Keeping the Little in Little Girl

by tiffany on June 25, 2010 in Faithfulness, Ministry, Nurture, Purpose, Responsibility


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There is a rising epidemic in our culture.

Have you noticed it?

The length of childhood, for little girls especially, is rapidly decreasing. It is a sad phenomenon. When I was a child, I can remember playing with my dolls until I was 14 or 15 years old. There was no shame in it, no push for me to grow up. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case today. Everywhere I look I see little girls dressing older, talking older, and acting older. In my opinion this should not be. We are taking something very special from our daughters when we don’t allow them to enjoy a lengthy childhood.

Childhood, this marvelous girlhood, only happens one time. We need to protect it and cherish it for our little girls. I want this for my daughter, but the cultural pressure suffocating these dear ones, pushing them to look and to act grown up is overwhelming. However, we as mommies, can push back. Here are some of the ways that we can protect childhood for our daughters.

Let’s limit media – the obvious is TV, but also magazines (let us be careful as moms what magazines we are reading), music, internet, video games, and even some books. They may seem harmless at first, but our children are so impressionable. Is this what we really want impressed on them?

Let’s allow our little girls to look like little girls, pretty bows, frilly shirts, twirly skirts, braids, pig tails and the like help to preserve this girlhood period a bit longer. While it is fun for our daughters to play dress up and experiment with our makeup, let’s keep it for play for now and put the dress up clothes back in the closet and the makeup back in our drawer when play time is over.

While we are raising these little ones to one day be homemakers, and that is the majority of the reason for this site, we do not have to push them into being little women just yet. They can learn a lot from us by our modeling, rather than formally training them in every task. Let them be little and practice in their toy room with their baby dolls, strollers, kitchen sets, and ironing boards. There will be plenty of time for our daughters to do it for real later.

I also strongly believe that allowing our little girls special time with their daddy keeps them little longer. Being accepted and loved and cherished by their daddy, keeps them from longing for that affection outside the home. Essentially it keeps her little longer. Along with that, little girls also need fun interaction with their mommy. Let’s show them our silly, soft side. Get on the floor and be crazy, create zoo animals out of play dough at the kitchen table, craft with glue and scissors and messy, but oh so delightful, glitter, put puzzles together, read and snuggle on the couch. Allow her be a child in her own home.

I think that a long, sunny childhood is an amazing preparation for adulthood, and it is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to our girls. We cannot slow down the clock, but we can make the most of the minutes that God blesses us with.

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How do you keep your little girl little?

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Tiffany blogs at amomentcherished.com. Grab a cup of coffee and join her as she maneuvers through the moments of motherhood.

tiffany

I am my husband's Sweetheart, my childrens Mommy, and daughter of the King. I spend my days loving and teaching my children. I am just an ordinary housewife serving my extraordinary God. My days are blessed. I blog at www.amomentcherished.com and love having guests.

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{ 60 comments }

Kimberly June 25, 2010

We have 3 girls. Our oldest, stay-at-home daughter is nearly 22, {twin boys, age 14} our two younger daughters are 11 and 9. We’ve kept our girls “little” several ways. Number one, has to be homeschooling. Our children are their own little peer group. I’d say the other major influence is their toys, the girls toys are all centered around mothering, families and homemaking. They each have a corner in their room that is there “home”, their dolls are 18″ American Girl dolls (historical) and a Bitty Baby each- No barbie dolls here. I’ve made tons of clothes for their dolls, recently I fashioned a dolly diaper bag {it’s on our blog} as a birthday gift for our youngest, our middle daughter liked it so much, I now have the fabric to make her one too.

I’ve told them how when I was 12, I really wanted this particular baby doll for Christmas, my Mom told me I was getting to old for dolls, I received the dolly anyway, she was very special, at that age I was able to design and sew clothes for her myself. I’ve told the girls this story and add, that they will never be too old for dolls and they can play with them as long as they wish!

And correcting a mistake we made with our oldest daughter, we limit their participation in our church youth group. The girls in the youth group became her peer group, which introduced her to worldly ways to early. We did allow her to go to sleepover nights with friends, we do not allow sleepovers with friends here or away for the younger four. {we have several groups of friends who do the same thing}

We also implement many of the ideas mentioned in article, we do not have tv connected in our home, we limit computer time for the children, they are only allowed on certain sites. We dress modestly too and we talk alot about Biblical living, living in moderation. It does take effort to keep our children, children, but it is really worth the effort.

Clara June 25, 2010

This is my personal opinon, so please don’t take offence – but I think it is ridiculous to allow a child near make-up even for play. On the other hand, I agree – it is ridiculous to dress children in clothing that is designed to look like the clothes teenagers wear, only in a miniature size… I love my little girl wearing frilly, pretty dresses and clothes that have cute little pictures of duckies or little girls or other cute (non-barbie/Dora the explorer) patterns on them!! I completely agree – our little girls need to be allowed to BE little girls!
Interestingly, on the other end of the scale, I think while a lot of teenage girls in the world look and put on the older-age act, underneath it all they are SO very immature because there comes a stage when society encourages everyone to be “young”, so I think it does come to the point where there is a fine line and we need to encourage maturity in our daughters as they grow older.
I enjoyed this article – it certainly made me think!! 🙂

tiffany June 25, 2010

No offense taken! {grin} You are so right – as someone mentioned on the Raising Homemakers facebook page – it is a balance.

