One of the books I continually recommend to moms and those who work with girls is Raising Girls by Melissa Trevathan & Sissy Goff. It is an amazing read and a great reference when talking with moms about some of the stages they can expect to see their daughter experience physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have had the opportunity to be a conference leader at a couple of girls events that Melissa and Sissy have led. As I have gotten to hear their heart for girls not only just in their books but in conversation, I knew that they were two people that the Girlsminister.com community needed to hear from as well. Below is an email interview that Sissy dialogued with me on. I know you will find it as insightful as I did.
Sissy and Melissa,
I have some moms, leaders, and teenaged girls that are doing a blog project with me to help bring
about some key conversations.
We are working to create some healthy dialogue among those who pour into the lives of
teenaged girls and their families. The intention of these conversations is that they would
help shape the way that the home and the church intentionally and strategically raises
Godly young women to know their identity, significance, and purpose is rooted in Christ. I have come up with 5 questions to begin that conversation with you. Thanks for your thoughts in advance and for all you do to help shape this conversation:
1. Girls ministry is a buzzword in and among churches right now. It seems that
churches are recognizing that girls need to be recognized and cared for differently. How
is that impacting the ministry you have to girls and their families?
We are really excited that churches are recognizing that girls are different and need to be cared for differently. We would say that girls are being reached more “where they are”…both understood and taught in a way that reaches to the hearts of who they are and what they really do need. It seems to be helping them gain confidence in who they are and who God has created them to be, as well.
2. One of the things that we keep hearing back from those who have heard you speak on
developmental stages was: “It was so encouraging to hear about the different things
happening in our brains that cause disruptions in our normal thinking patterns.” It
seems that this sort of knowledge of developmental stages among girls was helpful to
not only moms but also teenaged girls. Is this something you incorporate into your
ministry to girls and families? If so, how have you seen this help through the stages
where girls and their moms may not know how to communicate anymore?
We definitely are trying to get the word out about developmental stages not just to parents, but to girls as well. It is a huge part of why we have written two books for girls: Mirrors and Maps for 11-14 year-olds and Growing Up Without Getting Lost for 15-19 year-olds. So often, the default thinking with girls whenever they are wrestling with something is that “something is wrong with me.” We have seen the relief the developmental information provides girls in our counseling offices. One girl met with us and said, “Do you remember how you told me my brain was going to change and mess up my confidence? Well, it’s happening.” It was so encouraging to us to hear that she knew it was a part of her physical development, rather than a flaw in who she is. We have also seen this information help girls and moms with communication. Especially during the teenage years, there are a lot of communication struggles for moms and girls. To know that it is a very NORMAL part of development can not only help girls understand that what they are going through is normal, but can help moms’ realize that the lack of communication is not due to their failure as a parent. It has more to do with a daughter’s need to develop her independence and, because she has been closest to her mom, it is often her mom she feels the need to push away the most.
3. What would you suggest to a mother and daughter that are wanting to have the
ability to not only communicate during these tough teen years but to also take away
some good memories?
Find places, activities and time you can enjoy together. And, to the moms, that means time where you are not teaching, instructing or correcting. Your daughter needs to know that you are spending time with her for the sheer purpose of enjoying her (which can be difficult during those teen years). Dig into her culture. Find things she loves–find out why she loves those things. Watch a silly television show with her. Go on walks. Ask her about her friends. Take a mother/daughter trip. Read a book together. Watch home movies. Anything you can do to connect. Don’t put pressure on each other to have a heart-to-heart each time. It can even be singing motown songs in the car. Just find ways to connect with laughter and enjoyment. Girls who are delighted in feel more delightful, and this is a tremendous gift you can offer your daughter at any age.
4. What advice and/or encouragement would you give to those who minister to teen girls
and their families?
For most of us as adults, adolescents can feel like a lifetime ago. It is easy to forget how difficult those years were. Parents need help understanding life from the perspective of their girls–education as to what is happening inside of them, and outside from a cultural perspective. And girls need help knowing that, although their friends are a huge part of their life, their families are important and have a lot to offer them, as well. Helping them find places to connect–and even giving them opportunities to do so is huge!
5. What is something you love about working with teen girls and their families?
To see when parents and girls do connect…when girls can let go of the “they don’t understand” and see their parents as people who not only understand but truly love and have a vision for who God is creating their girls to be.
THANKS Melissa and Sissy for taking the time to share!
Make sure and check them out on their blog at: