Hello, my amazing Tribelet of Mini-Women. And emerging women you absolutely are. All of you who commented on last week’s post JAMIE, THIRZAH, ASHER, HALLE BELLE, SOPHIA and GRACE) said you are at number 3 on the turning-into-a-woman scale: your body is SO different than it was a year ago and everybody can tell (if they’re paying attention!)
That tells me that you’ve had the talks about WHY your body is changing (the whole hormone thing) and what you can expect as it continues to take its more adult shape, so we probably don’t have to go there. Right now, most of your questions seem to be about whether what you’re experiencing right now is NORMAL.
I can pretty much assure you that it is. It’s just that “normal” is different for everybody. I’m sure that makes no sense, so let’s put it this way: all girls go through puberty eventually and all of them start their periods at some point. Sure, there are VERY rare exceptions, but those usually go along with challenges a girl has had since birth so it won’t come as a surprise. When we’re talking about 99.9% of tween girls, we can safely say you’ll all get there.
Basically, then, whatever is happening with your body right now is perfectly normal for YOU. Of course, this is exactly the point in your life when you want to fit in and be like your friends, which makes you self conscious when you’re the only one in the P.E. locker room wearing a B-cup bra or the single person in your group of friends who has started her period. Maybe some of the REASONS for the differences will help you:
* Girls from different ethnic backgrounds start puberty at different times. The average African-American girl begins puberty just before the age of 9. The typical white girl starts right before the age of 10.
* Hair growth in those surprising places varies with ethnic backgrounds too. Girls of Asian descent have very little body hair. Girls with Italian blood have it in abundance.
* Your genes (the traits you inherit from your family) determine how you’ll grow during this time in your life. Some tweens seem to go from straight as a broomstick to lusciously curvy practically over night. Others stay thin and willowy but get taller. Still others go through a chunky stage before things start to stretch out and take shape, because the weight gain and the growth spurt don’t always happen at the same time. Look at the women in your family — not just your mom but your dad’s mom and sisters. Check out pictures of your grandmothers when they were young. That will give you an idea of how you might grow. And grow you will. In this 2- to 4-year period girls put on weight and grow taller at a faster rate than before, as much as four inches in a year instead of the usual two. That will slow down about the time you have your first period, and you’ll probably reach your adult height one to two years after that. Don’t be surprised if you grow as many as 9 inches from the time puberty kicks in!These are the 3 basic body types we get from our ancestors:
Endomorph: round body with soft curves and a little more body fat. That does NOT mean you’re fat! Not everybody looks like the girls in the magazines and on TV. Most of the time, THEY don’t even look like that. Photoshop anyone?
Ectomorph: slim body with fewer curves and more angles. That does NOT mean you look like a boy! It means you look like you.
Mesomorph: muscular body with wide shoulders and slim hips. That does NOT mean you’re a jock. You do have an athletic body but you’re still every inch a girl
* Genes also tell your face how to change and your feet how big to grow. Those feet of yours will probably reach their adult size before the rest of you does, which can make for some pretty klutzy moves until it all gets coordinated.
Step One in having a more peaceful puberty is to accept that what’s happening to your body is normal and good and right for you. If you can do that now, your entire womanhood is going to be so much better, trust me. I know women in their 50’s who are still struggling to look like Barbie — who NOBODY looks like! This is the time to learn to love the you God has shaped with his own hands.
How do you do that?
(1) Refuse to watch shows or read magazines or look at websites where all the women have major breasts and impossibly tiny waists and long, long legs and practically no hips. The people who truly look like that (they haven’t been Photo Shopped) make up about .5% of the population. And many of them are on super strict diets and work out more than they do anything else including sleep.
(2) Laugh to yourself or at least feel sorry for people who are all about what the world considers to be perfect figures. It’s ridiculous. Why is the size of somebody’s hips the most important thing about them? Who would you rather be around: someone who’s funny and welcoming and interested and has a poochy tummy — or somebody who looks like Tinker Bell but is critical and boring and blows you off? Seriously?
(3) Flat-out ignore anybody who points out the flaws in your developing body. Especially boys. Are you REALLY going to believe the rude comments of a kid who doesn’t seem to realize he’s wearing the wrong size pants? (When is that going to go out of style, by the way?) Boys are freaked out by girls starting to look more like women. They don’t know what to do about it, which is mostly because they start puberty later than girls do. What they end up doing is acting like Absurd Little Creatures. So don’t even roll your eyes when they make some comment about your bra. Walk on. I mean it.
(4) Resist the temptation to compare yourself to other girls. Just don’t go there. Do you think the ones who have blue eyes are better than the ones who have brown? No, right? So why the Sam Hill would you think the girl with the perky little breasts is better than you with your so far non-existent ones? Super silly when you think about it.
