I get so frustrated sometimes at the very different standard of expectations and reactions for the behavior of adults and children. Read More
Ellie thought it would be fun to keep a journal of some of our adventures. I love seeing life through her eyes! This was written two weeks ago, but I’ve been having some technical issues with the blog so it’s just getting posted now. –Selina
Tuesday my dad and I went to the library while he worked I did my school. The building I normally do school is occupied for a couple of weeks. Algebra is getting pretty hard I will say, so it’s nice to go somewhere where it’s quiet. I got my school done early and we came home around lunch time.
That afternoon Mom and I went to a nearby Laundromat to do the five loads of laundry! We have a lot of laundry! Ten people times four days’ worth of clothes means 40 outfits! We started the laundry and went back home to start dinner.
We’ve been parked at a church in Tucson, AZ, for the past few weeks. The only downside to that is the fact that there is no grass for the little kids to play on. This hasn’t stopped the boys from playing football, skinned knees and elbows and all. 🙂
That night after dinner we all went to this HUGE neighborhood that my dad found and sipped on hot chocolate while we looked at gorgeous Christmas lights! It was this neighborhood blocked off from the rest of the street. And to live there you were required to decorate your house really beautifully. I loved all the Christmas light decorations, but my favorite was this house who had music playing with the rhythm of lights. The song was Amazing Grace and they had some sort of timer on it that was set as the same rhythm of the song. They had flashing lights coming on and off at the rhythm of the song. It was really beautiful, although I was kind of surprised to only see two nativities in the whole neighborhood. But that night was a blast!
Wednesday my dad took me to the library until lunch time and we stopped at Little Caesars to get some pizza! Wednesday afternoon was spent packing for Thursday (because we had a meeting in Nevada) and getting ready for church. We ate dinner really fast and then left for church. WelI, I say left, when it’s just across the parking lot. That’s one nice thing about parking at a church! The younger kids got to go to Awanas, which they really enjoyed! It’s always nice when they have activities for the younger kids. We walked back from church and got ready for bed and the older kids got to read for a bit in bed.
Our meeting for Sunday was in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it was about a 7 ½ hour drive from Tucson. We left the trailer in Tucson and stayed in a hotel for the weekend. We got to explore Vegas a little bit, too.
My baby brother Titus has learned how to smile when you say “Titus, smile!” and his little cheesy grin is so cute!
Our meeting Sunday was really fun because that evening they had a family fun night! They sang funny and family Christmas songs like Jingle Bells, and they did a skit with three boys who represented Alvin and the Chipmunks! Then they had cookies and hot chocolate after the service, and it was really fun, and it was nice to relax a little too. 🙂
Monday we left our hotel and since we were only about 30 min from the Hoover Dam, we decided to go see it! I think it’s like one of the 7 engineering wonders of the world! I’ve watched the documentary on how they built it, but to see it in real life was pretty cool! It looks a lot bigger when you’re actually standing on it looking down!
Just since October we’ve already been to The Alamo, Pensacola Beach, San Diego (where I tried surfing for the first time!), The Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and many other beautiful canyons and wonderful places. You get to see a lot of cool and awesome things on deputation!
Ellie (13 years old–but only for a few more weeks!)
Most of us would never tell our children, “Do as I SAY, not as I DO.”
I mean, we wouldn’t take a swig of whiskey while telling our teens, “You should never, ever drink.”
And it would be insanely laughable to teach our children to have good manners at the table while picking our own nose and wiping it on the wall. (Ewww)
Right? Are you with me so far?
Good. Stay with me for just a minute, because I’m going somewhere with this.
Even with the very best intentions, I sometimes find myself being a hypocrite with my children. Oh, I wouldn’t drink while telling them not to, and I’m pretty sure I’m not wiping my boogers on the wall–but if I’m really honest, there are other ways I see hypocrisy in my parenting. I continually have to guard myself against teaching my children one thing while SHOWING them another.
