Have you struggled with feeling like you’re not good enough? Maybe that you’ll always be the one that doesn’t quite fit in? Can you think back to when that feeling first became a thought that ultimately shaped a core belief about yourself? Was it critical word spoken by a parent or coach or someone you looked up to? Or maybe it was a result of being the last one picked for the team in gym class . . . for the umpteenth time?
While there are so many reasons why you might feel like you’re not good enough, there are a hundred more reasons why your daughter may be struggling with those emotions today.
Why so much more? Because as soon as your daughter has access to social media, she begins the arduous journey of carrying in her soul this thing called “feedback” and “likes” and “followers” and the power of the mighty SnapChat “streak.”
When we were her age, we boarded the bus home and left our peer influences behind. We had a break — a detox time to breathe and not worry about our worth. To not think about being judged. To not fret about our appearance. To not worry about our friend count. To not think about the possibility of being left out. And yet, didn’t we struggle with our identity and sense of worth?
Our girls live in a different world, where every social activity is documented. Where every moment is recorded publicly. Where every image is rated. And to top it all off, we’ve become addicted to this kind of information, thanks to the dopamine loop.
Raising girls to know the Truth of God’s Word and their identity in Christ in the face of so much social input is no easy feat.
While I was able to hold social media at bay for my older girls, allowing access to one platform at a time through their early high school years, a majority of my twelve year old’s peers are already on SnapChat — the one social media app that I believe is the most dangerous because of the built in autonomy. But because this is not my first rodeo with a tweenage daughter, I know that keeping a hard and fast policy of no social media before ninth grade would be like sentencing her to social death through isolation. Yes, it’s a reality, as much as I balk at it. So we’ve given her access to it, but with tremendous limits on and frequent check-in-on-the-heart conversations. We’re striving for balance between protection and prudence, wisdom and independence, responsibility and accountability.
While navigating the murky waters of social media with our girls, we’ve got to be equally vigilant to look for organic and authentic ways to convey truth to their souls and affirm their identity in Christ.
That’s going to look different for each of us. The way we connect with our girls doesn’t fit a mold because our personalities and relational style come into play. But we can share a common mission of seeking precious moments to drop “truth statements” deep into their hearts and minds. I think of this as a kind of Deuteronomy 6:5 mentoring. For example, while I’m driving my daughter up to the farm for her riding lesson, I gently encourage her to remember that she is already approved by God and to not become pre-occupied with everyone else’s opinions. On the way home, I ask her questions to pinpoint where she struggled and excelled, wondering how she’s doing in allowing God’s power to work in her weakness. When we scroll through her SnapChat feed, I ask questions and, Lord willing, I respond with truth and grace, as we deal with the hurt from not being invited to a “snapped-revealed” party. As we snuggle down to watch her favorite show, I whisper into her ear that she’s chosen, holy, and dearly loved by the God of Universe and by me and her daddy — a truth I know she’ll need to hear again and again.
My goal is to keep as connected to her heart as possible through doing life alongside her so that I can seize every opportunity to bring the Truth of God’s Word to the forefront of her mind. Is this your mission too? And so it is my prayer — and maybe will become yours as well — that when our girls hear the voice of Truth from us, it will make them crave more of the Word and leading of the Holy Spirit for themselves as they mature into owning their faith and believing their identity in Christ is secure.
We won’t always be around to remind our girls that they are indeed chosen, holy, and dearly loved, but we can prepare them to hear God’s still small voice deep within their soul.
Be sure to check out Elisa’s workbook, “Seven Strategies for Navigating Screens and Social Media with Tweens and Teens“