For Adults

Before You Say No

By: Ana Batts

Summertime is my favorite. VBS. Summer Camp. A break from school. So many adventures.

And now that our oldest children are in high school, summer comes with even more opportunities. Mission trips. Volunteer opportunities. E-TEAM. Truth and Peace.

All those things are great. And expensive.

It is easy to simply say no to these opportunities because funding them is terribly daunting. Here are a few tips that we have found helpful with our fundraising for these summer opportunities.

1. Figure out what your family’s financial contribution will be. In the end, fundraising only goes so far. Having a plan from the outset helps keep the finances from getting too stressful.

2. Don’t expect your church to be the primary source of fundraising for your teen’s summer adventures. We are blessed to be in a church that is incredibly supportive of our teens. But remember, churches and church members don’t have unlimited funding.

3. Think outside the box. Does your teen have a special talent? Crafting? Make something to sell.

Building? Build something to sell.

Cooking? Bake something to sell.

Photography? Offer to take family photos on Mother’s and Father’s Day weekends for donations.

Do you have access to equipment that your teen can safely use? Cutting grass. Weeding flower beds. Power washing sidewalks. All are great ways to turn time into donations.

4. Timing is everything. Take advantage of times people are already planning to spend money on special treats or gifts. Timing makes your efforts more successful.

Bake sales are great anytime but bake cakes and pies around Thanksgiving or Easter. Make special treats around Valentine’s Day.

Spring cleaning and fall yard clean up are other great seasonal opportunities.
Holidays offer unique opportunities but taking advantage of those requires advance planning. Everyone is fundraising in April and May. Don’t wait to start in the spring.

Don’t procrastinate. Plan ahead. Spread the word early.

5. Plan for your teen to work for their trip(s). Babysitting. Yard work. Cleaning house. Wrapping Christmas gifts. These and others are service opportunities and are great ways to practice serving while generating donations. Even more than that, working for these opportunities can help build a grateful heart and a good work ethic.

The first year of fundraising is always the easiest. If your teen decides on a second summer of E-TEAM, Truth and Peace, or other similar adventures, expect that it will be harder.

Plan accordingly. Start earlier. Work harder.

It is definitely worth the effort.

For Adults

The Words of Our Mouth

By: Diana Bryant

There’s an old, old saying that goes like this: Little pitchers have big ears. It comes from the 16th century and was used by parents to signal each other that their little children (pitchers) were around. They might overhear something that was not meant for their ears (handles on the pitchers). It’s a rather obscure picture today, but the point is still true that adults should be aware of what they say within the hearing of children.

Many first-time parents have learned that the hard way. When in a very public setting, their children repeat something said in supposed privacy at home.  Most of the time it just gets a laugh, but can be more than a little embarrassing, or at the least require some explanation.

Children, both young and old, learn much of their vocabulary and expressions from listening to the grown ups in their lives. Parents, teachers, and grandparents will often hear words they have said, expressions they use, and even their inflections coming from the mouths of their babes.

Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45 tell us that the words that come out of our mouths actually came from our hearts.  Do our children hear us gossip when we’re with our friends?  Make fun of others? Are we critical of people without considering our audience? Our kids form many of their opinions of other people and shape their reactions to situations from expressions we use, ideas we express, and emotions we display.

A common thing heard by our kids today is an abundance of ways to take the Lord’s name in vain.  Taking His name in vain is so much more than just swearing. It has been abbreviated, appears in jokes, and is used so commonly that it loses it meaning and shows no reverence. Besides the obvious commandment, scripture is full of the fact that God’s name is called hallowed, precious, majestic, and glorious. In fact, we teach our children how our heart feels about God by the language they hear us use.  Regardless of the words we use to teach them, we teach them even more by the words and expressions we use in their presence.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14).

For Adults

How Do You Feel About Laundry

By: Dawn Elliot

In a recent conversation with a young newlywed, she was lamenting how much laundry her new husband generated and how much she hated doing laundry. As we chatted, I shared with her two things.

First, I reminded her of how long she had prayed for her husband and how God had answered her prayer by allowing her to marry this godly man that she loved. Philippians 2:14 tells us to “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Is that always easy? Absolutely not. It takes practice. And do you know how our children best learn this? When we model it. I never remember my mom complaining about household tasks, even when we came in late at night after a basketball game with dirty uniforms. She happily washed them and had them ready for the next day. Her example reminds me not to complain about household tasks but to thank God for the blessing of family and the love and the work that comes with that blessing.