Now, maybe it’s just me,and you have this parenting thing all mastered. 🙂 Or maybe you will see your reflection in some of these areas, and join me in asking God to change us to be more like Him.
Here’s three ways parents can be hypocrites with their children:
We expect perfection while living imperfect lives.
Have you ever gotten angry at your child because they were being, um, an imperfect child? Come on, now, be honest. 🙂 You fussed at your husband on the way to church and then got embarrassed at your 3 year old for sticking out his tongue at his brother during the service. Or you put off your quiet time because the morning was crazy, but got angry at your 6 year old because he didn’t want to do his homework. The issue is, of course, that we adults are a tad bit “wiser” when it comes to our imperfections. And we have enough pride to hide most of them from others. Children (young children especially!), on the other hand, don’t act to impress. They are openly imperfect. 🙂 Now I’m not suggesting that we throw up our hands and expect nothing from our children, but I am pointing out that it is completely hypocritical for adults to put HIGHER standards of behavior on tiny little children than they’re even putting on themselves. We must guard against setting an unattainable standard of perfection in our home. An atmosphere of growth and grace, with open mistakes and just as open apologies and forgiveness is the key here.
We expect respect from our children while not giving them respect.
For some reason, more respect is given to our spouses, our best friends, our church community, and even TOTAL STRANGERS than is often given to children. There’s like this unwritten code among adults that it’s acceptable to speak unkindly of or to our children or teens.”Wow. You have alot of children. You don’t want MORE, do you?” or “Ugh. He’s so naughty.” or “Wait until they’re teenagers!” or “You’re such a brat!” or “Is she a GOOD baby?” (as if only silent babies who sleep on command are GOOD?) or “Sit down and shut up!” or “How many times do I have to tell you to OBEY?”
Parents get on social media and embarrass, shame, ridicule, and humiliate their OWN children. An act of violence occurs and someone is sure to point out, “A good beating when he was a kid would have fixed that!” It’s become commonplace to talk openly about how hard/difficult/stubborn/challenging/annoying/insert-your-child’s behavior-here children are, and to AGREE with other moms who need “some wine before they go crazy” or some “time away from my kids”.
.Now, some of you will disagree with me here, and say that it’s different when we’re complaining about our children than when we’re complaining about other people. And I would ask you this–would it be acceptable to talk to or about my husband this way? Would it be okay for me to point out his flaws when I’m drinking coffee with my friends? Should I get on social media and talk about how excited I am for a BREAK from this man because he’s pushing my buttons? Is gossip EVER acceptable, respectful, or relationship-building? No.
We cannot teach and require respect from our children if we’re not modeling that same respect. Our children need to know we adore them, and that even on their very worst days, we’v got their back.
If we can’t say something kind or uplifting about our children, it’s best to say nothing at all.
We teach gentleness but model harshness.
One of the very first behaviors we must teach toddlers is “gentle hands” or “gentle touch”, as they’re prone to hitting, pushing, or grabbing from other people. Older children need reminders to be kind and gentle with both animals and people.
This is another area where we must guard against hypocrisy, because we must be gentle with our children or all the “be gentle with others” teaching means nothing. If we are harsh in our tone of voice when speaking with our children, or rough with them when they misbehave, how can we expect them to respond gently to others?
These are three areas that I am continually working on. I want gentleness to be my natural response to my children. I want my words to sweetly guide and nurture them. I want to BE what I’m telling THEM to be!
Our children are amazing mirrors for us as parents. As my children have become teenagers, I’ve walked into a room many times and thought to myself, “I don’t like the way so-and-so is speaking……Ouch. They sound exactly like me.” I’ve changed many things about my parenting as my older children have started mimicking me. 🙂
I’m sure there are more than just these three areas that we parents can be hypocritical with our children, but as I strive to share my heart for my children and my own personal struggles with you, these three areas came to my mind.
Blessings to you, dear friends, as you seek to parent like Jesus!