(5) Take every one of the things that are bothering you about your body straight to God. That’s where our TALKING TO GOD JOURNALS come in. Each time I post I’ll suggest something to write to the Lord about in your journal. When you write:
* talk straight to God. I usually start with “Good morning, God. Boy do I have stuff to talk to You about today.”
* pour it all out — the complaints, the things that make you want to scream, the questions, the doubts — as well as the good stuff (I usually spend a whole page talking about the things I’m thankful for that happened the day before, unless I’m really on a roll with something that’s making me crazy)
* don’t edit yourself — this is not the time to be concerned with your handwriting, spelling, punctuation or sentence structure. NOBODY ELSE IS GOING TO READ THIS SO IT DOESN’T MATTER! Trying to do it “right” will only slow you down and come between you and your honest feelings
* before you close your journal, ask God in writing for exactly what you want, keeping in mind what’s good and right to ask for; not, “Please give me a figure like my sister,” but “Please show me how to deal with it when she teases me about my flat chest,” or even “Will you please get into her heart and show her how much her teasing hurts me?”
THIS WEEK’S TTGJ PROMPT: Of those five things listed above that will help you have a good attitude about your own beautiful body, which one is the hardest for you? Take it to God …
And share it with us if you want to. We will never laugh at you or tell you how you should look or hint that you aren’t beautiful.You can count on it.
Hello, my amazing Tribelet of Mini-Women! Why exactly do I call you that — Mini-Women? I always have, ever since I started writing the Lily books … before you all were even born. (Yikes!) The answer to that question makes the perfect introduction to our series on your changing body. So here it is:
If you’re a girl between eight and twelve years old, you’re a mini-woman, because you’re no longer that little baby girlfriend who couldn’t even make her own peanut butter sandwich, but you haven’t completely lost your mind and become a teenager. Although I suspect there’s some eye-rolling and whatevering going on.
Some people will say you’re a tween, which you are. That’s why our blog is called “Tween You and Me.” But in conversations like this I like “mini-woman”. That’s because:
* There are changes going on in your body. It’s not the same as it was a year ago or a month ago or even yesterday. And it might be a little bit different tomorrow. It’s like you’re turning into someone else. Actually, you are.
* All of that is caused by hormoneswhich are chemicals being made in your body that are slowly changing you from girl to woman.
* The stage you’re going through, when the hormones do their thing, is called puberty. It’s making you into a smaller version of a woman. A mini-woman.
Before you start freaking out with, “A woman? I’m having enough trouble being a kid!” relax, okay? Yeah, it can seem scary. Especially because it’s coming just when a lot of things outside your body are changing too — like more homework, harder math, more complicated friend drama. Now you have all that PLUS bras, hairy armpits and feet that are suddenly too big for the rest of you.
Seems like God could have come up with a better plan, right?
Actually, it IS a good plan. The fact that it’s a process and doesn’t happen all at once is an awesome thing. Can you imagine going to sleep one night at age 10 all flat-chested and hairless and waking up looking like you’re 18? Talk about freaking out. Yeah, God knows what God is doing.
Still, it can feel scary. But it doesn’t have to be. You have a lot of help, and one of those helpers is this blog. From now until probably the end of the summer, we’re going to talk about all the things that happen to mini-women’s bodies and how to get through them with class and faith and even some fun. There’s so much that’s amazing about this transformation that’s taking place, why struggle with the hard stuff?
These are the kinds of things we’re going to be talking about:
* all the facts so you can understand what’s going on and why
* being prepared with the right supplies
* finding the right people to help you
* how to turn to God as your main help
* liking the body you’re growing into — even if it doesn’t look the bodies on the models and singers and movie stars
YOU are going to be involved in this. At the end of every post I’ll ask for your thoughts and questions and fears and aha! moments. Your comments will be woven into everything — including the ones you made on the post “When It Gets Ugly.”
This is like a journey and we’re taking it together. Some of the steps we’ll take will apply to everybody. Some will be unique to just you. Always, always, God will be out ahead of us, showing us the way many mini-women before us have traveled, and making it better than ever.
I’d like for you to do two things before we begin. One I gave you a heads-up on yesterday and that is to make yourself a Talking To God Journal if you don’t have one already. This is a blank book where you’ll write your thoughts to God about this journey we’re on. In each post I’ll get you started with an open-ended sentence for you to fill in as your write, although of course you can include anything you want. Your journal will be private and personal, just between you and God, who made and cares about your body.
The other thing I want you to do is show this post to your mom or guardian. If there is anything about puberty that she would rather discuss with you before you read it here, please have her email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can tell her when I’ll be posting on that topic. That way she can make sure you don’t read that particular post.
