I was a child of the 80's: Cabbage Patch Kids, Rainbow Brite, Little House on the Prairie, The Babysitters Club Books...There were so many things in that decade that a girl in her preteen years could enjoy. I was extremely shy, quiet, and really liked doing certain things by myself (now we have labels such as introverted, highly sensitive person, etc.). I had a very awkward preteen phase, but I also had things that brought me so much joy like painting, sticker collections, being creative, reading books, sleepovers with friends, riding my bike, decorating my room, and traveling with my family. Only years later I realized what kind of impact those things had on who I would become.
My daughter has always inspired me with her unique personality, courageous heart, and "outside the box" creativity. When she was about 10 years old, I could see she was becoming more herself and at the same time wanting to explore new things. Her interests, hobbies and collections reflected who she was to the world. I wanted her to wholeheartedly embrace who she was.
The world wants to push our girls from childhood right into adulthood. But we have this very short window of time where our girls should be just that--girls. They are in the in-between of life. They want to grow up and do grown up things and they also want to stay childlike and do things they have enjoyed as kids. It can be a confusing time and its when their world starts expanding that we can help guide them.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, says that “age 12 to 18 is the most challenging cycle in the entire human life.” And she recommends that we help our kids grow confidence in their identities by encouraging them in their interests (healthy ones of course).
As moms we can gently help (not control) our daughters at an early age to embrace timeless hobbies like reading, art and travel, encouraging them to write letters, take walks in nature, learn gardening, art journaling, starting collections, how to decorate their rooms, be a good friend, and observe the world around them.
Helping them explore their interests will give them the groundwork for confidence in making important decisions in their lives. They are growing up in a time with distractions, entertainment, and comparison at their fingertips. I love technology and the convenience it affords us today. But like so many generations have taught us before, we only have this one sweet life and we should live it fully.
Let’s encourage our girls to embrace their girlhood, to grow in independence and enjoy their youth. As moms we are leaving them a legacy and the opportunity to carry it forward into their future and for future generations.
Have you thought about what legacy you want for your daughter? Is there something you want her to learn and carry with her through her life?