Growing to Sexual Maturity–Daughter
About the Guest
Every mom gets sweaty palms just thinking about giving the "talk." Today on the broadcast, Barbara Rainey helps your daughters understand how their bodies will change during puberty.
Barbara RaineyAfter graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Cru® in 1971. With her husband Dennis, whom she married in 1972, the Rainey’s cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry committed to helping marriages and families survive and thrive in our generation. Barbara is a frequent speaker and guest on FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s award-winning nationally-syndicated daily radio broadcast. She is the author or coauthor of...more
Barbara Rainey helps your daughters understand how their bodies will change during puberty.
Growing to Sexual Maturity–Daughter
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. Our host is the executive director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey. He is also the co-author of the book, "Parenting Today's Adolescent," and that's what we're going to be talking about today – parenting adolescents. Actually, about preparing for that adolescent adventure before the hormones actually hit, right?
Dennis: Mm-hm. In fact, Bob, I've got to tell you, there's a lot of things we've done over the past decade here at FamilyLife that I've been excited about, but there haven't been many things I'm as excited about as this resource we've created, which is a weekend getaway for a mom and her daughter, a dad and his son who is 10, 11, 12, maybe 13 years of age, to talk about – well, talk about the facts of life, talk about dating, peer pressure, and to prepare them to go throug what are, arguably, the most dangerous years a human being faces in their entire lifetime.
Bob: After you and Barbara had written the book, "Parenting Today's Adolescent," we all sat down as a team, and we talked about the fact that it really is a parent's responsibility to take a child through the teenage years, and it's not something we can do for the parent, but we realized what we could do is provide a tool, something that would help a parent prepare a son or a daughter for what's about to happen. And so we put together in the Passport to Purity box, five audio CDs, four of them for parent and child to listen to together, one for the mom or the dad to listen to before you go off on your weekend adventure together.
There's a student journal, there's a parent journal. At the end of the weekend there is a passport that you present to your son or your daughter that symbolically shows that they are ready for the adventure that is ahead, and it shows that they've learned a few things along the way – they've learned about peer pressure and about dating, and they've listened as you help the boys and Barbara helps the girls understand human sexuality, and I remember being in that session where that was recorded. The two of you were choosing your words very carefully.
Dennis: It's difficult enough talking to your own son or your own daughter, but when you, all of a sudden, take upon the mantel of talking to your son or your daughter – my voice is breaking, I'm going back to adolescence even as I speak here – I mean, it's a sacred privilege, an honor, and yet it has to bring the dignity, the sacredness back to sex, and yet leave the mystery intact so that this young person doesn't hear too much, but they hear enough so that – well, they understand how babies are made.
Bob: You want to be candid and appropriate, you want to be biblically accurate, you want to use the right words, and I remember it was a tough assignment, and we thought today we'd let our listeners hear a little bit about how you handled this in Passport to Purity. It will give them a model to follow if they want to do this on their own or to let them hear how you do it if they want to go on a Passport to Purity weekend with a son or a daughter.
The session on this subject actually goes about 45 minutes. Barbara does a session with the girls, which we're going to hear here in a just a minute, and then later on this week we'll hear the parallel session, the one for the young men, where you take them through the same material, obviously, geared for boys. And I should let our listeners know that we have edited this material to make it appropriate for use here on the broadcast, but you'll still want to use some parental discretion about who ought to be listening to the next few minutes of today's program.
Let's listen together as Dennis and Barbara Rainey talk about girls approaching the changes that come with adolescence.
[segment from Passport to Purity]
Dennis: Welcome back to Session Three. You know, I've glad you've come back, and I'm glad we're going to be able to have this talk about something very intimate. That's right, we're going to talk about sex. But you know what? Even though it may cause us to blush, even though it may cause our hands to get a little clammy, and we may feel like running and hiding, this is a great conversation to have with your mom or your dad about this vital subject, and I would much rather you hear about how God made you to be a young woman from a Christian perspective than to hear it from the world.
In fact, turn with me in your adventure journal to page 17, letter A – "Change is Inevitable." Now, I want you to look at the top of the page there at the four pictures that are shown. Do you see how they're different from beginning to end? That first picture is a picture of a preschooler, someone who is, well, pretty innocent – not a lot of responsibility, not very grown up. But look at how much change occurs between the first picture and the second picture, right before adolescence. That young lady is, well, she's getting ready to blossom, and that's exactly what happens in the third picture. Notice how much change occurs between the years before you become a teenager and what happens to a teenager. And then look at the last picture. Here is a picture of a young woman in her late 20s or early 30s – a young woman who has truly matured and grown up. All this change is about to happen to you.