Secondly, I challenged her to think of doing her husband’s mountain of laundry with an attitude of service. Galatians 5:13 reminds us to “through love serve one another.” It goes on in verse 14 to tell us that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Any command in Scripture should start in our own homes. Where better to put the principles of Scripture into practice than with the ones that we love the most. I will quickly admit that this “practice” is not always easy. I prayed for boys; I got boys. Do you know what comes with boys? A filthy bathroom. Bathroom cleaning is not my favorite chore, but it is definitely a way for me to practice serving my family with love.

While the world tells us to focus on ourselves, God’s Word tells us to serve one another in love without grumbling.  

What about you? How do you feel about laundry?

For Adults

Time

By: Anna Fox

“I just don’t have enough time.” “There are not enough hours in the day.” These phrases quickly roll off our tongues, yet if we listed how we utilized our day, it would often show we wasted a lot of time. What are we passing down to the next generation in this state of busyness? I work with ages 0-18 and have heard, “I just don’t have enough time” from every age group. This phrase has been paired with not enough time to do personal devotions, our family is too busy to do family devotions, and we don’t have enough time to come to small groups.

Do we utilize our time in a way that teaches the next generation that our walk with Christ is essential and intentional? Does it teach that we see the importance of obeying Scripture about being faithful to the local church and fellowshipping with other believers? When they become adults, will they know the importance of having a walk with Christ, attending church, and serving in their local church? Or is our lifestyle teaching them that Jesus died for us so that we can live for Him when it is convenient?

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Another version says, “So be careful how you live. Do not live like ignorant people, but likewise people. Make good use of every opportunity you have because these are evil days.” Biblical stewardship is more than being good stewards of our finances and resources; being a good steward also includes time. The word steward is seen in Scripture as referring to a person (servant) entrusted with great responsibility for his master’s belongings. We are to make the most of the time the Lord has given us.

All things belong to Him, including our time. When we realize that our purpose on earth is bringing God glory and that He should be part of everything we do, does that change our perspective on how we view time?

The girls in your life are trying to navigate school, homework, sports, band, church, and their walk with Christ, and it becomes overwhelming. Our job as mentors, parents, and adult figures in their lives is to help them develop a biblical worldview. We should be teaching them that everything we do must be filtered through Scripture and seeking where the Lord is at work and joining Him.

Here are some practical ways to help them navigate this:

  1. Be honest with the girls in your life about your struggles with being a good steward
  2. of time. Start the discussion that our days belong to the Lord, and we are to make
  3. the most of our time and be good stewards.
  4. Have a practical discussion on how your family will adjust to allow the Lord to be
  5. Lord of ALL things in your life and family’s life.
  6. Ask your teen what areas they struggle with regarding time and help them navigate
  7. that through a biblical worldview with practical solutions.
  8. Have intentional daily, spiritual talks with your teen. It does not have to be a sit-
  9. down family devotion, but instead, in everyday situations, talk about what the
  10. Scriptures say and how you can obey it.
  11. Take time to self-reflect on what your family’s lifestyle teaches about the
  12. importance of church attendance, small group or Sunday school, serving in the local church, and then adjust.

Serve together as a family. Create a bond with your teen in the local church that goes beyond youth group so that when they become adults, they stay connected because they already are connected. Teach them that if they are believers, they have a spiritual gift that needs to be utilized in the local church.

We only have one life to live for Christ. He has entrusted us with these girls to be their parents or mentor. Make the most of the time you have with them by teaching them how to make the most of their time by serving Christ in all areas of life.

For Adults

Riding To Victory

By: Brittany Hernandez

A couple months ago my husband and I bought bikes. I totally got a purple mom bike with a basket. Its pretty much amazing. I try to at least 4-5 times through out the week go on an evening bike ride ALONE!

I like to take 30-60 min and ride around town and listen to some worship music and just pray. At first it was a little difficult. Those hills were killing my legs. To be honest I was not enjoying it but I knew I needed the time alone, and I was getting a work out in.

What I have started to notice is those hills getting a little easier to climb, and noticed that when I continue to peddle downhill I build up momentum for the next hill. This may sound silly to you, but the other night as I was ridding I felt like God was showing me a picture of life. There are always hills to climb. Some small, some a little bit larger. But at some point you start to go back down. How true is that in life.

