This & That

Picking Out My Daughter’s Friends

Today is our younger daughter Jacque’s birthday. She’s eleven, though well into her teen years. She, not her older sister Lindsay, seems to want to grow up fast, though her idea of growing up doesn’t involve maturity and becoming more responsible. In fact, she’s trying to earn her job at home back, which she lost because she took too many personal days­—the laziness bug typical of too many American kids.

The girls’ school seems to have pushed Jacque to want to grow up quickly. In Toledo, their elementary school comprises kindergarten through sixth grade. Where we live now, middle school includes fifth through eighth grade. There’s a big difference between a 10 year old and a 14 year old, at least there should be.

Last week we went to Jacque’s band recital. She started playing French horn this year, and she’s progressed very well, even though at times she sounds pachydermish. We’re encouraging her to keep practicing, because good French horn players are offered generous scholarships. At the recital there were a handful of standout musicians, those I pegged to do well in music, but mostly it was kids for whom band was just something to do.

Two of these were girls decked out like they were playing the Grammy’s, sporting sequined outfits, heeled shoes, and glitter on their faces and in their hair. They were among the worst players. All style and no substance. (See my post this week on “bling.”) It turns out these are Jacque’s friends at school. Ugh!

There were at least ten other girls I’d have picked out for her, if based simply on musical ability. But even more, I could tell these were the raccoon-eyed girls I’d written about, not the kind of girls I want my daughter to be influenced by.

A couple days after her recital on Friday, Jacque had a few friends over for a slumber party, three girls from church. Two of them seemed to be pretty good kids, and one was extraordinarily sweet. She’s the kind of girl we want Jacque to be friends with, but Cindy and I wondered if Jacque wouldn’t be a bad influence on her. Have we lost her? Is it too late to help her pick out her friends?

What can we do? Primarily, I think, we need to pray. We need to seek God’s intervention on the friends Jacque chooses. In addition, we need to help her see what a good friend looks like, and how she can be a good friend.

I imagine some of my readers have raised daughters. Anything you can recommend? Any stories to share about how you dealt with this?

Signed,

Desperate to pick out my daughter’s friends in Ohio.

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