It was tough, but we did it. My husband and I raised not one, not two, but four daughters—and lived to tell the tale!
All joking aside, it was a challenging but rewarding experience that neither my husband (bless his heart) nor I would change. We did a lot of things right. We also could have done many things better. But through it all, we learned a lot about ourselves and we thank the Lord for the lessons. If you have girls to raise, these tips may save you from a lot of stress!
1. Yes, there will be drama, drama, drama! It’s a fact. Embrace the emotions and over-sensitivity and you will be the better person for it. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Burn this verse into your heart and mind, as it is the most important thing to remember about raising girls. I’m still learning.
2. Celebrate their individuality and forego comparisons. It’s easy to lump them all together whenever you deal with an issue, mete out discipline, or enjoy family activities. Girls need to know they are unique. When you acknowledge their individuality and run with it, you help them to discover their God-given gifts and potential. When you recognize their uniqueness, you build camaraderie and squash competitiveness.
3. Allow Dad his time and space. I’m married to a phenomenal man. Rarely did he need some time to himself. But on those rare occasions when he did, I tried to encourage his time alone or away from the family. Men need to revel in their "manliness" at times, no matter how family-oriented they are. And dads—return the favor!
4. Give your girls lots of praise. Everyone thrives when they are affirmed, and this is especially true with girls.
5. Weigh your words carefully. Even in the best of circumstances, your motives will often be questioned and meanings will be read into your words that were not intended. If you know this ahead of time, you will be wiser in how to approach difficult issues or discussions.
6. Develop a sense of humor without sarcasm or condescension. Many a crisis can be diffused if you don’t take the issue too seriously.
7. Be a great listener. Girls need to emote. They emote with words. When you’re willing to listen, no matter how unreasonable their thoughts, it helps them to filter out their emotions that at times overwhelm. Sometimes just a listening ear encourages them to sort through their problems and no further action is required.
You are on the roller coaster ride of your life when you raise girls, but you’ll discover that the dividends far outweigh the many challenges. Keep calm, carry on, and pray a lot!
Pam A. is a mother of four and the grandmother of two. She has extensive media background as a former assistant children's librarian and a Christian school library media specialist.
Photo by A.Shazly (www.flickr.com).