Sometimes we have battles and mountains we have to climb. Sometimes we are down low in the valley trying to get up the mountain but the pain is so much to endure it seems impossible. But, the more we peruse and keep pushing upward and the more consistent we stay in the word and prayer the more momentum we have when we have to climb. I don’t know where you are at right now. I don’t know if you are just getting started or have been peddling like crazy. I do know you have to start somewhere and stay disciplined. But with hard work and the determination to life a life of victory and truth you can do it.

So if you are trying to peddle out of the valley up the hill and you are tired, keep pushing. Do not give up. Greater is He! It is worth the climb and the pain of the ride. When the ride is over, there is victory.

For Adults

The Promises of God

Promises can be found all over the place!  Ads on television promise everything from to beautiful white teeth to cars that parallel park themselves. Pill bottles promise you’ll lose 20 pounds or have more energy. Sometimes your children promise “I’ll feed him and walk him and clean up after him!” when a new puppy is in question. If you think back over your life, memories of promises broken stick with you much longer than promises kept. We expect promises to be kept, and when they aren’t it causes disappointment and discouragement. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”.

Christmas reminds us of the biggest, best promise kept! The promise of a Savior and the hope of eternal life with the God who created us. Talk about hope! Because that’s what promises really are – a reason to hope. Those promises, all that hope, is found throughout scripture. The Bible is full of hope for our everyday lives, hope for our future, hope for answers to our dilemmas and wisdom to navigate our lives.

Knowing and recognizing the kept promises of God can be a great thing to share with your daughter. Look for opportunities to point out how God provides, and when He keeps His promises.  Talk about the promises, use them to reassure, quote them to encourage, and refer to them when there are decisions to be made.  To do this, you have to know the promises and recognize them yourself.  Maybe you could make it a point in your devotional time this coming year to search out, memorize, and meditate on God’s promises. Perhaps you’ll want to list them, and note examples from your own life experiences of God’s faithfulness.  Then look for opportunities to share those with your daughter.  Help her see that they apply to her too, if she’s a child of God. Help her to recognize God working in her life.

Seeing God’s faithfulness should also make us more careful with our own promises.  If you promise to pray for someone, pray, maybe stopping right where you are to bring their need to the Lord. If you promise someone an answer “soon”, figure it out and give them their answer. If you make a promise to your children that you are then not able to keep, explain why and offer an alternative solution. Since we know kids learn by what they see in our lives everyday, help them learn trust and respect by keeping your word. Try not to make promises to your kids that you can’t be sure you can keep, perhaps telling them you will “do your best”. When your daughter experiences a broken promise from a friend, a boy, or a teacher, talk to her about resilience, forgiveness, and learning how to how to deal with disappointment.

This Christmas, undoubtedly there will be some “promises kept” and some “hope deferred” in all those packages under the tree, but let’s make sure to emphasize as much as we can the incredible promise God kept on that first Christmas!

For Adults

Gratitude

By: Jennifer Thomsen

November is known as the month for giving thanks. But if we can be grateful for one month, why don’t we maintain an attitude of gratitude year-round? How can we help our girls if we aren’t maintaining a grateful spirit ourselves? We will always encounter times in our lives when bad things happen, and we just don’t feel like being thankful. We can do some things before hard times hit to help us stay thankful.

We can learn a lot from Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-2. In chapter 1, we see a very distraught Hannah. Hannah wanted a baby more than anything. She did the only thing she knew to do; she went to the temple and pleaded with God. I’m not sure if few people were praying in the temple, or if it was her profound burden and emotions that made Eli think she was drunk. Eli told her to go in peace, that God would grant her request. And He did.

Chapter 2 starts with a prayer from Hannah. She proclaimed God’s goodness for 11 verses. Hannah praised God right before leaving her young son, her answer to prayer, at the Temple to serve with Eli. As a mom, my heart would have been breaking to know what was about to happen. I would be a hot mess! Not Hannah. She was thankful and took time to express her thankfulness to God.

From Hannah, we learn some simple lessons about gratitude that we can apply to our lives and teach our girls. Hannah spent time with God. When she had a problem, she took it to God. She let God see her for who she truly was. Hannah didn’t try to hide her emotions; she left it all on the altar. Hannah believed God would answer her prayers, and she put her faith and trust completely in Him.

First Thessalonians 5:16 -18 tells us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything. This is nothing new. In the Old Testament, the concept of giving thanks is described over a hundred times, and thankfulness comes up 71 times in the New Testament. If thankfulness is so prevalent throughout the entire Word of God, shouldn’t we practice gratitude every day in our own lives?