It is a delicate balance, though. We do not want to race past their precious childhood, but on the other hand we do not want them to reach adulthood being childish. Great thoughts, Clara!

Hannah Stevenson June 25, 2010

I loved this post. Thank you!

Britta June 25, 2010

I love this post! I feel the same way. I keep the little in my little girls by being silly with them, encouraging their play with baby dolls, their play kitchen, dollhouse, dress ups, etc. I love dressing them up in bows and “frills” and doing their hair “like a princess”. I never thought it would be this much fun to have girls. They love their Daddy too! And they’ve got him wrapped around their little finger.

Karen June 25, 2010

I have sat down at my computer so many times to type out these very ideas. My 11 yod confided in me several months ago that she doesn’t want to grow up. I told her “don’t”. The time will come soon enough when she won’t want to play dolls or family anymore. I felt like I was pushed to grow up too fast. In 6th grade I WAS still playing dolls but that wasn’t socially acceptable in the new (wealthy) town that I had just moved to. . .so I reluctantly put them away. And I have always felt as an adult that was very immature. It’s almost like I didn’t get enough time to play out the little girl in me and so I have struggled as an adult to mature in the right ways. Thank you for sharing this idea. Not enough people recognize our little girls need to be little. I find it so sad when I see little girls my own daughters’ ages being made up to look as if they were my own age.

Tracey June 25, 2010

Having two daughters aged nine and seven, this is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. How I long to maintain the innocency of their childhood for as long as possible! We follow the suggestions you mention above and, with God’s help and through much prayer, seek to give them a few more years as “litte girls.”

Lisa H. June 25, 2010

I think this is very important to let our girls enjoy their childhood by playing at home or at the playground as well as training them to do things around the house. I believe it requires a healthy balance which depends on their age. When they are littler, it means more playtime. For our family, God has pulled us out of all extra activities during the school year and we only do 2 short activities during the summer. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that I need to be by her side more and playing with her more.

Michelle June 25, 2010

Well said! I think this is a lesson that many of us need to be reminded of now and again. :o)

Angela at Coupon Makeover June 25, 2010

I will definitely be linking to this article! Thank you for sharing these things with all of us.

I have had difficulty finding clothes for my 9 yr old because of how tall she is. She is in the “tween” sizes (12-14), and the clothes DO NOT look like a little girl anymore. I have found that shopping at thrift stores brings in more “girly” clothes, or wearing stretchy capris under the shorter dresses, plus a hair bow, keeps her looking more her age.

I just started doing a mother daughter devotional with dd9. I get her up earlier than her siblings and we have that special time together. I have already seen the difference it makes in our relationship. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

tiffany June 25, 2010

I LOVE the mother daughter devotional idea! How lovely!!

Jennifer S. Jansky June 25, 2010

That was beautiful, thank you. 🙂

Cheryl June 25, 2010

We have seven daughters and believe it is very important to allow our daughters to be little girls. They enjoy impromptu tea parties and playing house, though many times their baby brother is chosen instead of dolls (lol!).I do agree with Clara (we don’t allow playing with makeup). Nor do we have Barbies or television. I am sickened by the clothes in Wal-Mart for little girls. So many times I’ve wanted to go to those mommies who are shopping with their daughters and say, “If you don’t buy it, they’ll quit making it!”

Mama Mirage June 25, 2010

I’ve thought to say the same thing. 😉 My daughter needed underwear from the children’s section this year as she outgrew the baby/toddler section. I about had a heart attack! Little stripper butt crack underwear for 4 year olds! I could have cried at how sickening!
I’m trying to re-teach myself how to sew so I can make my girls feminine, modest clothes. It’s so expensive to buy anything that doesn’t have more than 3 inches of fabric to it and I certainly don’t want my toddler parading around in tube tops and daisy dukes.

Chris June 25, 2010

I really appreciate your thoughts. I have been sharing some of the same. I have started making pretend playthings for my girls that encourage the little mama in them. I loved playing with my babies when I was little, and am trying to encourage them to do the same.

Julie June 25, 2010

We try to shelter our girls, 13, 10, 8, and newborn from all of those things but the truth is they encounter them. Grandma runs Disney 24/7 and that is her worst flaw. I don’t feel comfortable keeping them from her because of that one infraction. She is such a great and loving Grandma.
We go to church and all the older girls are dressing for the club. My girls stare at them with envy.
At the store they are drawn to the skinny jeans and too tight tops. The bikinis and spiky heels in child’s size 5. Not that they are allowed to wear those things but it is so frustrating to me.
My 8yo talks constantly about when she is a grown up she will wear all of those clothes.
They have a room full of dolls and cooking stuff and art supplies but they rarely play with them. Instead they mope around the house waiting for the one hour a night they are allowed to play a video game. A compromise with my DH.
They act like they never have any fun.
I’m just so discouraged.

tiffany June 25, 2010

I wish I had some wise words to give you, and I am hoping another woman who has walked ahead of us may. I just want to encourage you to keep plugging along. We really are in a battle against the culture we live in. I will be praying for you. Maybe this will encourage your heart a bit. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Mama Mirage June 25, 2010

