Your Daughter’s Relationships
by Dannah Gresh
A little girl’s relationships are critical to her overall development. Little boys like relationships.
Little girls need them.
Your daughter’s friends are becoming increasingly more important to her. Sixty-seven percent of tween girls—those aged 8 to 12—say that “having lots of friends” is among the top three factors that give them the most confidence.1 As your daughter ages, you’ll see an increase in talking and a definite increase in usage of social media like Facebook and online messaging. Don’t be surprised if you’re nagged because “everyone else” has a cell phone. She was created to communicate, so her relationships are going to be taking a top priority in her life!
Guys may become interesting to her, but she’s not ready for relationships yet. Being in a dating relationship for six months or longer is a significant risk factor for early teen sexual activity.2 Can you see why it might not be that “cute” for our 8-to12-year-olds to be boy-crazy or have multiple boyfriends while they are still in the fourth grade? If she develops the pattern of “needing” a guy when she is eight or nine, she’s going to be in many six-month relationships in her early teen years. That’s not wise. Let’s help her to slow down the boy-crazy train in her circle of friends.
Her relationship with her daddy—or a father figure—is a literal lifeline. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that “reams of research show that girls who are close to their dads are less likely to be promiscuous, develop eating disorders, drop out of school or commit suicide.”3 A daddy’s love keeps a girl emotionally stable. That could be a great challenge in your daughter’s life depending on how and whether her daddy is involved in her life. Let me show you how to approach the issue so that you can make the daddy factor—no matter what your situation—good news.
Her relationship with you is still one she treasures. Seventy-two percent of tween girls feel they can talk to their mom about anything.4 And they do. Don’t miss this, Mom. In just a few years (or months), she’s going to start to feel a little different about that. (She may even act as if you’ve had a lobotomy!) Use this time when her heart is open to prepare her and train her. This is the time to talk about friendships, boys, and other big issues—while her heart is receptive to your wisdom. What she learns about relationships now determines how she’ll date, marry, and build a family—with a healthy God-directed plan or with a selfish, often self-destructive plan. It’ll help her or hinder her in establishing a life purpose. Your discipleship in this area will equip her to be the heartbeat of God on this earth or train her to spread the mess of broken relationships.
Teach her well, Mom.
1. “National Survey Shatters Perception of ‘Tween’ Girls,” Business Wire,
October 10, 2003; retrieved July 26, 2007, www.highbeam.com.
2. Joshua Mann, Joe S. McIlhaney Jr., and Curtis C. Stine, Building Healthy
Futures (Austin, TX: Medical Institute for Sexual Health, 2000)
3. Jeffrey Zaslow, “Daddy’s Girl, Interrupted: In A World of Date Rate, Drugs and Risque Clothing, these are Precarious Times for Fathers,” Chicago Sun-Times, November 19, 2003; retrieved July 26, 2007, www.highbeam.com.
4. “National Survey Shatters Perception of ‘Tween’ Girls.”