Here are a few suggestions to start being more thankful:

  • For each day of November, list one thing for which you are thankful. This may be a something that continues after November ends.
  • One thing I started this year is a gratitude journal. I list several things a day I am thankful for. Make sure to number the list, so that at the end of the year, you can look back and see how many things you are thankful for. This list has so many possibilities. If I experience something new or extra fun, I list it. When I witness God at work in a situation, I write it down. Even everyday things I take for granted are listed, such as glasses, medicine, or even heat or air conditioning.

These suggestions will help you focus on things for which you are grateful, but what about when hard times come your way? Living with an everyday attitude of gratitude will help you, for sure, but several years ago my daughter gave me a present that helps remember good things when I’m just not feeling thankful. It’s a mason jar with craft sticks in it. My daughter started the collection by writing down things she saw in me for which she was thankful. I have added to the jar when I think of things. When I’m feeling blue, I just read as many craft sticks as needed to remind me I have so much to be thankful for. When we have the correct mind of thankfulness ourselves, we can teach and model for our students how they can also cultivate their own spirit of gratitude.

God likes for us to have an attitude of thankfulness. In Luke 17:11-19, we find the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. What a remarkable and sad story. Ten lepers were healed, but only one returned to thank Jesus for being healed. I wonder how many times I have been one of the nine who forgot to thank God for something. My wish, both for myself and you, is that you not only remember to thank God for the big and small blessings, but that you help your girls start this practice at a young age.

For Adults

What Do I Strive to Be as a Parent?

By: Melinda Walker

Yesterday my dad had a stroke. I didn’t know how bad it was, I didn’t know his condition, I didn’t know anything. But I did know I needed to get there. Living almost 15 hours away from them makes it difficult.  I needed to be there for my dad, to actually see him, to receive all the information I so desperately needed, but I also needed to be there for my mom, to let her know she wasn’t alone, to help in any way I could.

My dad is a wonderful Christian man who never meets a stranger and loves children. He is the best father who has always been my encourager and my hero. My mom is a wonderful Christian woman, a prayer warrior, who always took care of my needs growing up and provided a great example of a Christian mom that I try to be daily. When God made her, He knew there wouldn’t be anyone else like her. She was and still is totally faithful to her husband, family, church, friends, country, and most importantly, God. She lives a busy life.

What do I strive to be as a parent? I have 2 daughters, 22 & 25 years old. When they were younger, my goal wasn’t to be their best friend. Instead, it was to raise them how God wanted me to raise them. My husband and I dedicated them to the Lord when they were babies and we made a promise to God to raise them in a Christian home, teach them about God and His love, and to let Him have control of their lives. Were we perfect parents? Of course not. Far from it!  But I knew each and every day they were His and He gave them to us for a purpose.

My parents instilled in me the value of teaching my children about the love of God. They cared for me, taught me about Jesus, took me to church every time the doors were open, and met all my needs (not wants) and that means the world to me. So, I’ve tried to do as my parents did. Hopefully my girls have been able to see His light shining through me just as I saw through my parents.

As I sit here with my dad, reminiscing of what both he and my mom did for me growing up, I can tell you that, in my eyes, they did exactly what God expected them to do. The Bible they read to me, my brother, and sister came to life each day they lived their lives as we were growing up and even more now. “Love the Lord your God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind and with all thy strength” Mark 12:30 & “Love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:31. As they have shown me through their lives, I want my girls to see the same from me.

What do you strive to be as a parent? Who do you look to as an example and why? What will your children remember about you when they are grown? Do you live a life that is pleasing to Him and is it making an impact on your children’s lives? God doesn’t say we have to be perfect parents, we’re human. But we do need to always strive to be like Him. God gave us our children for a purpose. They need the example of good Christian parents to show them how God wants them to live…Totally faithful to Him.

Just as my parents took care of me as a child, now it’s my time to care for them when I am needed and to let them know that what they taught me as a child, is still deeply ingrained in me. Knowing that I still look to my God for healing, strength, comfort, and peace through this time can be a testament of their faithfulness to Him throughout my life.    

For Adults

Who Made the Trees

“Who made the trees? Did you make all the trees?”

He smiled gently, having answered the young girl’s question many times already. “No, child. Remember, I merely planted the seeds I was given. God has done the rest.”

The little girl nodded. “God did the rest. God made the trees.”

The man squeezed his granddaughter’s hand gently, “And each one of them has a name. Just like me and you.”

She turned her wide eyes upward, smiling broadly, “All of them?”

The two walked together, hand in hand, through the vast grove of trees as the grandfather discussed the name of each.