*HUGS* to you Julie! I’m so sorry! Your heart must be breaking to see those most precious to you turning their backs on the values that will protect them! I am saying a prayer for your family right now.
I listened to a very wise message a while back and learned that a child will follow whoever has their heart. You can tell who has a child’s heart by what they want in life. If they want to grow up to be just like Daddy, well Daddy obviously has their heart. If they want to grow up to be just like the world… Your children’s peer group has their heart and so they want to follow their peer group in their choices of clothing and games. This is why so many children raised in Christian homes grow up and don’t want anything to do with God -because the parents whose values those were didn’t have the child’s heart- their God-hating peer group did. You CAN win them away from those influences! Here is the link to the message, you can listen to it online for free:
http://www.charityministries.org/msg_detail.a5w?vlast_index=1644

Mimi2mykids June 25, 2010

First let me say that I agree completely with every thing mentioned in your blog and the posts other moms have left. We homeschool, and also firmly believe in sheltering our children and keeping them young and innocent for as long as possible.

I think, however, that there is another component to this equation: our children are exposed to too much estrogen. It is in our water, in most plastic bottles and leeches into our food/drinks, it is in milk. Even though I was very proactive in my attempt to decrease the amount of exposure to our family, my daughter still “matured” at a MUCH earlier age than I did: she was eleven…. At twelve, we still desire to keep her young and innocent, but once they reach a certain point in their physical development, they truly do change. Instead of having a little girl, I now have a young woman. Does this make sense?

May I encourage all of you moms to do your best to be educated on how much we are bombarded with estrogen in our environment. It is not healthy for us, our daughters, or our boys and husbands. I pray that more people will be educated and proactive, in a Godly and gentle way, against this issue.

kelly June 25, 2010

loved this and it is soooo true. Thanks for sharing it. =0)

Christy June 25, 2010

I grew up way too fast. Not in the sense of dressing grown up or doing things I shouldn’t have been doing at my age, but emotionally I grew up way too fast. I was a child of a single mother who loved me desperately, but who also put too much adult stuff on me. By that I mean that she talked to me about her adult problems. I think that we as mothers need to protect our children from some of the “realities” we deal with as adults. Our children need to be carefree, trust that they are taken care of and snuggled on every chance we get. They don not need to know about our financial problems, our issues with our friends, marital issues, etc. I sometimes, often times, wish I had the innocent mind some of my friends did. Even to this day, my friends tell me I have an “old soul”. That saddens me some because I never feel as if I fit in with my age of people. I always connect better with older women. I think this too is something we should think about as we raise our precious girls (and boys!). Let them be kids in EVERY way! Their innocence honors God… let’s not dishonor Him by making them old before their time! 🙂
Thanks for posting!

Mama Mirage June 25, 2010

I was told too much alot of times too. There is nothing more emotionally disturbing and confusing to a child than having a parent vent to them. Parents should never vent to their children. Even when I got married I found it disturbing if a parent would vent to me- especially about the other parent! How heartbreaking for a child to be put in the middle of a situation they know nothing about like that! 🙁 There also needs to be a balance I think and they need to be taught more and more as they grow up and while innocence is always a blessing, they need to learn some real world facts about time and money and the way people work or they’ll have no idea what to do when they leave the nest.

Kia June 25, 2010

to Kimberly – I wanted to comment on your comment about sleepovers, and that you do not allow them at your house. While I understand about not wanting your girls to sleep over at other homes, I think it is a shame not to let them have a sleepover at your own house…since it’s your home, you will have the influence over what they do, and what a great role model you can be for the other girls!! Think of the fun your girls can have sharing their toys and games with friends, and all the while you are there to supervise and speak into their lives.

Kimberly June 25, 2010

To Kia- I learned about sex (in a worldy way, not the mechanics or Godly ways) at a supervised sleepover in my parents house at about age 12! The supervision ends when the parents go to bed! Trust me, they aren’t missing out on anything! Like I said too, most of our friends don’t allow sleepovers either.

To Julie- We too have had issues with Grandparents, feeling the need to “educate” our children with worldly things. While it isn’t easy, I’ve had to just let the Grandma’s (the gift buyers usually) that we are a dresses only & modest family and shared the type of clothing that our children will wear. For the most part that has worked. We also have had conversations with them about tv/movies while our children are with them. It’s all about communicating how you are raising your children. The children have received gifts from Grandparents, which have gone straight to the donations bag. Being the gatekeeper is a tough job, and not always friendly, as the children reach adulthood it’s so worth the effort.

Tonia C June 25, 2010

We too homeschool and keep our daughter sheltered as much as possible- no T.V., only Christian radio….I have found some amazing resources that have made this easier for me. American Heritage Girls is a fantastic organization that allows all the fun and girl camraderie of scouts without the destructive world view- if you can find a troop near you I really encourage it, if you can’t- contact the national group and find out how to start one! Also a fellow blogger Dannah Gresh has started an amazing ministry called Pure Freedom (for teens) and Secret Keeper Girl (for younger girls). She does fun shows and has a great website that gives girls the fun stuff they crave with a focus on purity and modesty. She will be publishing a book this year entitled “Keeping the Little in your Little Girl”- which I certainly plan to read.
No, I’m not a paid advertiser :)….I have just found that getting involved in these things has surrounded me with wonderful Christian moms and their girls and have given my daughter and I the chances to connect and learn and grow while keeping ourselves separate from the world- it’s easy to feel isolated in our work with our children, but there truly are others out there doing the same things and we can join together to make it more fun….and more effective.