If you want to leave a comment now, tell us where you are on the mini-woman scale:
1 – I’m still pretty much the same as I was six months ago except maybe for being taller. My body hasn’t started to change yet.
2- I’m seeing some changes in my body that probably other people can’t see or don’t notice.
3- My body is so different than it was a year ago and EVERYBODY can tell, I’m sure of it.
Hello, my awesome Tribelet of Mini-Women! We were having some issues with our Join the Tribelet website and blog, but we’re back on track now, ready to get into ALL your questions and issues and concerns about those changing bodies of yours.
Your response to our last post was AMAZING — SO many questions, I haven’t even gotten through all of them yet. That means I’ll put up our actual post TOMORROW, Friday, May 20. In the meantime, if you don’t have a Talking To God Journal, try to put one together before we start our new series. Here are some examples — and do help each other with this if you have questions, okay?
You get the idea, right? Tomorrow we’ll talk about what to write there. Can’t wait! I’ve missed you …
Hello, my awesome Tribelet of mini-women! Happy Wednesday. That picture doesn’t exactly represent a happy day, but things are NOT happy when the people you are thrown in with every day act, as we say in the South, ugly. Also hateful. Rude, crude … you get the idea.
Some of you have had experience with that …
ZOE: I have heaps of guys and girls in my grade who swear, talk about and watch inappropriate stuff, and have a horrible attitude towards teachers. It makes life hard sometimes when I am in a group or something with them and I have no idea what they’re talking about or their language is not nice. That makes it really awkward for me.
ASHER: Quite a few of my classmates cuss, but there are a couple that are just cold-blooded! They openly admit that they’re friends with the other because they’re rich, and get into fights that include laptop slamming and abusive words.
MARY CLAIRE: There are girls in my dance class that cuss. It’s sad because they are pretty sweet other then that.😦 One of the girls mentioned that her mom always checked her Facebook for cuss words. I think maybe that’s one of the reasons they do it?
HALLE BELLE: At my school sometimes people use their middle finger (in a bad way) or other gestures like that.
What do you DO about that, especially when you don’t have a choice about being there?
HALLE BELLE suggests this: “Often, I’ll just leave the conversation or bring up a new topic to show I’m not interested in that kind of thing.”
ASHER came up with this solution: “Yesterday night I was reading Acts:16 about how Paul and Silas spared their guard’s life, even though he had punished them and they would probably have life imprisonment. In the end, the guard got saved, freed them and treated their wounds! It really reminded me to show grace to others – and they might just do the same! 😊”
So let’s start a list of things to do when it gets ugly out there and you can’t just cut and run:
(1) Change the topic. It’s a good idea to keep several at the ready for situations like these.
(2) Show some grace. That might mean cutting people who are acting ugly some slack because they have bad family issues or haven’t been taught how to behave or are frustrated over something. This isn’t saying it’s okay. It’s just trying to understand.
(3) State how you feel about the behavior without preaching.
DO SAY: Guys, do you really have to cuss like that? It’s getting to me, y’know?
DON’T SAY: Cussing is a sin and you shouldn’t be doing it.
(4) Set an example of the best way to behave, no matter how horribly everybody else is acting. The more they swear and flip people off and mouth-off to teachers, the more you use awesome language and give hugs and show respect for the grown-ups in charge. Do NOT let anybody bring you down to their level. Promise?
(5) If the things other kids are doing interfere with you being able to concentrate at school or perform in an activity, tell the adult in charge. This isn’t tattling. That’s when you tell so somebody will get in trouble. This is reporting, which is when you tell to help somebody — like you!
(6) Stand up for kids who are on the other end of all that bad language and attitude, younger or smaller or shyer people who have a hard time doing (3) above.
DO SAY: “Hey. Knock that off. You don’t have a right to make people miserable with your mouth. You’re better than that.”
DON’T SAY: “You are such a loser. Nobody likes you, which you would know if you ever shut up long enough.” (As good as it would feel to do that, it isn’t the God-way)
As we’ve said many times here on Tween You and Me, we can’t change other people. We can only change ourselves. And we can’t even do THAT without our God guiding us. So let’s pray for each other and for those kids out there who are making life hard and awkward and sad. We are, after all, the Tribelet.
Next week we’re going to move on to a brand new topic — our changing bodies. Some of what we’ll talk about over the weeks will come from YOU! A Christian Girl’s Guide to Growing Up, a book I wrote about that very thing — but most of it will be based on YOUR questions and the things you’re struggling with.
Let’s start right there. If you want to comment this week, tell us the THREE things that are the most confusing about this whole turning-into-a-young-woman thing. And remember: there are no lame questions. This is a safe place. This is Tween You and Me.