By Shani Mckenzie, True Girl Lead Teacher
In the age of social media and increasing societal pressures, it's becoming evident that the tween years, once a season of innocence and self-discovery, are slipping away faster than we realize.
Open up any social media app, and you’ll likely be bombarded with videos of tween “influencers” showing off their extravagant Sephora and Ulta hauls, alongside videos of employees from these stores begging parents to, well, parent their kids when they’re shopping.
Proverbs 22:6, a pretty familiar scripture for parents, tells us:
"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it."
As moms, we cling to that verse in hopes that we’re instilling good, godly principles into our children. That we’re praying about their bents, how God made them, and what He wants them to be. That their desire will be to seek God for themselves and come into relationship with Him.
It’s our role as Christian moms to guide our daughters in the way of the Lord, preserving their innocence and nurturing their hearts with the love and truth found in Scripture. But what happens when the lure of the world is so strong it doesn’t seem like our guidance is working? What do we do when it seems like our daughter’s tween years are disappearing or that she’s skipping them altogether?
The tween years seem to be fading away as our girls are bombarded with societal expectations at a younger age. A concerning trend is the rise of tweens using high-end beauty products, mimicking the beauty routines of adults. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok flood their pages with tween influencers and beauty gurus showcasing seemingly glamorous lives, enticing our daughters to embrace adult beauty standards prematurely. The pressure to fit in and conform to societal norms can erode their sense of self and divert their focus from what truly matters.
Neither my 12-year-old nor 15-year-old daughters have social media accounts. But somehow they still know beauty influencers and the new make-up trends. My 15-year-old is allowed a little highlighter and mascara, but every now and then she’ll hop in the car with her cheeks a little more “rouge” than usual. And yes, I remember the days of wanting to wear a little more make-up or style my hair a little bit more “sophisticated.” But, I also know that we’re living in a time where it’s no longer “a little bit more.” Some of our girls are downright obsessed over these trends and these beauty products.
As tweens, they’re learning that a trip to Sephora or Ulta can totally transform the way you look. A highlight here, a contour there, and you can attain a beauty standard that will make others envious!
It's essential to actively engage with our daughters during this critical stage.
Here are some ways to help you do that:
- Encourage Open Communication: Create a safe space for open conversations. Talk about what works for your household. Every household is different. While we always want to make sure we’re first following what God says, we then need to seek His wisdom on how that applies to those in our homes.
When my daughter has more color on her face than agreed upon, we remind her of the rules and she “un-rouges” those cheeks. But then we talk about why she felt she needed to put more on in the first place. Whether it’s the influence from social media or a desire to be “seen,” we must always bring it back to the importance of finding identity in Christ.
- Use Scripture as Your Guide: Share relevant verses that emphasize inner beauty, self-worth, and the value God places on their hearts. Here are a couple that we love:
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."
- Find Counter-Cultural Influences: Introduce positive role models who exemplify godly character rather than conforming to worldly standards. These women don’t have to be on social media. They can be young women you know who embody Christian values and go against what culture says the beauty standard is.
- Balancing Faith and Trends: Instead of dismissing their interests outright, let's guide our daughters with a Christian perspective. Philippians 4:8 encourages us to focus on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable." By emphasizing these values, we can help our daughters discern between healthy self-expression and succumbing to societal pressures.
Mom, let's cherish and protect the innocence of these tween years, and help keep our daughters rooted in the values that matter most.
As always, we are praying and pulling for you!
Looking for more ways to teach your daughter about true beauty?