MDiskin June 25, 2010

Balance is SO important here! I was raised so strictly, and just felt different from everyone. My parents spent all their time working in the church and almost none training us up, so although outwardly I didn’t grow up too fast, I wasn’t at ALL prepared for the culture shock of college. While I know that this post is more about the difficulty of keeping kids’ play and dress innocent, I think that it’s much more multifaceted: outward modest and age-appropriate dress, inward “fruits of the spirit” development, and training our kids to value good hard work and contentment (all within the framework and infilling of the Lord).

I am so thankful that our television is no more. I keep away from Barbies and too much princess-ing. When possible I look for toys I loved on eBay. We do crafts and coloring and the girls play outside a ton, and gardening is a blast with little kids! Oh, and I buy sweet clothes at thrift shops, Hanna Andersson, Land’s End/Sears and Gymboree… my girls are very tall so my 4YO is wearing a size 7. Sadly, it’s at that age where you see the skank explode into the clothing department in the stores.

On the negative side, I have started asking my preschooler to close her eyes or turn her head when we pass most media displays (magazines, video games, movies). Even a 2D image can really impact them.

Kimberly June 25, 2010

Our oldest was mortified by what she saw at community college in her first weeks there, even though she’d been out in the world, working etc. Even though she was prepared. She quickly caught on to the ant-Christian teachings- alternative lifestyle groups were all over the place trying to “recruit” students, lit assignments featured all sorts of trashy literature (in the name of art) and evolution was boldly taught and Creation bashed in a biology class she took- she enjoyed the music classes though, those were generally neutral. She ended up leaving communtiy college after a little over a year, feeling that she did not need “that type of education”.

Mama Mirage June 25, 2010

Wow Kimberly you must be so proud to have a daughter with such wisdom! 🙂

Lacy October 16, 2010

Someone mentioned in an above comment, that they had started asking their toddler to turn their heads away from magazines at the store. We encounter this type of thing EVERY time we go to check out at the grocery store! Here’s what I do, (it annoys the store clerks and management, but I feel it protects my kids and gets my point across.) Before I push the cart carrying my child to the check out, I turn every magazine cover over to where you cannot see the front! Sorry cosmo, my kids don’t need to know “10 ways to touch a naked man”! I’m also quick to commend management that has a separate section away from check outs where the magazines are located. I let them know they earn my patronage by those choices!

Miriam June 25, 2010

Excellent post. Hubby and I are always looking for ways to protect oue sweet little 3 year old from the world. 🙂

Jennifer June 25, 2010

This blog has been such a blessing to me! I have only been reading it for a short time, but have put into practice a few things. I amazed at how my daughter responded and what a good time we have together. I want my little girl(and my boys too) to enjoy childhood. It will all too soon be over and adult life will begin.

christy June 25, 2010

I help my little girls enjoy their childhood by letting them play outside, get dirty, have pets to care for, run around, climb trees, get into their art, etc. Then I give them tastes of outward womanhood (make-up play & dress up) when they are curious. I don’t like Barbie, she set me up for disappointment in how God made me for several years in my teens & early 20’s.
I had one daughter who was so interested in breasts & bras & how bodies work, etc. I thought I was doomed to experience her growing up too fast. But, I got her special cami’s and told her they would be like practice bras and taught her about modesty, purity and the goal of growing up to be a woman of God in every way. It was just what she needed!
We’re still early in the process of raising future young women, but I liked this article and being conscious of our choices and will remember to enjoy our little girls and allow them to be little!

Jennifer Lavender June 25, 2010

I needed to read this post today. I fear that in some ways I am forcing my girls to grow up too quickly, especially my oldest. She has such a natural mothering heart so I rely way too much on her to care for and love on her younger siblings when I have my hands full with something else. And she’s only 7!

I don’t think we’ve ever thought about how to keep our girls little either. They do lots of little girl things naturally. They love wearing dresses and playing with their dolls. They love playing outside in the dirt, chasing bugs, and exploring too, all things that I think help keep them little, even if they aren’t very girly.

Thanks for the reminder to think about our day to day actions with more intention towards keeping that young spirit alive.

Suzy June 25, 2010

Jennifer,

My oldest is 7 1/2. She to has the natural mommy thing going and is a great help. I agree with what you said about not relying on our oldest so much. My kiddo’s are 7 1/2, 6, 4 1/2, 2 1/2 years old. The thing I find that I do is forget to assign the others “duties” as well. I don’t always take the time to train them. I have a friend who has 8 kids ranging in ages 18-2yo. She gave me some great advice one time. She decides which things are age appropriate. The as they grow they get to “graduate” up to the next set of responsibilities w/ the one who was doing them getting to “train” them on how to do the new chores. It’s something I want to start implementing in our home. I do agree with the article for the most part. However I have met families who’s daughter’s were kept very immature. I like the idea of figuring out how to raise them to be innocent but also speaking truth to them about what to avoid. I wonder is it possible to keep them “little” but not immature? Anyways, I appreciate your response
God Bless

Amanda June 25, 2010

This post was so true it brought tears to my eyes! And I was just as blessed by the comments as the article. It is so encouraging to know that there are others out there desiring to raise their daughters in a godly manner.

