I have something special for you today. What if I told you that, for the investment of a paperback book and some time, you could create eight fun memories with your “tween” daughter that would also prompt serious discussion about important issues? I have found exactly that in
|Talking with Your Daughter About Best Friends and Mean Girls|
Dannah Gresh, author of one of my favorite parenting book for parents of girls
|Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl|
has written a fun guide that includes a suggested, themed activity to help prompt discussion on friendships. She starts with a little introductory audio that you listen to along the way to your destination, then comes the activity, then the discussion and she finishes with a short audio and a suggestion for a “driveway prayer” – finishing the fun with the bonding
experience of taking what is on your heart to God, together. For the kick-off, when my daughters were 9 or 10, we gathered like-minded moms and daughters in the 8 to 12 age range and had a mother-daughter slumber party using the activities in Date 1. We did this on quite a budget! One family lived in a condo and borrowed the activity room for us all to spread our air mattresses and sleeping bags out in.
When I did this with my second daughter, I supplemented with another fun book by Dannah Gresh, Secret Keeper Girl Pajama Party: Plan a Party Worth Losing Sleep Over. We got several hotel rooms in the off season, splitting some of them three ways, taking full advantage of the free breakfast and having one group devotional in the hot tub!
After our big kick-off we went through the book separately doing fun
activities like ding dong ditching fresh baked cookies at our neighbor’s house and a trip to the mall with $10 to spend on only purple things in 30 minutes, for talking about those mean girls we all know we will encounter at some point.
Dannah offers great budget suggestions and substitute ideas for girls no sibs or those missing a parent in their life. What I love most about this idea is that is has paved the way for those teen years. Without realizing what was happening my daughter has learned that alone time with mom is a great time to pour out her concerns and dreams. It starts the communication that is so key as our girls start to grow into women.
When we finished those eight great dates, we moved on to another of Dannah’s books 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters: How to Talk About True Beauty, Cool Fashion, and Modesty! – eBook. Research shows that the teens years is too late to really effectively start talking body image and boy craziness. By 13 our ideas about these things are pretty well cemented. Between 8 and 11 is when we really have our girls’ ears on the subject. This book helps bring up those touchy subjects before they become an issue for moms and daughters to start fighting about, in a fun and age appropriate way.
We had a blast at a tea shop, borrowing crazy hats, to talk about whether
we are a priceless piece of china or a disposable styrofoam cup in the way
we talk to others, take care of ourselves, the media we put in our minds and the friends we choose. Another date to get facials had us taking a look at the airbrushed ladies in fashion magazines and a peek behind the scenes to find out what these lovely ladies really look like without all that extra help. The reality check for my daughter – and for me- was effective. They do not look any different from the rest of us. Thank you for your bravery, Alicia Keys!
We have had a wonderful time and made some awesome memories. We extended the fun by putting together a Secret Keeper Girl scrapbook of all of our dates. I hope you give it try!
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