I love how the internet world has made the world much smaller. All of a sudden I have friends in every state! And have gotten to know so many moms through this blog world. One of those is Kari Kampakis. She is a great writer and we have several mutual friends. She is a mom of girls like me and also just launched her first book, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know. Written for teen and tween girls, the book offers a practical road map based on God’s timeless truths that can help girls discover their best life possible.
I would suggest that you read it before you give to your daughter. Some of the topics are ahead of my girls which makes sense because they are not tweens or teens! If you do have a girl this age, I recommend you check it out! It’s a terrific resource.
Hear what others are saying.
10 Things to Love About Having a Tween Daughter
When my oldest daughter was small, I dreaded adolescence. It seemed like all the comments I heard about tween and teen girls were negative, and the way some people put it, I was in for a dismal ride.
On top of this, there was the sentimental sap in me who wanted to mourn the childhood my daughter was outgrowing. With every baby tooth that fell out of her mouth, every hair bow she refused to wear, every Barbie she stopped playing with, I wondered if we were drifting away from something vitally important.
An age of innocence we’d never re-capture again.
I’m not sure when it happened, but it hit me one day that maybe I was looking at my daughter’s growth the wrong. That instead of mourning it, maybe I should celebrate it. Because the truth is, there’s something special about every stage of growing up. And if I spend too much time looking back, thinking about the little girl in French hand-sewn dresses whose pictures I used to hand-tint, and whose food I used to cut, I miss the beautiful scenes playing out in front of me, scenes just as important to her story as the childhood fading away.
I want my daughter to grow up as slowly as possible, but I don’t want to stunt her growth. I don’t want to cling so tightly to who she was that I leave no room for who she’s meant to be.
My daughter is 12 now, and while this stage certainly presents new challenges, we’re also connecting on a deeper level. It’s fun and rewarding to catch glimpses of who she’s becoming. Because when you see your daughter baking a pound cake for her best friend….protecting her siblings…taking on a cause….and showing other signs of maturity, it does something to your mother’s heart.
It makes you realize that this child who’s growing like a weed, becoming more independent yet still emotionally attached, is someone whose company you really enjoy, and who will inspire you even more the older she gets.
All this to say, there are perks to having a tween no one mentioned to me. And when I open my eyes to them, I don’t long for the past, or dream about the future. I simply want to enjoy my daughter right here, right now, right where she is.
My top 10 favorite things about raising a girl this age include:
#10: Having a front-seat passenger in my car — and someone to sing with me when the stereo gets cranked up.
#9: Hearing the joyful giggles of sixth grade girls who find everything hysterical fill my home.
#8: Watching her take interest my wardrobe and get excited when a top she loves fits her.
#7: Soaking up her natural beauty, and how she looks standing on the cusp of lip glass, mascara, and blush.
#6: Seeing her eyes still full of wonder and her heart still full of hope. She knows a lot about the challenges ahead, but not enough to be scared.
#5: Watching her light up when she sees a baby or squat to talk to a child at eye level, because children are her great love.
#4: Having someone to watch chick flicks with me. At last, my husband gets a pass.
#3: Getting to snuggle in the dark as she falls asleep because she’s still okay with that.
#2: Having flashbacks to my teenage years with every wacky dress-up, dance party, and karaoke song, all the while remembering how awesome it is to be silly.
#1: Seeing the young lady she’s becoming and feeling my heart burst with pride and gratitude to God that I’m on this journey with her and witnessing the transformation.
Yes, there’s a wonder and magic about childhood that can be hard for a mother to let go of. Sometimes when I watch old videos of my daughter singing “Tomorrow” in her toddler voice, running around in a diaper, or sucking on the pacifier she called Bobby, it makes me want to cry.
But where we are now, approaching the awkward years, is also a wonderland of memories being made. And when I celebrate her growth instead of mourning it, I can enjoy the present moments that are shaping her just as much – if not more so – than the moments left behind.
One day, my daughters and yours will change the world. Until then, we’re in on the secret of who God’s training them to be, and the work He’s preparing them to do. And while it isn’t always pretty, easy, or comfortable to journey a daughter, it is always a privilege.
Because with every step forward, we learn more about them and ourselves. We learn that these girls who will change the world are already changing ours, and if we keep our hearts and eyes open, we find things to embrace at every single stage.
Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a newspaper columnist, blogger, and former children’s photographer from Birmingham, Alabama. Her first book, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, is now available through stores and online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Christianbook.com. Written for teen and tween girls, the book offers a practical road map based on God’s timeless truths that can help girls discover their best life possible.
Kari’s work has been featured on The Huffington Post and reflects her passion for family and God. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Kari holds an MBA and Public Relations degree. She and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola.
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