I know this is a website for raising daughters but I also think it’s important to note that something similar is happening to our little boys. They are being led to believe from a very young age that they are supposed to be tough and violent. Let’s teach them that compassion and love are qualities not “girls” but qualities of a child of God.

What a blessing this website is! Thank you contributors and commenters!

Ramona June 25, 2010

Allowing your 12-year old to work for a neighbor 12 hours a day is hardly keeping her a little girl. Yet you wrote recently about your daughter doing just that. But playing with Barbies will end her childhood?

At least she’d be playing, not changing diapers for weeks on end.

Are you talking about keeping her little, or keeping her sexually innocent? If so, it’s OK to mop floors, because that has nothing to do with sex. But watching Hannah Montana might teach her about sexuality, which is bad.

Be careful not to buy into the “epidemic” that you speak of. Keep your own little girl “little” by allowing her to play!

tiffany June 25, 2010

I just wanted to clarify that there are multiple contributors writing for this site. We are all striving to raise our daughters in a God-honoring way, and yet we all need to search the Scriptures for ourselves for that truth. hopefully this site is a wonderful launching point to individual study. None of us will do things exactly the same – not even all of us contributors will raise our daughters exactly alike. The post written about the 12 year old girl was written by a different contributor than myself, so that may be why it seems a bit contradictory.
Hope that helps! Thanks for sharing!

Mama Mirage June 25, 2010

I agree that kids are enticed early into trying to look and act like adults but not in a maturity way, more of they are trying to act out the sins of the adult world before they are old enough to fully understand the consequences. All they can see is the fun and acceptance, not the burden of guilt and consequences that follow a person through life when they start that chain reaction of indulgence. I think that, like Clara was saying, the world’s children are looking older sooner (and physically maturing sooner like Mimi2mykids said) but inside they have no true maturity and are not prepared to function as contributing members of a family or of society as a whole. And that right there is the key I think, if they are not taught how to be a contributing member of a family then they will struggle when they are suddenly supposed to be a contributing member of society and they don’t understand basic principles of sharing, giving, respect, etc. because they still think that the world revolves around doing what feels good whenever they want to and they still expect someone to bail them out every time they encounter the consequences of such a careless life. So I totally agree with letting little girls be little girls and play, and I totally agree that it’s not just about how they look but also how they mature on the inside. We want our girls to stay pure but mature in a natural and Godly way. I think that chores can be a great tool to build maturity and responsibility at the right pace. Everything needs balance. Giving a child a chore list is great if the chores and the way you are teaching and enforcing them are meant to build character and work ethic. If you’re just divvying up the work so you don’t have to do it though, that is putting unfair burdens on the children in my opinion and will burn them out and cause resentment. I think there is importance in balance in everything. Balance between allowing them childish play and teaching them adult skills. Balance between having fun and being foolish. Balance between teaching them to work and merely using them to get everything done. Now I don’t think it’s wrong to enlist the kids’ help to get everything done, just that your goals in teaching them these things should be cooperation, character, work ethic, etc. rather than just training free employees- hope that makes sense. I also don’t think it’s wrong to allow kids to have a paying job with a trusted friend or neighbor or relative. They should never be discouraged from having a natural motivation toward things that will be beneficial and needed later in the course of a Godly life. It just needs to be kept age appropriate and balanced. 🙂 If I were to discourage my child from wanting to help me with the laundry because she’s only 3 3/4 that would be wrong of me and just as hurtful to her as it would be to make her do all the laundry herself at 3 1/2 I think. She has a wonderful sense of wanting to be helpful and that is an admirable trait that many adults do not have and this trait should be praised and nourished, not cut off at the pass in favor of dolls and tea parties. And I in NO WAY have anything at all against dolls and tea parties! (I still have my American Girl that I got when I was about 12 years old after I was “too old” for dolls and I enjoyed many hours in my teen years designing and sewing and crocheting clothes for her. I will sew her clothes yet again when my daughter is old enough to take good care of such a sentimental doll, and I had tea parties well into my teen years with likeminded friends.) I just think everything needs a balance. A child left to do nothing but play all her childhood is no better off than a child cut off from play all her childhood! Not that I think you were advising that we allw our kids to only play play play and not learn any skills, Mrs. Tiffany. 🙂 Just saying as I’m thinking. 😉
I know I don’t have all the answers and just pray that where there are gaps and wrong thoughts in my opinions that God will teach me His way as I learn and grow and raise my sweet babies. I think it’s a wonderful thing when a person can see the mistakes of their parents and instead of resenting them, using it as an excuse, totally losing any good there might have been in anything their parents did (throwing out the good with the bad), if instead of that the person has the discernment to weed out the bad and keep the good. I think that’s a wonderful blessing to have and I want it. I occasionally find myself in the midst of some knee-jerk reaction to something that reminds me of something my parents did and I’m ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak. My parents did SO MUCH GOOD for me and my siblings, I pray that my tendency to avoid anything that even looks like anything my parents ever might have done in any week adjoining something bad they did will not win out and harm my kids.
Anyway sorry for the mile long ramble. I tend to think outloud or in type and bore people to death.

ladyscott June 25, 2010

I fully intend on keeping my little girl little until she naturally blossoms into womanhood.