Just for fun, here’s 13 things you about me that you might not know!
1) I am a Christian teenager, (born February 13, 2002) missionary on deputation going to South Africa to start an orphan ministry with my parents.
2) My absolute favorite animal in the world is a Golden Retriever dog! I want to get a puppy in SA, which I am having a hard time waiting for! Why couldn’t I have one in a 37-foot travel trailer? There’s already 10 people, why couldn’t we add a puppy? Lol!
3) I love reading about World War II and historical fiction. One of my favorite books is “A Father’s Promise”.
4) I enjoy knitting and cross stitching on long days in the car. (We do drive a lot!)
5) I have the best home church (and best friends) and I really enjoy getting to see all my friends when we’re in town! We have the best time playing Phase 10 altogether! 🙂
6) I have naturally curly brownish, blonde hair, and blue eyes. I can be quiet or talkative, depending on the situation. When I am around people that I am comfortable with, I would say that I am a talker! I am a girly kind of girl, but not like crazy girly. (You know what I mean.) Lol! I like jewelry, makeup, and I enjoy picking out new clothes! (What girl doesn’t?) 🙂
7) I have a dream of starting an animal shelter and training puppies to be therapy and assistant dogs for special need kids in Africa.
8) I want to get married! And I want to have 14 kids and work in my parent’s orphanage someday. Just following my mom’s example–she wanted 12! She’s got four more to go! But we’ll see how that goes! Lol!
9) I’m not sure if I want to go to college yet, but if I do, I want to go to Pensacola Christian College or Ambassador Baptist College. (I’ve gotten to visit both of them last year.)
10) I LOVE typing, writing stories, and writing posts on my mom’s blog!
11) I’ve been to the following places in 13 years: Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Belize, South Africa, Honduras, U.S Virgin Islands, and from California to Virginia (with lots of states in between).
12) I love games, but my favorite game is Rook, and I enjoy playing Monopoly Junior with my younger siblings!
13) I have 7 brothers and sisters (3 girls and 4 boys) and the cutest baby brother in the whole world, and I am trying to convince my parents to have more kids! (You know, we are going to work in a children’s ministry?!) Lol!
So, some of these things you might have already known about me, and some of them you didn’t know! But if you know me at all, you’ll probably know that I really do LOVE dogs and my baby brother Titus!
I hope that helped you get to know me and my personality better, and to realize that since I’m a missionary, I’m still real! LOL! 🙂
By: ~Eliana Rose~
In the last post we talked about Sibling and Friend Relationships. But in this post, I am going to talk about teens and parent relationships, and how it’s extremely important to have a strong relationship with your parents.
Have you ever thought to yourself when your mom or dad is disciplining one of your siblings, “I would NOT do this, this way, or I wouldn’t be that soft on him if I WERE THE MOM!” Now, I would say that we teens with siblings have thought that way MORE than once! Wouldn’t you? Maybe you wouldn’t have the courage to say that out loud to your parents, but maybe you think that of your mom or dad sometimes. 🙂
Or maybe you struggle when your parents correct you or point out something they want you to work on. I sometimes struggle with that, too. Nobody likes to be wrong or have their faults pointed out to them.
When you’re in your teen years, you start to kind of be judgmental to what your parents do, regarding discipline, or how they chose to parent your siblings, or other decisions they make. Do you know why? It’s because your brain is changing from a kid who loved to run around and play on a swing set to an adult who wants to be independent and make your own choices, . Your brain is maturing into an adult brain, rather than a playful child’s brain. And it’s hard! But you have to realize that your parents know best. And how many years have they been parenting and having their own family? And how many years have you been doing it? 🙂 If you do the math, I’m pretty sure that they’ve been doing this longer. LOL. For now, they have more lifetime experiences. And your turn will come! You’ll be able to one day say to your kids, “Hey look, I was a teenager and I know what it’s like to think you’re an adult. You’re NOT an adult yet, one day you will be. And one day you’ll be able to make those decisions for your family.”
