Thursday, July 12, 2012

Keeping the Little in Your Girl Pt 4

This week, we discussed brain development and more of parent / child connectedness from Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh.

Did you realize there are two times in our lives when our brains are having HUGE growth spurts? As you can imagine, one is when we are infants. Just think about how much a baby learns in that first year of life. Their brains will "double or triple in the first year of life". It is so essential for Moms and Dads to spend time with their babies! Did you know in Europe, the maternity leave from work is six months to a year? How wonderful would that be!

But what you may not have realized is that our brains go through another growth spurt. This happens just before puberty. The prefrontal cortex of the brain's frontal lobes develops at this time. "This area is responsible - among other things - for appropriating and controlling moral behavior or values!" "Brains can be positively molded by structure, guidance, and discipline provided by caring parents and other adults." This is not only "emotional and moral development of the child, but the actual physical brain growth."

"Your investment of time is helping your child produce the brain space to store moral values. And that gives you the ground to plant the values".

This is why the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 11:18-19 to "Fix these words of Mine in your hearts and minds, tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." {emphasis added}

We are to be teaching our children about God and His ways when we sit, walk, lie down and get up - basically all the time. This is essential in these tween years!! We are also given a promise in the Proverbs:

Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

This takes time. You must know your child {likes, dislikes, short-comings, gifts, sinful bents, love language} in order to train them to grow in the Lord. You can only do this by spending time with your children - lots of time.

The next chapter talks about the phases that children go through. There is a copycat phase, a counseling phase and the coaching phase.

The copycat is from 2-5. This is when you'll find your daughter pretending to be a mommy just like you. It feels good to her to be like Mommy. She wants to make dinner, play with baby dolls and do all the things she sees you doing {this is a good reminder for me to watch what I am doing}.

The counseling phase happens between 6-11. This is when your child will start pondering "why you believe what  you believe and do what you do."

This is the phase I am in with my oldest daughter and it shows. I feel like she is often questioning my authority when she asks so many "whys", but sometimes {not every time mind you - but sometimes} she really wants to know the reason behind the decisions I have made to figure out if it sounds right to her. She is learning to think on her own. Oh Lord, please help me. Ha ha!

The coaching phase is when they are teenagers. You are basically a coach, helping and guiding them a little as they make decisions on their own - good and bad - but you are pretty much just an observer. This is why it is so vital to lay the groundwork when they are younger so they are equipped to make wise decisions.

A special note from the book: "Children who grow up in a legalistic environment - never knowing why a rule is a rule - tend to not internalize the values of their parents, and when you aren't looking they'll live however they want. Children who grow up in an anything goes environment - where parents are buddies - usually lack the discipline to live out the values you introduce to them. "

This is why it is so important to spend time with your kids, especially when they are in that counseling phase. They will be counseled between 6 and 11 - so who do you want to counsel your daughter {or son}? The television, beauty magazines, friends at school? Or YOU?

Are you following along in the book? I'd love to hear how you spend time connecting with your kiddos. Do you have regular date nights? Do you talk before bedtime?


  1. What a wonderful way to put it! Copy-cat Counseling and Coaching. So many times I see the coaching when they are really young and then parents wonder why they don't "copy cat" as teens. I just hope when we have kids, I am able to spend most or all of my time with them.

    1. Excellent insight - I, too, see so many parents just observing their tot while they are super frustrated that their teen does not mimic them. Spending time with the kids really does provide more opportunity for teachable moments and training. It is a blessing straight from heaven! Thanks for taking time to comment and stopping by! Blessings.


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