I went to public school (graduated 1998) and when we transitioned from 5th grade elementary to 6th grade middle school, suddenly the girls were “so mature” and no longer little girls. We’re talking 10-11 year olds here! They were clamoring for boyfriends, french-kissing random boys in the hallway, wearing revealing clothing (especially the early bloomers), reading Seventeen magazine, talking about suicide, sex, modeling, etc.

I remember feeling as if I were on the outside looking in on a bad after school sitcom! I was so thankful for having a younger sister and using her as an excuse to still play dolls and ponies. It took a few more years before I actually gave up some of my toys, but mostly, they ended up in storage.

Thankfully, despite whining and begging, my parents disallowed the modern music, the popular TV shows, and those horrible magazines!

It was several years of difficulty for me, though, as I was thrusted daily into growing up in the public school system. Dealing with puberty and just wanting to hold onto girlhood just a little longer yet finding myself assaulted by the immature adulthood of my peers in school made those transition years difficult rather than smooth.

Julie June 26, 2010

I recently picked up a Seventeen magazine in a waiting room. I remember reading that magazine in Junior High. I can’t believe I was allowed to read such trash. I recently read somewhere that it’s a actually targeted to middle school girls. BLECH!

Amy Giddings June 25, 2010

Just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying reading the articles, and all the responses out there! I only have one daughter who is three years old. After reading these comments, we went into her bedroom, where she put on her little tutu, and we continued to have a tea party with all of her dollies! It was a lot of fun! Thank you all for reminding me, that there are others out there, who want to keep their little girls sweet and innocent for a very long time! I was so blessed as a child, and I am happy to say that I will be passing those blessings on to my little ones! Good luck to all!! 🙂

Autumn June 26, 2010

I really appreciated this and think it is so true! I just wanted to put my 2 cents in about clothing choices for little girls…..I buy most of my daughters clothing at chain stores Old Navy, Gap, Wal-Mart, Target, Gymboree…..I have absolutely no trouble finding completely appropriate and girly, feminine, modest clothing at any of those stores….through sizes for 12 yr olds!Sure there are awful and immodest choices as well, but that is true of any store! I definitely think it is important to be teaching them modesty and feminity…but we really should try to keep a balance…they do have to live in this world after all….There is nothing wrong with being appropriately stylish! No need to make our daughters feel odd and like they cannot shop anywhere, and have to sew their own clothes….just a bit extreme……As with anything else, there are always choices and options, ways to tweak things to suit our needs! And my daughters love Dora and the Disney princesses….nothing wrong with wearing a Dora shirt, or watching it for that matter! We should be careful to not become legalistic…Just use biblical common sense….Hannah Montana? NO….Dora the Explorer? yes (for some anyway)….. 🙂

Grace June 26, 2010

WHATCH THE COMMERCIALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mama Mirage June 26, 2010

Homemade clothing is among some of the most beautiful there is. I grew up wearing homemade clothing and would choose it over store bought any day of the week. Even as a teenager. Some people do not have okay-ness with enough of the clothing at chain stores to be able to purchase an entire wardrobe there. Of course there are some things there that are appropriate and some that are not and our daughters should be taught discernment, I agree. And when it’s impossible to purchase everything needed for a feminine and modest wardrobe in a chain store, then we must look elsewhere. There is absolutely nothing wrong with one of a kind outfits custom designed and hand sewn- as long as you’re being a good steward with the resources God gave you. I cannot afford to go on eBay and pay $150 for a single custom designed one of a kind hand sewn outfit because it’s fashionable, adorable, and fits my criteria for youthful, modest, feminine attire that I want for my daughters. Why not re-teach myself to sew so I can make her clothes myself? Is that so odd? So socially unacceptable? I don’t think so. That’s probably how those eBay sellers got started! (What a blessing for them!) Besides, even if it were odd or socially unacceptable, God never called us to fit in with the world. He never said we should look or act just like the world. I don’t believe that being fashionable is a quest we should put much of our efforts toward. Sure, lets NOT dress like we crawled out of a dumpster or a motheaten box in the attic. Part of the original meaning of MODESTY is clean and well-presented! So of course I think we should be clean and well-presented! I do not however think that we should worry about being fashionable to the point where we would choose to buy something that we might think is even only barely questionable because the alternative is less culturally appealing. Not that I’ve always avoided this pitfall myself- I admit that there have been times when I felt bad later after buying my daughter a skirt that was just TOO CUTE to pass up but was just a wee bit on the way-too-short side. Or bought her jeans because they had little strawberries on them (oh be still my heart I’m such a sucker for strawberries!) even after finding out that they would not fit her figure in a flattering and modest way. So then every time I would put them on her I was reminded of how I was not a good steward becuase they just did not look appropriate on her and I would have to take them off and she only wore them longer than 2 seconds twice when I was out of all her other clean bottoms.

I’m NOT saying I think that you’re so wrapped up in fashion you’d sacrifice on what’s appropriate to be fashionable. 😉 My point was only that I think you were a bit hasty to jump on those who would rather sew their own clothes when Wally World doesn’t have what they need. It’s not always legalism and those who sew don’t only sew muumuus. 😀 My mom used to be a seamstress and would tailor business suits for rich folks in Princeton before she got married. No muumuus there! She also sewed my wedding dress and later my sister’s too, and they were absolutely fairy-tale perfect! Someday I’d love to sew as well as her.