Hey teens, your parents really do know and want what’s best for you, and they’re not trying to make you as miserable as possible! They love you and adore you and want to see you succeed! They’ve been “you” before, and they understand that it’s hard sometimes, but always try to be respectful to them.
It is so important to work on a great bond between you and your parents. A relationship that you’re comfortable sharing anything with them, even your deepest darkest secrets. And my parents have always said, that if maybe I don’t agree with something that they’re doing as a parent, come and talk to them. Just make sure it’s privately! Sometimes I would say how I felt out loud around my siblings, and my mom would say, “You’re welcome to tell me how you feel about this or that privately and respectfully, but not around the kids.”
Your parents want to be on the same page as you are. Just remember that you’re a TEAM. You’re in this stage of life together!
The other thing I want to mention is… Respect. In the world today, kids are so disrespectful to their parents. I’ve been around teens who talk badly or flippantly about their parents behind their back. This is gossip! Maybe you say, “Well, my parents just don’t listen to me when I try to share my feelings with them.” Have you tried it respectfully? I’ve found that our parents are more likely to listen, if we come to them with respect. “Mom and Dad, I really don’t understand why you do this, do you mind helping me understand why?” Now they may say “No, you don’t need to understand why we do this.”, then just say “ok” and obey. 🙂
It’s not easy, but it honors our parents and the Lord.
Teens, let’s try to show respect to our parents in our words, actions, and thoughts. Our world needs a generation of teens who are willing to obey their parents and show respect. Plus, I bet it will make your parents happy, and I KNOW it will make God happy.
I would love to talk to other teens about their struggle with Parent Relationships in the comments below!
Ellie Rose, 13 years old
I received a facebook message with a question recently that got me thinking about thankfulness in our children. I’ll paste the question here:
So, I had a long day and stopped and got a milkshake for myself on the way home. My son cried because I didn’t get him anything. He’s talked about it all afternoon, and just brought it up again saying “I want icecream. Why can’t I have your milkshake- it’s just sitting in the freezer.” I told him it’s mine and I’m allowed to treat myself sometimes and he says, “You always treat yourself, you always get coffee, and I want ice cream!” I don’t think he will be getting a cone the next time we go. He’s so spoiled it’s made him selfish. He does not handle me getting something without getting him something. How do you teach your kids to be thankful?
It’s one of those characteristics that must be developed in each one of us…cause we all kinda want what makes US happy more than we want to be THANKFUL. 🙂
The Bible puts it this way:
1 Thessalonians 5:18: “ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Give thanks in EVERY THING?
Children struggle with thankfulness. (But let’s be honest–Mommies and Daddies do, too!)
Those perfectly formed, delightfully precious, and sweet little babies quickly grow into toddlers and preschoolers who naturally focus on self-gratification. Turning the hearts of our children towards thankfulness takes purposeful, decisive work! We should not be frustrated that our children choose selfishness, but rather seek opportunities to teach thankfulness.
The wise parent will embrace the opportunity to cultivate an attitude of THANKFULNESS in their children.
I’m not saying anything you don’t already know, right? I mean, if you’ve been a parent for very long, you’ve witnessed the squabble over toys, the fussing over the favorite sippy cup, or the whining over not getting their
absolutely have to have it RIGHT NOW or I’m going to make you wish you’d never brought me along favorite cereal at the grocery store. RIGHT? 🙂
Do we have to just sit back and HOPE our children someday wake up thankful in all things?
Or can we cultivate this attitude of thankfulness in our children?
Here are five key ways we work on cultivating an attitude of thankfulness with our large family.