The tallest was named Upright for her honorable nature and the way she unfailingly pointed to the heavens.

One tree looked burdened, beaten down with withered branches and aged wood. Yet, he still stood, enduring all of life’s battles. For this, he was called Resilient.

Another tree had incredible, overarching branches, thick with leaves and moss. Any who sought Safe Haven, need only rest under her protective arms.

Then there was Longevity; a seemingly ageless tree with deep roots and a strong foundation.

The largest was called Life Giving, for within his mighty roots and throughout his vast wood, flowed a multitude of pure, plentiful, oxygen.

One tree was filled with an abundance of oranges, their lively color standing out against the stark green of leaves. Her name was Bears Fruit.

There were also smaller trees, still growing and changing, in the early years of their life. The Ever Growing Glade, the grandfather called them.

And these smaller trees leaned on a bigger tree: Support. She helped the smaller ones stay in line as they grew. Her long branches extended across a section of the grove, as if providing some sort of motherly embrace.

On the edge of the grove were lonely trees, more susceptible to drought or the terrors of a storm. This was home to trees called Grounded and Firmly Planted, whose roots were so thick and widespread no amount of wind could uproot them, or sun could parch them.

Nearby, were Stability and Sturdy, whose foundations had been disrupted by an earthquake long ago. The trees sat precariously on the edge of a steep drop off; but instead of giving way, their roots had grown down along the side wall of the drop off and into the ground below, safely securing their trunks.

After a while, they reached the end of the grove. Here, the grandfather stopped. He bent down until he was eye level with the girl, took her gently by the shoulders, and held her gaze. “You see, child, each one of these trees represent our lives in this world as children of God.” He pointed to her chest, “You and I? We are the seeds God has planted into this world.”

She stared at his face, listening intently.

“You are to be Upright: honest, honorable, and always Pointing to Christ. This life will bring you trials and tribulation; you must be Resilient against its temptations; you must Endure its painful arrows. You are called to be a Safe Haven, a wall of Protection and love for the poor, the needy, and the lost. Your life must exhibit Longevity; a life Firmly Planted, Deeply Rooted, and Grounded in Truth.”

The girl nodded; her brow furrowed in innocent concern.

“Oh, child,” He continued softly, “Your words and your actions must be Life Giving; every breath must magnify your Maker so that you are one who Bears Fruit; that through Christ working in you, others may receive His pure, plentiful, grace. Like the young trees, you must be Ever Growing in your knowledge of Christ, your love for Him, and your drive to be more like Him every day. You are to Support those around you…but not just those around you; your support must Extend to the ends of the Earth, for He has called you higher and He is worthy of that calling. You are to have Stability when the snares of evil try to destroy your foundation, your faith. You are to be Sturdy in the midst of bold-face mockery and deceit; when you are told your faith is a lie.”

Tears had begun to well up in the little girl’s eyes. One nervous hand rested across her lips, as if ready to stifle a sob.

“Oh, but, child,” The grandfather whispered. “You are not alone. Because who made the trees?”

The girl sniffled, blinking away the tears. Her hand dropped, “God made the trees.”

“God made the trees.” He repeated, “And He has created those trees with everything necessary to stand firmly in this life. He strengthens them to withstand that which would have them weakened.” He kissed her forehead, “And He has created you in the same way. In your weakness, He is Strong.”

The grandfather stood. The girl’s eyes followed him all the way up. She raised her hands and he lifted her into his arms. Together, they stared back at the trees, swaying softly in the afternoon breeze.

“I pray these trees over you every day.” The grandfather said. “In your waking. In your sleeping. In your coming. In your going. In your present and in your future.”

“When I’m playing?” She asked quietly.

He chuckled, “Yes, even when you’re playing.” With her in his arms, he turned from the grove and began walking down the hill.

The girl looked back, as if in deep thought. Then turned to look back at her grandfather. “Who made the playground?” She asked.

His laughter echoed throughout the beautiful grove of trees behind them.

For Adults

13 Things Moms Can Do to Help Their Daughters Survive and Thrive in This School Year

By: Elizabeth Hill

Being a preteen or a teen is tough. But add in school and all the ups and downs that come with it and it becomes even tougher.

You know it, I know it, and your daughter REALLY knows it. So what can you do to help your daughter through these years?

It pains me to say I’m not a teenager anymore (and I hate to admit that it’s been a little while since I was). But thankfully it’s not such ancient history that I’ve forgotten everything. I remember both the pain and excitement of my middle/high school years.