Autumn June 26, 2010

Mama Mirage— I think you misunderstood my post….I wasn’t saying that it isn’t WONDERFUL to wear Homemade hand sewn clothing, It is!…..If you can sew and love to do that for your daughter and yourself…Great! I certainly never said it was socially unacceptable to do so…..
I was just challenging the majority of posts that seemed to suggest that was the ONLY way to have a truly modest, appropriate wardrobe for our daughters! I do not enjoy sewing…but I do enjoy dressing my little girls and myself modestly AND fashionably! There is nothing wrong with that…..and I was making the point that it is QUITE easy to do so without sewing or fashioning clothes myself…..It’s just not my thing……I just think it is a bit extreme to suggest that the majority of little girls fashion is tube tops and daisy dukes….it’s just not true…….
And wanting to be pleasing to the eye and lovely for my husband isn’t being “Obsessed” with fashion….sadly, too many times I see christian wives put that aside, and kind of forget that it is important to be attractive for our spouses….Not just strictly modest, comfortable and functional with our wardrobes….also something to be teaching our young women! 🙂
I wasn’t jumping on anyone who sews…..I think it is great if you can, but not everybody can or even wants to, and that is ok too! 🙂

Alok May 21, 2012

Better! Yes, they do remind of The American Girl dolls. My real live American girl aedors her’s, too. No Bratz here. In face, we make a point of deconstructing them. Something I frequently consider, when reflecting on how highly sexualized children’s culture is, is how we’re helping to shape desire and a sense of beauty in boys, too. Think about how sleek and shapely Disney moms are in movies and on TV; the boys also see their 9 year old counterparts in hot pink with Princess written across their bellies and behinds. So at an early age, boys start seeing and accepting, sort of as part of the regular landscape, girls their own age being sexualized AND an image of an adult woman that is thin, attractive and desirable. Very problematic!

Shauna Congelliere June 26, 2010

I haven’t read through all of the replies… but I would like to add to this post with something else I have noticed. Shopping. Little girls who begin picking out their own clothes and desiring shoes and purses to match tend to move into the grown up world much faster. The world of shopping means more than having a met need of being clothed… it is an advertisement world and a fashion world that leads to viewing the world, comparing, and valuing worldly input.
If your daughter is young, do her a favor and make selections for her. Let her choose from her own closet as long as possible. When she reaches an appropriate age, mentor her as you shop together like you mentor her in every other area of life.

MDiskin June 26, 2010

Shauna, this is a really valuable insight. Often I take my 4.5 YO shopping with me (grocery store, to Target for a diaper run, etc). I try to use these times as learning moments for talking about spending money wisely, comparison shopping, and buying food in season. But since I buy most of her clothing online or at innocuous stores (like Sears’ Lands End boutique), we haven’t really talked about clothes at all!

Michelle June 30, 2010

If people have never been around little girls that do the whole I-want-shoes-to-match-every-outfit or purses the same, they probably won’t believe you on this but I have to say…YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT!

There is a little girl, age 5, who’s parents recently joined the church and they’ve been coming quite regularly. The 5 year old is one of the most worldly little girls I’ve ever seen.

Every week this child brings a new purse…and I’m NOT exaggerating! She has one pair of shoes that she’s worn the finish off of, that she just loves. They happen to have a 1½ inch heel on them!!! A 5 year old…with HEELS. She loves these shoes because they “make me look taller so the boys will like me”.

This child lies constantly, saying she needs to use the restroom, etc. The other week, I allowed my 10 year old daughter to take her to the bathroom (since we can’t trust her to go the bathroom by herself) and the child proceeded to primp and fix her hair. She told my daughter, “Don’t tell them. I just wanted to fix my hair for the boys.”

She explained to me one week how “sexy” this little boy is that she knows.

I ask her to sing me a song one week and she started singing some song that I’m not familiar with but I’m pretty sure it was inappropriate (something about apple-bottom boom boom). The next week she brought a cd cover with some woman on it that looked like she was wearing lingerie. I think it may have been Lady Gaga.

I’m not sure if allowing them to pick their clothes causes this behaviour or if it’s just the result of an inward heart problem (I really think that’s probably more like it). However, it’s CERTAINLY indicative of a real heart problem.

One of my daughters was adopted. She’s only 5 now and came to me at 3. Honestly, she’s one of the most beautiful little girls, looks wise, I’ve EVER seen! She’s gorgeous! But even at the ripe age of 3 when she came to me, she had already learned to rely on her “cuteness” in order to get her way. She loved those skin tight leggings and wanted to wear them everyday. If given a choice between a spaghetti-strap dress and a cute, feminine baby-doll style dress, she chose the spaghetti strap’s every time. I also noticed she gravitated towards bold colors, like black or red, rather than the younger, more feminine colors like pink or pale purples, etc. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with black or red…but coupled with her preference for grown up styles (actually I don’t think grown-ups should wear spaghetti straps either) and grown up colors. We’ve weeded those clothes out of her wardrobe since the adoption was final last year and now I match her outfits for her.

People would stop me in the stores to gush about how beautiful she is…everywhere we go to this day, people will gush. So now I have a standard response.

“She’s is beautiful! But it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside than the out…and she’s beautiful in both.”

