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10 Ways for Moms to Respect Their Daughters
Last week, Jen wrote about practical ways to respect sons, and today, she focuses on that similar respect for daughters.
Respect for daughters has its roots in the same place respect for sons does: the image-bearing equality that both sexes reflect given at creation (Gen. 1:27). That said, respect just looks different in some ways for daughters who are growing into women than respect for sons who are growing into men.
Respect is a deep admiration for someone elicited by his or her abilities, qualities, or achievements. This honor is not shown because of gender or deservedness but because of love and grace, specifically, love and grace that find their origins and power in Jesus Christ. Treating daughters with respect trains them to be women who offer respect to others. It models for them that they have dignity, value, and worth because God created them. It urges them to grace others with respect because God loves and values his creation.
Similar and Different
Respecting daughters has some similarities with respecting sons. I have seen, however, in my daughter, a different core heart desire. She deeply desires to be loved and the deep admiration of respect is most profoundly felt for her in words and acts of love. She is comforted and secured by the knowledge that God and her parents love her.
Practically, here are 10 ways that respect can be lived out for your daughters:
1. Lavish Her with Love
That deep longing for love was designed for God to fill. Lavish your daughter with love while continually pointing out that her heavenly Father is the one where love originated. You love because he loves; she is loved because he loves her more than you ever could (1 John 4:10).
2. Help Her to Learn Submission
Submission isn’t just for wives. We are all called to submit our hearts and lives to God (James 4:7) and the earlier your daughter sees that in you, the sooner she will rest in the sweet protection of God’s will for her life.
3. Teach Her to Tame Her Emotions
Big feelings are hard to manage. The devastation over losing something, anything from a favorite earring to a dear friend, can be all-consuming. Daughters need to be instructed and discipled in expressing emotion without being owned and identified by those emotions.
4. Differentiate between Truth and Lies
In my own heart and my daughters, I have watched the battle play out time and time again. We are easily lured into the snare of unbelief. Urging your daughter to verbalize the thoughts in her head will allow you the opportunity to separate what is true and what is untrue with her. Apply the truth of Scripture to the distortions that your daughter may be believing about God, you, or herself.
5. Involve Dad
A daughter’s relationship with her dad is a source of great joy or heartache. He plays an integral part in treating her with respect and teaching her what respect from a man looks like. Regular daddy dates and heartfelt conversation with him helps her trust and respect a man. If Dad is not present or available, seek a godly man in your church who would give your daughter the respect of his time.
6. Emphasize Inner Beauty
While there are few more purely sweet moments in life than dressing your daughter in a frilly pink dress and putting her hair in pigtails, teach her that true beauty and respect come from a changed heart. Jesus transforms ugly hearts, emotions, and attitudes into beautiful reflections of himself.
7. Develop Her Voice
Our girls need to be given opportunities to grow into and speak about who they are and what they believe so they can articulate themselves to the world. Speak with her often about what the Bible has to say about her joy or crisis of the moment. Help her express herself clearly about what she is thinking or feeling.
8. Model Female Friendships
You are not her friend as an equal, but you can be friendly in a way that she trusts. Enjoy each other in a mother-daughter friendship. Give her plenty of opportunity to foster female friendships so she can experience being known, loved, and helped by godly women. This is an invaluable life experience that will serve her well.
9. Name Sin Biblically
These last two principles are no different for girls than boys. What may be different are the sins that your daughters are prone to, as their hearts may struggle in more feelings-oriented or relational ways. Differentiate between childish foolishness and downright rebellion. Instruct the former and correct the latter. Name their sin with accurate descriptions from Scripture so they can repent. Moodiness is vague, while demonstrating a quiet, gentle, spirit is specific and pleasing to God (1 Peter 3:4).
10. Name Character Biblically
Read to them and have them study passages of Scripture that speak to women (1 Peter 3 and Titus 2). Be careful not to turn passages of Scripture into to-do lists that your daughters strive to accomplish on their own. Have them memorize passages of Scripture that describes their identity and riches available to them in Christ (Ephesians 1) so they can rejoice.
Respecting our daughters will instill in them a respect for the cross as they receive grace and forgiveness from their sins and develop the capacity to offer that same respect to the men and women they are in relationship with. Deep respect for Christ is the well from which respect for and from our daughters will flow.