Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keeping the Little in Your Girl Pt 5

This week we discussed Chapters 6 and 7 from Dannah Gresh's, "Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl ". Wow! I say that for every chapter {have I mentioned this is a great book?}


Chapter 6 is about finding the right toys for your daughters. The suggestion is toys without limits to allow more creative play. Great suggestion!! Remember that during these tween years, the girls' brains are developing and this creative play helps that process.

"Time spent playing make-believe, dress-up and building things with sticks, twigs, and blocs actually helps children develop a critical skill called executive function." "Executive function performs many different things in a human being,  but one of them is to self-regulate - or to appropriate moral behavior and values."

Self-regulating - wow, that's a novel concept. To be able to control oneself. I see the need for that all over the place {including in the mirror}. One study dealing with self-regulating {self-control} measured how long a child could stand still. Can your children stand still? Let's just say it is a struggle for mine. lol!

In the 1940s an average 5 year old could stand still for 3 minutes and a child over 7 could stand still for an indefinite period of time. WOW! Can you guess what those numbers are today? An average 5 year old cannot stand still for even a minute and a 7 year old can stand still for about 3 minutes. That is a huge difference!

So I put my daughter {almost 7} to the test. The first time she made it 30 seconds. The second time she made it about 90 seconds. The third time {after I told her it was a contest} she lasted 4 minutes 15 seconds. Hooray!! I think this is a skill we will work on regularly. :)

This chapter also talked about the right kind of dolls our daughters should have. Here is the big question....

How do you feel about Barbie?

Let's just say that Dannah Gresh has a strong opinion and I'd have to say a valid opinion. Barbie is a doll that has "consumerism" written all over her. She is a marketing tool - and she is good at her job! But do we want our daughters to fall prey to marketing schemes so early? Besides that, she is a doll with limits. Due to her sexualized "attributes", she limits the way our girls play with her.

"When our daughters play with cute, nonsexual dolls, they tend to let imaginative play loose. They role-play and create, giving muscle to their executive function. But when our daughters play with dolls that have a more seductive or beauty-based nature, they tend to be more confined in their imaginative play. Their play generally leans toward "seduce the boy". "The more a girl plays this way, the more she'll focus on looks and coquettish behavior, and the less time she'll spend doing the open ended activities kids need. It puts her on a conveyor belt to early sexualization."

Whoa! Even though I played with Barbie when I was young, I have not been a fan of her for my daughters; this just reinforces my decision. In our group discussion, we had others who felt differently and I can see their point as well. I think a lot of it is how your daughter is playing with the toy. Do you hear her playing "seduce the boy" or "get the boyfriend" or do you hear her playing house, doctor, librarian, veterinarian?

Although what happens if/when you do start hearing her play more "romantically" with Barbie and Ken? Do you take it away?

One of my very favorite people / dolls / animal friends are the Calico Critters . Have you seen them? They are little animal families and they are the farthest thing from a Bratz doll. Both of my girls will take and play with these little friends in all sorts of scenarios. Tonight, my youngest (3 yr old) ran to the bedroom after bath to play with the Mommy Guinea Pig and all the babies (rabbits, cats, penguins, guinea pigs). It looked like she was playing "The old lady that lived in a shoe".

Chapter 7 suggests how to talk with your daughter about her upcoming period. Have you even thought about that yet? My daughter will be 7 next month, so I hadn't really considered it, but Dannah has a beautiful way of sharing this new milestone of life.

She says that this is a way to celebrate the gift that God has given us as women to be able to have babies. Celebrate! Is that a word you think of when you think of that monthly cycle? It isn't for me, but the way that she puts it in the book makes it so beautiful!

In our society, it is an unfortunate thing that being a mother, especially a SAHM, is not a position of respect. Most young women dread the idea of being a Mom and would rather chase after a career than toddlers. In a survey of "1200 Christian teens, the vast majority of them did not want to be mothers and felt motherhood should be a goal secondary to the dreams they had for a career." These are Christian teens. This breaks my heart.

So what a great opportunity you have as a mother to celebrate her period and to use it to help motivate her to to want to be a Mom someday. Dannah lists all kinds of ways to do this, but I won't give them all away. You gotta read the book, too!

One thing we are thinking of doing this fall, just to get the conversation started about how babies are born and all, is to visit a local dairy farm. I am told that they have regular births - like multiple each day - and everyone just piles into the birthing barn to witness a calf being born. How awesome!! I cannot wait - although I am a little  nervous for the plethora of questions I'll get from my daughters {Lord please help me}.

So what toys do your girls play with? Will you be giving some away to Goodwill after reading this chapter? How long can your daughter (or son) stand still?

Have you had "the talk" about puberty and the monthly visit from Aunt Flo yet? How'd that go? I'd love to hear what you think.


  1. Hi Dana,
    I'm stopping by from OSCL and wow - this is an enlightening post! I have heard about the book you referred to, but I haven't read it yet. My oldest daughter played with Barbie (with modest Barbie clothes - which were and still are - hard to find!) My youngest daughters have Barbies, too..but I have been leaning towards getting rid them...little by little. They would much rather play with their babies, Lincoln logs, blocks, etc. anyway.
    And what a wonderful way to look at our monthly cycles! I'll have to remember that when the times comes for "the discussion" with my little girls. :)
    Thanks so much for this post...I'll be "chewing" on it all day, I'm sure. ;)
    I am your newest follower and would love to have you stop by and "visit" me back. :)
    Hope your day is a blessing-filled one!

    1. Thanks for stopping by - I'll definitely return the favor. :) We have two Barbies in our house {gifts} and this morning at the store, my daughter was begging for another one. Sigh. I didn't like them before because of the lack of modest clothing {I totally agree!} but now I like them even less. Let's just say we didn't purchase a new one.

      I thought it was a fabulous way to introduce her monthly cycle as well.

      I highly recommend the book! This is my second time through it and it is just filled with wise, God-glorifying information.


  2. My daughter turned one-month old this week... So, I'm glad I'm reading these posts now! I'm definitely going to check out that book. Thanks!!

    1. Awww - one month old! How precious this time is with her. Enjoy it!! Thank you for stopping by. Blessings.

  3. I totally agree with Barbie. My 14 year old is in her room now playing with her American girl dolls. She loves to make things for them. As far as introducing babies, I would suggest that when they ask you questions, do not go into detail--you'd be surprised at how little detail they will need to be satisfied with the answer. For instance my 10 year old boy was alarmed to hear that daddy had something to do with babies. He asked, "What did Daddy do?" I was froze, but he answered his own question with, "Oh that is right, he goes to work and pays for our food!" I was perfectly content to leave it at that, because I knew he was not ready to hear what I was thinking--that suitcase is way too big for him to carry! :) I am your newest GFC follower!

    1. We don't have any American Girl dolls, but that is wonderful that she still enjoys playing with them! Your son sounds very funny! That's a riot that Dad's part is to bring home the bacon. :) Keeping the luggage light and age appropriate is key!

      Thanks for stopping by and following along!


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