With that in mind, I’m going to share with you 13 things you can do to help your daughter survive and thrive in the school year.

A lot of these suggestions are things that my parents did for me while I was in school. And yes, I did call my mom and talk these over with her. I’m not too old for that!

  1. Help your daughter study.

When I began thinking about the things my mom did for me in school, this is one of the first things I remembered. My mom would quiz me for tests, and it was always made me feel better prepared. Of course, your daughter needs to develop studying skills, but reviewing her test material together is a great way to bond and to keep up with what she is learning in school.

2. Encourage excellence, not perfection.

With schoolwork, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, etc., teach your daughter to put in the effort and do her best. But don’t demand perfection. Excellence is giving it your best effort with the time, resources, and skills you’ve been given. Perfection is pushing beyond reasonable limits to attain the highest possible outcome. Of course, you want your daughter to do her best, but you don’t want her to become burned out in an endless push to be the best. Teach her the proper balance.

3. Support her extracurricular activities.

Go to her games and recitals. Cheer her on. Let her know you’re proud of her.

4. Share your stories of your school years.

While your school experiences aren’t necessarily the same as your daughter’s, she will benefit from hearing your tales of failure, success, excitement, heartbreak, embarrassment, etc. The experiences of your past help your daughter relate to you and give her reassurance that someone else knows what she’s feeling.

5. Let your daughter know she can talk to you about anything, including the hard and embarrassing stuff.

I can’t imagine what girls are facing in school right now. Your daughter needs someone in her corner who will tell her the truth. Be approachable, not condemning. Cultivate a relationship where she feels safer coming to you with questions than going to the internet, friends, or even teachers.

6. Be willing to talk about relationships.

Your daughter has a natural desire for relationship; it’s part of a girl’s DNA! Whether it’s friendships, sibling relationships, crushes, or boyfriends, she is searching for love and acceptance. Walk beside her as relationships change. Share godly wisdom and personal experience with her. She needs someone to talk to, and the best person is you!

7. Teach your daughter how to present herself well.

She wants to make a good impression on the first day of school and beyond, and you can help her do that. No, you don’t have to grab a book and place it on her head for balance practice. Practical things like good hygiene and flattering makeup techniques, and hair styles will help her tremendously. Teaching your daughter to find clothes that both make her feel confident and demonstrates she has self-respect.

8. Eat together as a family.

I can’t remember many meals that I didn’t share with my family. You may not get a lot of words out of her at breakfast (if your daughter is anything at all like me). But consistent, shared mealtimes can be a constant for your daughter providing daily opportunities to share what’s going on in and around her life.

9. Don’t treat your daughter like she’s still a little kid.

Grant her a certain measure of freedom. Let her take the car to the school event or to get coffee with friends. As much as you want (and need) to be a part of your daughter’s life, there’s also a time where she needs to be on her own. And that’s a good thing. You don’t want her living with you forever, do you? She needs some independence to prepare her for the quickly approaching, after-high-school years.

10. Provide stability and set expectations.

I know I just said to give your daughter freedom, but she also needs to know that someone is in charge. While she may gripe and complain about your rules, she can’t deny the sense of safety and protection that comes with knowing her godly, consistent parents are leading their family with integrity. Your daughter needs to know the boundaries. It is within those boundaries she will find greater freedom to live, grow, and mature.

11. Don’t pressure your daughter into thinking that middle/high school is the only high point of her life.

While we can look back on our school days and remember how nice it was to have fewer responsibilities, we know the other stages of life come with lots of joy and excitement, too. Yes, encourage your daughter to soak it all in, but don’t make “making the most of high school” an added stressor. She can enjoy this while also looking forward to other good things to come.

12. Help her as she plans her future.

If your daughter wants to go to college, help her think through her plans, then find and apply for scholarships. However, there’s no need to push college as the only option. She may have other goals or dreams that don’t require college, and that’s okay! The most important thing is that she follows a God-honoring path that complements the skills and abilities with which He has blessed her.

13. Let your daughter fight some battles.

 Don’t always clean up her messes (literally or metaphorically) nor fix her problems. You should always be there to love and guide her through difficulties. She should not face major problems on her own. But you can’t just jump in and take care of everything. She needs to be able to figure out things on her own.  If she never has to learn things or face consequences for her actions, she will be stuck in a rut facing the same problem repeatedly. She will wait for someone to fix it for her. Kids with helicopter parents are in for a huge, brutal awakening the first time they must do anything on their own. Don’t set your daughter up for that kind of failure.