- Start young with verbalizing thankfulness. Toddlers aren’t likely to feel thankful just yet, and that’s okay. 🙂 But they can learn to say “thank you” whenever they are given something or someone serves them. Teach them to say “thank you” the same way you teach them any other skill! Repitition and patience are the keys here. Once you know your little one CAN say thank you (Our Titus is 14 months and can say his own little version of it already.) OUTLAST them if necessary until they say it every time you ask them to say it. Be consistent in the baby and toddler stage with saying “Thank you” as you’re setting the stage for a thankful attitude later.
- Don’t give your little ones everything they want. I realize this should go without saying, but just last week, we were eating in a restaurant and I was shocked by what I observed. A family with 2 young children (a girl around 2, and a boy around 5) came into the restaurant. As they ordered their food at the register, the children both picked up a drink from the display in front of them. The mom told the children, “We are going to get ONE drink and share, okay?” She took both drinks away and chose a white-colored drink. She handed it to the little boy, and he smiled excitedly. Meanwhile, the 2 year old girl had begun to climb up the display, trying to reach the red-colored drink. The mom put her down and repeated, “We are going to get ONE drink, this white one, and share, okay?” The little girl threw herself down on her bottom and began to kick her feet. The mom repeated herself one more time, as the girl began to scream for the red drink. Then she reached down and TOOK THE WHITE DRINK FROM THE LITTLE BOY’S HAND and put it back. He started to get upset, and she got right in his face and said, “Don’t you dare fight me on this. YOU just got new shoes. Let her have the red drink.” She reached for the red drink and handed it to the tantruming little girl. The little girl stood up smugly, with her red drink in her hands, and smiled. The little boy walked away with tears streaming down his face. Parents, you will never cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in your children if you give them everything they want. It is okay to allow your children to be occasionally disappointed, to wait for their special turn, or to do without for awhile:)
- Verbalize thankfulness frequently. Don’t expect children to be thankful automatically, especially when they are young. Teach them by your example, and start in your home. When we get finished with a good meal, my husband will loudly say, “Thank you, Mommy, for working so hard on this meal!” The children naturally repeat him. When my husband pays money for us to have a special treat (like a trip to the zoo or ice cream), I loudly verbalize, “Thank you, Daddy, for this awesome treat! Children, isn’t it awesome that your Daddy chose to give us this blessing?” They begin to copy my words and attitude, and the entire van is full of “THANK YOU, DADDY!!!” When I work hard to make a special dessert and the children naturally want to dive into it when I haven’t even sat down yet, my husband will cheerfully say, “WOW! Mommy worked hard to make an awesome dessert! Look at Mommy’s face. She looks tired. Let’s wait for her to take the first bite before we eat this yummy dessert.” When grandparents bless us with gifts, we verbalize thankfulness for them (and with them), like this, “Ethan, Grandpa sacrificed his hard-earned money to give you this special thing! We need to thank him for doing this!” Then we walk with the child and offer thanks. Teach your child to be thankful by being thankful yourself and openly verbalizing it.
- Serve your children with JOY. Maybe you weren’t expecting this point, but as my children have grown older, I have found this point to be one of the most important ones for cultivating thankfulness! We love to serve our children. We put them first often. I offer them the last piece of cake, and buy them new clothing before buying for myself. I will see them struggling with a job I’ve asked them to do and willingly take the job from them and finish it. (I know, I know. Some of you authoritative parents just took a giant GASP and are now in complete shock. lol. Please hear me out before tuning me out.) I have found that the more I joyfully serve and openly verbalize with my children about my service (that looks like this…”Oh, there’s only one piece of treat left. Mommy wants YOU to have it, because I love to serve you.” or “I know I asked you to fold this laundry, but why don’t you go enjoy the movie with the other children and I will finish it FOR you.”), the more they become thankful and serve others with joy! It’s true! If we’re serving our children with a grudging spirit, complaining about the work load, or sighing and acting irritated all the time, what do we expect THEM to do but copy us? Likewise, if we serve with joy (all the while teaching them to serve others as well), we will begin to see a joyful, thankful attitude in return. Before long, your children will be noticing when YOU are tired and offering to serve YOU.