Blessings,
Michelle

Jessie June 27, 2010

Can I just point out that, although I agree that young girls should not have access to immodest or “grown up” clothing, I think it is just as dangerous to confine them to frilly dresses and bows. If you keep your daughters in frills and bows to “keep them young”, you are still teaching them that clothing defines them and their identity.

ladyscott June 28, 2010

Just an idea….for the mothers out there who like the idea of dress-up but are convicted to not allow adult-like costuming of their daughters, perhaps the good compromise would be to supply your daughter with historical costumes instead or storybook characters you don’t mind her pretending to be.

Mrs. Buzzard June 28, 2010

I have two little girls ages 8 and 6. My oldest is long legged and long wasted and I keep having to get larger and larger sizes for her because the dresses in her size are too short. I am so tired of not being able to find clothes to let my little girls look like little girls. I want to keep them in ribbons and bows as long as possible. I also firmly believe girls should be under the care and protection of their father until that care is transfered over to her husband. I myself still like ribbons and bows. Why shouldn’t my girls.

GB June 28, 2010

I agree that “keeping little girls in bows” is not the correct idea. Girls need to be able to dress as they please in order to grow up with a healthy self-esteem and see themselves as more than grown up dolls.

Carrie June 29, 2010

Thanks for this post, Tiffany! My little girl is only six months old, so I have total control over her outfits still. 🙂 I loved your points about keeping little girls little – so true about girls being pressured by our culture to grow up too quickly!

I appreciated what one of the early commenters mentioned about youth group – our youth group here starts in 6th grade, and they’re all in there together – up through 12th graders – you’ve got 18-year-olds, some of whom dress however they want, next to 11-year-olds, just going into 6th grade and seeing all of this – I hate to take my kids out of programs in the church, but I honestly don’t see how that could be a positive influence on my daughter! I’m interested in whether anyone else has had to make a similar decision with church activities?

ladyscott July 1, 2010

YES!!! I went to youth group once and pulled myself out of it. Before the pastor arrived, the youths acted like mommy and daddy were out of town and they were throwing a party! Girls sat on boys laps. Language was not Christian. Then, as soon as pastor walked in, they were all halos and hallelujahs.

I left ASAP!

The only one in my family who did youth group was my oldest brother and he is the only one in that youth group who remained a Christian. He is a pastor. The other youths are out in the world. Many of the girls are unwed mothers. Many of the boys are absentee fathers.

I don’t like those statistics.

Anna July 2, 2010

So I was thinking, does the whole keeping little girls little include ear piercing? My nieces’ ears are pierced and my daughters’ are not. I feel that taking a 6 week old to have something so permanent done is WAY too young. My daughter often asks for earrings whenever my niece gets a new pair and I find it hard to say what I think of the matter when my SIL is there. Braids, ribbons, dresses and dolls for me and mine.

Amy July 6, 2010

I agree that little girls should not be required to dress like little dolls. I loved to dress like that when I was a child… sometimes. Other times, I preferred old play clothes, which allowed me to run and jump and climb trees and do somersaults in the yard. My happiest times were those when I was not self-conscious regarding my appearance, and dressing in bows and frills always made me self-conscious. Sometimes the best way to allow girls to be children is to set aside the pretty things and just let them be unself-conscious kids, who play and climb and giggle without concern to whether or not they are rumpling their doll-like dresses.

Paula July 16, 2010

I’ve only just discovered this site, so I’m a little late with this comment (love the site by the way). I just wanted to add an observation I made during my time as Girl Guide leader. Guides are girls aged between 10 and 14 and I found that all the time the girls were on their own and in the safety of the church hall, they were happy to craft, sing and play like little girls. However, if we ever took them on an outing and there were boys anywhere, they would suddenly try to be all ‘grown up’. From this I came to the conclusion that one of the ways to keep little girls little is to keep them in girl-only friend groups where possible.

Chrissy December 27, 2010

I enjoyed this post and all the comments… I homeschool my 2 young daughters (5 and 3) and am told a lot that I “over-protect” my kids but I take that as a compliment…
My issue is that I do not wish my children to play with any of my friends and family’s children because of their negative,worldly influence. My 5 year old does take ballet at a Christian dance studio which is awesome. But on a daily basis my 5 year old stays bored.. With dolls,games,toys and more for her to do she still is bored and I fill like a failure because I have run out of ideas for her to do and usually give in and let them watch tv (safe shows I approve of) . I am just at a lose….

alexis February 18, 2011

I love your post! I types in how to keep little girls little and this was the first listing! I am having a daughter and her father and I worry about how we will keep her a little girl when I have meices who are 10 who have already put blond streaks in thir hair and imitate the likes of Britney Spears and Lady GaGa. When i was growing up, my mo,m wasn’t around much but my dad raised me and THAT in itself keep me young and innocent when others around me were having sex to early. My husband has previous children from a former marriage and was never allowed to be in his daughters life and as a result was taught nothing about the importance of being a kid and having fun. My own mother wanted me to buy sexy underwhere when I was 12 and that just shocked me! I said to her your my mom, not my madam! Your post eased my worries because I see moms dressing to compeat with their daughters and wonder who is the teen here? I find myself looking to the Duggers everyday now and am pleased to see such upstanding young women in a time when, lets face it, if you do not dress and act like a floozy, you won’t be popular!

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