Point B in your outline – your body is being bombarded by hormones. Doctors compare your brain to being like a computer, and during adolescence, your computer gets a massive upgrade. Now, I want you to think for a moment of the slowest computer you've ever heard of – you know, one of those that occurred back in the dark ages when there used to be dinosaurs on the earth, back when your parents remember them.
Well, now think of the latest, greatest, fastest, top-of-the-line computer you could ever imagine – that's kind of what happens to your brain and to your body when hormones wash all the way through your system bringing about change in your body, in your shape, and all kinds of special things for you, as a girl.
Point C in your outline – your body is changing, and I've got to tell you, as I start looking at those words, and I start thinking about talking to you as a young lady, even though I'm the proud daddy of four young ladies, I'm not a girl, and this is time for a girl to talk to a girl, and so, Barbara, would you take over, because I'm outta here. I'm going to go join the guys, see ya.
Barbara: Okay. Well, are you ready for some girl talk? Let's get started. Some of what I'm about to tell you, you may already know. You may have already heard it from somebody, or you may have already talked about it with your friends, but I want you to hear about the things we're going to be talking about from a Christian perspective. I also want to tell you that you can feel free to hit the pause button and ask your mom if you've got a question or if you're confused about a word that I use, or you're not quite sure what I mean by something. So use this to interact with your mom if you feel like doing that.
We're going to look back at the outline, and point number 1 says this – "As you enter into adolescence, your breasts will grow larger and rounder. And this is one of the first signs that girls see who are about your age that they are beginning to grow up. This is where the change begins to show up first. In fact, you may have friends at school who are already starting to develop, and you know it, because some of them are starting to wear a bra. It's something that's a part of growing up and becoming a woman."
And I think there are a couple of things that I want to share with you about wearing a bra that I think are important. The first one is for security and support, and this is really just a normal thing. It's a very common thing, especially today because so many women are so active. A lot of women exercise and jog and you, yourself, may even be active. You may play sports or even in school, if nothing else, you'll probably have to take some PE classes, and it will help you feel more comfortable and more protected.
The second reason that it's important for women to wear bras is for the whole issue of modesty. As your breasts begin to grow they become more noticeable to you – you can see it every day. Your parents will certainly notice it, but also everyone else who sees you and knows you can notice this change in your body as much as they can notice that you are getting taller. But most importantly for you to know and understand is that not only will your family notice it and your friends notice, but young men and boys will notice as well, and you want to protect yourself and be modest when you are around them.
Let me just read a verse to you that I think will encourage you in this area, and it's 1 Timothy 2:9. That verse says, "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly." So as you face this whole issue of wearing a bra and think about it in terms of modesty and discreetness. And, for you, perhaps maybe this is a good time this weekend, as you're away with your mom, to start talking about that – to ask her, "When do you think I can start wearing one?" Or maybe you might even be able to go shopping and find one this weekend, and that would be a real special memory for you to share together.
Well, this isn't the only change that you're going to see happening in your body. There will be other changes, too, and number 2 says "New hair will grow on your body, and that's something that happens to every woman as you change from a girl into a woman." The first place you're probably going to notice that is on your legs and under your arms but at some point, you're probably going to want to start shaving your legs and shaving your underarms. It, too, is a sign of transitioning from being a girl into being a woman.
The third area of change that you will notice in your body is number 3. You will have your first menstrual period. Sometime after your breasts begin to grow and the hair begins to grow on other parts of your body, usually about a year or two later, you will have your first period. It may not be that long, or it may be longer than that, everyone is different.
Let me tell you a story about one of our daughters. She was into junior high, and most of her friends were carrying personal products in their purses, and they were complaining of having cramps, and even though initially this daughter was concerned that she hadn't started like everybody else, after a while she started watching her friends, and she realized that she really didn't have it so bad, after all. She wasn't having to deal with all of those issues yet, and she decided it wasn't really that bad that she was so much later than all of her friends.
Well, the thing that makes this story interesting is that we were on vacation one summer, and all of us were cooped up in this little teeny, tiny cabin, and one day her younger sister got up and went into the bathroom, and a few minutes later she hadn't come out, and then, all of a sudden, the door cracked open, and this voice from inside the bathroom said, "I need you to come in here, come in here quick." And so the older sister came into the bathroom and found her younger sister there in the bathroom saying, "Look, I've started my period."