- Continually acknowledge that all of our blessings AND trials come directly from the Lord. A truly thankful attitude comes from the contentment in knowing that all of our lives are in God’s hands. We can trust Him (and give thanks in EVERY thing!) when we fully believe that He is in control. What is your response when blessings rain down on your family? Do you acknowledge GOD’S handiwork and thank Him in front of your children? What about when the trials rain down and you can’t see your hand in front of your face through the darkness? Do you still thank Him then? Our children will never see Jesus in all things and learn to trust Him if WE do not continually SHOW Him to them! Openly thank God for the blessings AND trials of life in front of your children. I remember my dad being very hesitant to ever share financial details with his children (I think his goal was to keep us feeling secure). I have found that when we carefully share the ups and downs in life WITH OUR CHILDREN, they are strengthened in their own faith and encouraged to be always thankful.
Just one more personal illustration on this topic, as it hits close to home. Johanna (adopted at 14 from an orphanage in China) came home with a most unthankful attitude. 🙂 She was like a willful 2 year old, expecting to be served and to get her way, fighting against any and all kinds of unselfishness. We worked and worked (and worked!) on cultivating an attitude of thankfulness in her. First we role-played, then we expected verbal thanks, then we outlasted the refusal to say “thank you” about a million times. We served and loved and gave over and over again, all the while teaching and verbalizing thankfulness. I’m not going to lie, some days I thought we’d never get there. 🙂 But, those baby steps led to baby progress and eventually we have what happened this weekend: Saturday was my birthday, and it fell right in the middle of an amazing missions conference in which I was royally spoiled. One of the ladies in the church owns a boutique and gave me 2 bags full of lovely new clothes. Several people gave me gift cards for shopping, and the pastors’ wife and a sweet staff member blessed me with a new purse and wallet! By the time my family birthday party rolled around on Saturday, I had a whole PILE of new treasures. 🙂 After I opened my presents, I was sorting through everything on my bed, when Johanna walked in. She stood there for a moment, silently looking at everything. I know special days can be a trigger for Johanna’s PTSD, so I gently put my arm around her and said, “Johanna, are you struggling with jealousy because Mommy got new things? It’s okay to feel a little sad when someone else gets presents.” She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, NO, Mommy. I’m not jealous at all. I’m just so overwhelmed.” The tears began to fall as she said, “I’m just SO thankful that you got so many blessings!”
Don’t give up, weary parent. Keep cultivating that attitude of thankfulness in your children.
With you on the journey,
Have you ever wondered if a person you have met is a good friend? I know I have! Sometimes it’s hard to know whether a person will be a good influence on your character or not, and whether they will encourage you in the Lord.
Teens need friends. Everybody does, but especially, teens. Finding a right one is hard. Sometimes we’re tempted to treat our friends better than our siblings. In this post, I’m going to talk about being a good friend, having a good friend, and treating our siblings like our very best friends.
My mom has always said that a sibling relationship is much more important than a friend relationship. Why? Who will be there for you the rest of your life? Who will be there to encourage you when you’re getting married? Who will be there to help and encourage you in the Lord? Your sibling. 🙂 A friend relationship is important, but a sibling relationship is valued over everything! Every teen struggles with treating their friends better than, sometimes, their sibling. Everyone does! Including me. 🙂 But God gave us our siblings so that we can be an encouragement to each other, and if there’s ever a point in a friendship that a friend is somehow blocking that special sibling relationship, maybe that person isn’t best for you.
My parents both were blessed in being raised in a Christian home. My dad only had one sister, but my mom had 5 siblings. I enjoy hearing about their struggles (and successes!) in relationships so they can help me be a better friend and sister.
