Everyone is worried about teenage girls today – and with good reason.
In short, they are struggling. From epidemic levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness…to a mental health crisis that’s starting younger and younger…to a suicide rate that’s hit a 40-year peak…to the stress of technology and a promiscuous culture, girls face challenges and trials that pain us and haunt us as they flash across headline news.
Like teenage boys, they’re growing up in a fishbowl. They’re scared to death to fail because perfection is the bar. They juggle insane workloads and intense pressures to succeed, and they feel anxiety over realities like our country’s current quarantine, which has quickly ushered in a new era of fear. They’re the first generation of teenagers to be more stressed than their parents.
Today’s girls feel overwhelmed emotionally – yet unsure how to talk about it. They get bombarded by images that make them feel inadequate, and rarely do they get downtime because technology and social media create an intoxicating pull to constantly connect with friends.
Speaking of friends, this a common source of heartache. In an age of disposable friendships, where good friends are hard to find, many girls feel invisible and underappreciated. They may be part of a group one day and ostracized the next – wondering what they did to suddenly get kicked out.
For moms of teenage girls, life can feel overwhelming, exhausting, and lonely. Parenting adolescents is stressful, and there is no guarantee that a teenager thriving at 8 am will still be thriving by 8 pm that night. Any values taught at home can quickly be usurped by the culture shaping our youth, and as our daughters pull away, entering the world of independence, we find ourselves suddenly on the outside looking in, trying to unlock the mystery of how to be part of their world while being the strong, steady parent they need.
For years I’ve had a heart for teenage girls, and I eagerly wrote two books for them. As I traveled to meet them, their moms often asked, “When will you write a book for us?” I always smiled politely and shrugged even though every bone inside me screamed Never! Honestly, writing for moms sounded far too intimidating, and though I adore my mom friends, I never felt qualified or called to write for this audience.
But as my daughters grew up – and became teenagers themselves – my heart toward mothers softened. I gained new empathy and compassion as I began to feel overwhelmed and out of my league. I realized that moms want to hear from other moms who are in the foxhole with them and understand their secret battles.
After all, as we share our stories, mistakes, fears, and desires, we find the unity and support to grow wiser, stronger, and braver together…especially in uncertain times like these.
This is why I’m excited to announce an empowering new book for moms called LOVE HER WELL: 10 WAYS TO FIND JOY AND CONNECTION WITH YOUR TEENAGE DAUGHTER that will release August 2020 through W Publishing/Thomas Nelson. You can learn more about this optimistic yet realistic guide here.
Today’s girls face unprecedented challenges, and more than ever, they mothers and mentors who will love them, guide them, and teach them to stand on their own two feet. They need women who aren’t afraid to address the hard and painful realities of life through the comforting truths of God.
This isn’t a book about “fixing” your daughter or becoming her BFF. It’s not a book where we commiserate about the misery of raising teenagers or why we need alcohol to survive them. More than anything, it’s about a mother’s journey, doing the heart work and the legwork necessary to become more intentional, empathetic, and effective parents.
If we want our teens to listen…if we hope to earn their trust…if we want family time to be enjoyable…if we long to have a voice in our daughters’ lives and invitations into their world…then we’ve got to grow a relationship that bridges our heart to theirs. We’ve got to show love that speaks to them, because teenagers don’t care what their parents know until they know their parents care.
Even when girls are babies, moms are repeatedly told, “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” While there is truth to this warning, it perpetuates a hopeless narrative. It creates a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive. The way society puts it, our daughters’ glory days happen in childhood – and it’s all downhill from there.
Frankly, I don’t buy that, and that has not been my experience. While the teenage years are challenging, they’re also deeply rewarding. God wants us to parent with strength, not defeat, and with His help, we can finish strong in our daughters’ last season at home and build deep connections.
These connections matter because they set the stage for the adult relationship. Since it may last 30 or 40 years – far longer than a girl’s 18 years at home – it’s worth considering the foundation and dynamics being formed. Rather than “survive” our teenage daughters, we can seek healthy relationships. We can fight for them and not with them, learning how to best relate and work through conflict.
This book is the guide I wish someone handed me 5 years ago as I struggled to connect with and understand my daughter. As my agent pitched it to publishers, the common link among interested parties was a personal connection to the message. Some teams had little girls, some had teenage girls, yet the message resonated the same.
As one editor put it: “I love how this book meets moms where they are…but it doesn’t leave them there.”
I pray this book will empower girl moms and reveal God’s love. I hope friends and small groups will study it together and love the conversations. There will be fantastic pre-order incentives coming soon, around Mother’s Day, so pre-order now and save your receipt to submit once those are ready. By pre-ordering, you’re guaranteed the lowest price between now and the August release. I’ll post updates on Instagram and Facebook, so follow me on social media and subscribe to my blog to see the latest news.
Today’s teenage girls have the world telling them what’s wrong with them. They need mothers and mentors who tell them what’s right with them – especially during this quarantine. Whether you and your daughter are in a great place already or hanging by a thread, this book, and the messages I’ll share leading up to August, will increase your awareness of your daughter’s normal reality, deepen your connection, and help you prepare her for the real world.
I meet so many moms who love their daughters passionately. They have a heart for their struggles and long to be part of their world. I wrote this book for them, and though nobody can predict what parenting will look like tomorrow, next week, or even next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we do know that nothing matters more than God, family, and what happens inside our homes. Loving a child well is never a waste, and I hope you’ll join me for more life-giving conversations as we buoy each other through this unprecedented time and show our daughters how it looks like for women to support women, especially in the journey of raising girls.
Thanks for reading this message today. If you found it helpful, please share it on social media.
On Aug. 18, my new book Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter releases. This realistic yet optimistic guide equips mothers raising daughters in an unprecedented culture and helps deepen your bond. I’d be so grateful for your pre-order; if you order through Amazon, you’re guaranteed the lowest price between now and Aug. 18.
Posted by Kari on April 7, 2020