpt from A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe by Dannah Gresh, a companion book to the newest book in the series edited by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Get a copy today and start helping your daughter learn to control her emotions, rather than having them control her. Then, Check out the recorded version of our 6-week online Bible study for tween girls and their moms using Lies Girls Believe.