When my sister Johanna came home from China, she was 14 and I was 9. I had been the oldest for 9 years, and was perfectly fine with out of birth order adoption. (Well, I was fine with it in the beginning when she didn’t speak English LOL!) But I had to work very hard about not being jealous if she did something that I just didn’t get to do yet. Like makeup, sitting up front in the car, that kind of stuff. Johanna struggled with feeling jealous of me and my relationship with my parents (since she was the new one to the family). She worried that my parents loved ME more than they loved her. So things weren’t always good between us. We both struggled with jealousy at first, and we sometimes still do! (We like to talk to each other and our mom if we’re starting to feel those jealous feelings again.) Once we realized that we both are special and get to do different stuff, and we’re both equally important in the family, that’s when our special relationship began. And Johanna and I are now BEST FRIENDS! We had to decide that we were going to chose to be happy in what someone else had. Even if we couldn’t do it or didn’t have it. 🙂
This is the same for a friend relationship as well. When you see someone else who has something that maybe isn’t bad, but you can’t have it, or you can’t do it, you have to make that decision to be happy for them and not get jealous.
So while it’s important for teens to have friends, remember that your very best friends should be your siblings. Whether you’re in a bigger church, or a smaller one, you can usually find someone who you hit it off with, and who really cares about you and having a great relationship. A friend who always desires to be a blessing to you rather than what they can get out of you.
Here are five things to consider when looking for a true friend (and remember, WE should be working on being this kind of friend as well!):
1. They are unselfish in their words and actions.
2. They always seek to be a blessing to others, rather than a burden.
3. They respect their parents and other adults. (Both in front of others AND in private.)
4. They encourage you to live for the Lord and make good choices. (They’re not secretly encouraging you to sin.)
5. They are always seeking to be a servant.
Teens, if you are seeking a friend, ALWAYS remember this, “The kind of friend you want, ALWAYS seek to be.”
I’d love to talk to teens in the comments below about their struggle for friends or sibling relationships! 🙂
By Ellie Rose, 13 years old
Sometimes as a Christian teen young lady, it’s hard to know what we should wear. I’ve found that it’s hard to find both modest and feminine apparel….. Apparel that doesn’t make you look like you’re 30 :), but is also appropriate and at the same time still look modern.
Teens struggle with peer pressure and trying to be like the people we’re around. And that’s normal, but we have to know how to handle it. Even I struggle with it. My mom will sometimes catch me and say to me, “Ellie, you don’t have to be like this person or this person. Just be you!”
It’s funny because little kids even struggle with peer pressure. Have you ever seen one of your younger siblings get something for their birthday? When they open it up and get all excited, the younger one sees it and says, “Mommy, mommy! That’s exactly what I want for my birthday!” Why? It’s because they want to be like the sibling who just got something, that in their eyes, looked really cool! Even if they had never even seen the toy before, they saw what the other one had, and wanted it. That’s how it is with us too! We see someone else who has something that may not be the best for us, and the more we’re around them, the more we want what they have. It’s so important to find contentment in the way we look, the body God gave us, and the things we possess.
In this society today, people are ALWAYS watching you. Watching to see if we look different from them, and how. One of the things the world watches for, is modesty and how we act. Yes, sometimes we will get stared at! Since we have a big family, everywhere we go we get stared at! Lol! And I have to admit, sometimes I will get frustrated because I feel that we can’t go anywhere without being the center of attention. People are always watching us. But that’s why we have to be a good example to those around us, so that unsaved people will be able to tell that we’re different from the world.
What you think is appropriate for you or your family, is your opinion. You should talk with your parents and ask God before you make those decisions. But I believe that whatever you wear it should cover your body and bring attention to your face. Certain clothes bring attention to your body and not your face, and that is not, by definition, modest.
I’d like to talk about a little about what I’ve found helpful in finding clothes or outfits for teen girls.
- Thrift stores and consignment stores are a great place to find clothes that aren’t too expensive, and usually you can find cute clothing there.
This shirt pictured above is actually a little sleeveless shirt I got at a huge Consignment Store in North Carolina. It was only $4! I paired it with a cream shirt that I also got at the consignment store and a black and white skirt that my mom found for $12 at Ross.