Another sister found out, and Mom found out, and so all the girls are in the bathroom, and Dad and the boys are in the other room, going, "What in the world is going on?" A little while later, the older sister kind of got off in a corner and got sad, and I went over there and put my arm around her, and I said, "What's wrong," and she said, "I can't believe my little sister started before me," and she cried a little, and I consoled her.
Later on that day, the older sister went into the bathroom to use the bathroom after we'd been out skiing or something, and the door cracked open. This time it was Mom that was being called. Mom ran in there, and the Lord was so gracious, because she started that same day. It was a really fun time for all of us girls to share that occasion together. In fact, even later on that night, Dennis and the boys took us to the ice cream parlor, and we all had ice cream to celebrate their entrance into womanhood.
Well, you may or may not know exactly what happens when you start your menstrual cycle. You may have heard a few things, and you may not have, so let me just take a minute and tell you what happens. When you're old enough, when your body is mature and ready, it will begin to release an egg once a month. That egg, if it's fertilized by a sperm, and we'll talk more about that later, so don't worry about that, we'll clarify that later, but if there is a sperm present, and it fertilizes the egg, then that egg then becomes a baby.
But if there's not a sperm there, then the egg floats down and is eventually released and expelled by the body, and that is what happens when you have your period. The egg, which is too small to be seen, and the blood that has built up in your body to nourish it if it is fertilized and becomes a baby is not needed because it's not fertilized, and so it has to be discharged and gotten rid of. And so sometimes you'll feel some cramping, you'll feel some discomfort. For some people it's worse than others, but it is part of the process, and that will be something that you'll need to talk to your mom about.
The next change we want to talk about in your body is number 4. Your pelvic bone structure and body fat will change. In the same way that you began to see changes in your breasts and other parts of your body, your hips are also going to be experiencing some change, too. The bones in that area of your body will widen to create a larger area for a child to grow inside of you someday, and so you may begin to notice that early, or it may be a change that happens later on.
Now, I'm not saying that you're going to get fat. What I am saying, though, is that you're going to begin to look more womanly; more like a grownup woman than you do like a little girl. Little girls tend to be much straighter and narrower. But as you become a woman, you begin to develop more of a shape, and that's the plan that God has for your body in becoming a woman.
The last area of change I want to talk to you about is on your outline number 5. It says you will develop an interest in young men. Now, we're going to talk about this more later in this session and throughout our time together, but for right now I just want to give you a couple of thoughts – things that I've noticed with our girls as they have gone through the early years of adolescence.
Many of the boys that you have been friends with – it may be boys at school, it may be boys you've known in your neighborhood or in your church – who have just been friends, they've been buddies. You may have played with them, your families may have gone on vacation together, but as you begin to change, as your body begins to change from that of a girl into a young woman, and as their bodies begin to change from boys into young men, you're going to begin to notice each other in a different way. Some of those boys are going to be more interesting to you than other boys are, and you're going to begin to notice at school and even at church and youth group and other places that some girls start flirting with boys. It may be boys that they don't know or boys that they've known all their lives, but they begin to relate to them in a different way.
A lot of kids these days become real involved with each other publicly – a lot of boys and girls give each other back massages, and they become real friendly with each other and hug each other a lot. Girls will sit on boys' laps just to be friendly, and as you watch those things happening with boys, you need to make a decision for yourself. You need to think through, "Do I want to do those things? Is that part of what God wants me to do as a modest young woman or is it not something that maybe God wants me to do?" So you need to evaluate what you're seeing, what you're hearing, what's going on around you in light of God's Word, as we've talked about earlier, God's Word needs to be your guidebook, and talk to your parents, too, and ask them for their advice and counsel. But be careful, as you begin to be interested in boys, that you don't become overly aggressive in relating to them. Focus on being modest, focus on being their friend not on being their girlfriend.
Well, you know, I think we need to take a break. You've been very patient to listen to me talk through these things with you, and I appreciate that, but I think you need a break, and I need a break. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to let you push pause, and while you push pause, you can visit with your mom about anything you might have questions about, or you all can just take a break together. And while you're taking your break, I'm going to go get Dennis and bring him back, and we're going to talk about some other things we want you to know.
[taped segment ends]
Bob: Well, that's Barbara Rainey talking to young ladies about the changes they go through right before adolescence.
Dennis: Remember, she went looking for me and couldn't find me.
Bob: Where were you hiding? I remember thinking, as she was doing it, and as I was listening back to it here, there are some young girls that my son knows who I'd like to hear – especially that last part – about not being too aggressive, not pursuing boys as boyfriends. This is an age when that desire to act like bigger kids really kicks in.
Dennis: Hey, I want to tell you, our phone line nearly burned up when one of our sons hit 12. I mean, Samuel, all of a sudden, started being called by all these girls, and I'm going to tell you, it's a different ballgame today than it was when we were teenagers.
This is such a wonderful opportunity for moms to connect with their daughters, and then we do something very similar with the sons. And, Bob, I just think there is so much disinformation today in the culture. It's one of the reasons why we need to help our young people think rightly about their bodies, about human sexuality and the whole process of developing.
Bob: Yeah, and at this point in the Passport to Purity weekend, you stop the CD, and a mom and a daughter will take a break and have some discussion, and then they come back for a more complete explanation of human reproduction – the birds and the bees talk, and I know some kinds by the age of 10 or 11 or 12, have already had that talk with their parents, and even if they have, it's still helpful to go through the material for a second or a third time and, as a parent, maybe answer some of the questions that have cropped up since the first time you had the talk with your son or your daughter.
We're still going to hear how you deal with the subject of human reproduction with the boys during the Passport to Purity weekend, but in the meantime, if our listeners would like to get Passport to Purity, the five CDs, the adventure journal for the students, the parent's guide, the passport, everything you need so that your son or your daughter can go with you on a great weekend getaway, and you can start to get them ready for what's coming in adolescence.
Go to our website at FamilyLife.com. In the middle of the screen, you'll see a button that says "Go." Click on that button and it will take you right to a page where you can get more information about this resource, Passport to Purity. You can order online, if you'd like, and we'll have it sent out to you. Again, our website is FamilyLife.com. If you'd prefer to call, 1-800-FLTODAY, someone on our team can take the information down and get this resource sent to you as well. Again, the phone number is 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
In fact, let me read a note we just got recently from a listener in Colorado who said, "My 11-year-old daughter and I just had a special weekend with Passport to Purity. We went to a little cabin, and we were unloading the car as five young deer came walking through the site. I knew God was in control of the plans I had made. We love the reference to Scripture throughout as we talked about these issues. My daughter especially liked the projects. She told me that the projects gave her visuals that would be in her mind forever.
Dennis: You know, one of the things this does, Bob, is it gives you some object lessons that you can use to teach your child these spiritual lessons and also help them begin to determine what their convictions are as they move into these delicate years of adolescence.
In fact, I've got to tell you a story – a dad picked this up, and he listened to all the tapes, even before he got away with his son, and it gave him the idea to go camping with his son. And so what he did was, he took his son camping, and in the dark he set up some traps – not traps that would harm him, but some visual illustrations that pointed out to this young man that the teenage years were dangerous, and that he needed someone to guide him through the dark forest of adolescence and help him get all the way to maturity.
And you've got to believe that young man will never forget that weekend.
Bob: Right. And, again, one of the reasons we spent a year and a half working to develop this resource, Passport to Purity, is because we're convinced that moms and dads need to step up and be the leaders in their homes. We need to be the ones who are assuming the responsibility, taking on the assignment of raising the next generation to a place of spiritual maturity. We can do that in conjunction with the youth pastor or the Christian school, but we can't hand it off to them. We have to assume that responsibility on our own. And we're committed here at FamilyLife to trying to provide you with resources like Passport to Purity – practical biblical tools you can use to strengthen your marriage relationship and to help you raise your sons and your daughters and to pass on a legacy of spiritual vitality to the next generation.
And I want to take a minute and say thanks to those of you who help support this ministry with your financial contributions. We depend on those gifts to be able to continue this radio ministry and every aspect of what we're doing here at FamilyLife. During the month of June we have a special way that we wanted to say thank you to those of you who could help with a donation this month. It's a CD that's about an hour-long conversation that you and I had with Elyse Fitzpatrick, who has written a book called "Love to Eat, Hate to Eat." We talked about eating and about food, looking at it from a biblical standpoint, and we wanted to send you that CD as our way of saying thank you when you are able to help us this month with a donation of any amount for the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
If you're donating online, which is easy to do – you fill out the form, and you come to a keycode box, just type the word "eat" in that box, and we'll know that you'd like to have the CD with Elyse Fitzpatrick sent out to you, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone and, again, mention the CD you heard us talking about on the program, and we'll be happy to send it out to you as well. It's our way, again, of saying thank you for your financial partnership with us, and we appreciate your ongoing support.
Well, tomorrow we want to hear just a little bit of the conversation that you had, Dennis, with young men as they prepare for adolescence. This is part of the Passport to Purity weekend. I hope our listeners can be back with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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