- If you have an outlet mall near you, Loft, Ann Taylor, Talbots, are great stores to find maxi skirts, cute shirts, etc. And what if your thinking, “I’m not in adult sizes.” Well all of these stores which I have listed will usually have petite sizes. But these stores can also be expensive at times. So go when they have a sale running.
- Target is also a great place for maxi skirts for any sizes. They also have cute modest shirts (or undershirts) there too! I found the entire outfit below at Target.
My older sister Johanna (18) (who was adopted from China), struggles a lot with finding clothes that fit her and help her look her age. She’s very short and because of that she can’t shop at the same stores as me sometimes. So I’ll probably ask her to tell you in a different post some of the stores she enjoys, and what styles she likes.
Girls, let’s try to be modest in both our dress AND our attitudes! This honors our parents and God. It doesn’t have to be miserable, either–it can be quite fun coming up with different outfits.
I’d love to chat with other teen girls about their struggles with modesty or peer pressure in the comments below! 🙂
By Ellie Rose, 13 years old
I wish that parenting came with a perfect “how to” handbook. I REALLY wish adoptive parenting came with that handbook. 🙂
I’ve been asked to share what we’ve learned so far in our adoptive parenting journey. Most of this applies to adopting an older child, but some of it is helpful with the younger crowd as well. Johanna has encouraged me to blog these things, and I plan on getting her to participate in the series. (We’ve got a great plan for an interactive video, too!)
There are so many things we wish we had known when we first brought Johanna home, things that have literally made the difference between us making it or not. I’m always learning and willing to share what I’ve learned—so, here goes. 🙂
(Please remember that I’m not THE expert in this field, and that all of my advice may or may not work for you and your child.)
Let’s start at the beginning with number one. 🙂
1. Focus on the Essentials
Often families are struggling because of a focus on non-essentials.
Here’s the thing: Kindness is an essential skill.
Eating oatmeal is not. Ask me how I learned this one! 🙂
Respect for authority is another esssential.
Throwing toilet paper into the toilet (and not the trashcan or floor) is not. 🙂
Communicating needs and feelings in English is an essential skill.
Reading in English is not.
Bonding and forming healthy attachments with both parents and siblings is an ESSENTIAL skill—-Education is not.
Yes, they need an education. Yes, we want them to “catch up”. Sadly, many families focus on catching up with education MORE than they focus on catching up on healthy attachments.
If you’re more stressed about what workbook/curriculum/online program/school your child needs than you are their ability to fully communicate with you in English, you are likely focusing on the WRONG SKILL.
And here is where you find frustrated families, because a child with no healthy attachment skills will more than likely NOT CATCH UP on their education. So you’re pushing, and forcing, and stressing, and the child could care less because the skill they need most is an attachment with you, not an education.
My number one advice for families adopting an older child is for them to FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIALS.
Early essential skills worth focusing on:
—Kindness to both people AND animals.
—Communication of needs in new language.
—Healthy sleep and eating habits.
—Family rules for chores and safety.
—Playful interaction between family members.
—Loving touch is a GOOD thing.
—Parents are primary and NECESSARY for meeting needs.
Behaviors NOT worth focusing on in the beginning:
—Public behavior (even when it’s incredibly embarrassing, lol).
—Gross habits (nose picking, burping at table, wiping snot on their sleeve, etc).
—Hygiene (daily showering, changing of clothes, brushing teeth, etc).
—Unhealthy attachment/idolization of past relationships or country.
—Heart change. (More on this one later.)
Now, of course, many of the things on the non-essential list are able to be addressed while still focusing on the essentials.
But anytime you find yourself overwhelmed or upset at your child, ask yourself–“Is this an essential skill I’m stressing about?”
If the answer is “no”, consider easing up, letting go, and returning to the essentials for awhile. 🙂