Section Two: Well, I Think You're Beautiful (Beauty)

It's my intent in this section to give you some help in encouraging soul-image (as opposed to self-image) and inner beauty in your daughter. Yes, you'll find tips for grooming and fashion that are age appropriate for mini-women. The emphasis, though, is on guiding her toward a healthy attitude about beauty in a decidedly unhealthy beauty culture. What you do as a result of reading this section will reinforce what she can read in Beauty Lab.

Section Three: Who Are You and What Have You Done with My Little Girl? (Puberty)

Here you'll find a mini-handbook for supporting your tween daughter through one of the most challenging periods of her life: puberty and its baffling physical and emotional changes. My purpose is to help you allow that mini-woman of yours to grow into full womanhood naturally and at her own pace, rather than nudging her, if not downright pushing her, into adolescence before she's ready to go there. We'll be all about ten not being the new fifteen, something your daughter can embrace in Body Talk.

Section Four: Why Can't They Just Get Along? (Friendships)

In this final section, I feel a deep obligation (and an equally deep humility) to offer help for guiding your daughter toward the healthy girl friendships that will shape her future relationships. I hope the suggestions you'll find here will enable you to enjoy your tween girl's totally girlfriend years before boys come in and tangle things up. That includes your looking at yourself and determining honestly how you want to participate in that. Whether you are the mom whose house all the girls flock to or the one-friend-here-at-a-time mama, you'll have a chance to set boundaries that will serve your daughter — and you — well. And speaking of friendship, I hope you'll find through this section ways to nurture a relationship with your daughter that will survive and even flourish in the teen years. What you glean here is reflected in your daughter's book Girl Politics: Friends, Cliques, and Really Mean Chicks.

How We'll Talk about It

Each of the sections is divided into chapters that focus on the real and the practical, with their basis in the spiritual and the mysterious, because our tween girls are all four of those things. There's a lot of stuff in there, to be digested while you continue to pack lunches, drive carpools, get yourself to work, and grab a minute or two daily for prayer that isn't interrupted by somebody's cry for clean socks, lost homework, or sibling refereeing. So you can expect features in each chapter that will act as a GPS system for you, whether you go through the book in one journey or take frequent side trips.

What It Looks Like: A real-life scenario used in the introduction to each of the four sections to show you that you are not alone — and that your daughter is deliciously normal.

Getting Clear: A full exploration of the topic, with statistics as well as psychological and developmental background and anecdotes — information you need but don't have time to google. Most of us will do better when we know better — even when we're already doing a pretty good best.

From the Ultimate Parent: The scriptural basis for the importance of the chapter topic. Each of these features includes suggestions for encouraging your daughter in her own faith journey and for helping you deepen your own even when quiet time with God looks like a luxury enjoyed only by those with nannies.

Test Your Own Waters: A self-assessment of how this topic impacts you personally. In a nonjudgmental way this can help you see what you may be unconsciously modeling for your daughter — positively or mistakenly. The kind of information you couldn't google even if you had the time.

Going for It: Ways to approach and deal with the chapter topic. This will include general guidelines and hands-on suggestions for applying them in a way that's unique to you and your tween daughter.

Bridging the Gap: Help in praying specifically the most important prayer a mom can lift up: "God, please bridge the gap between what my daughter needs and what I have to give."

Out of the Mouths of Mini-Women: Quotes from tween girls about what they wish their moms would (and wouldn't!) do, what they appreciate about their mothers, and what they wish they knew — everything they don't think they can tell you themselves (but, man, would they like to!)

That's it. That's our map. If you're ready — or if you have ten minutes when you aren't immersed in some girl drama — let's set out together. It is my honor to be your companion on a road I myself have traveled. A road I wouldn't have missed for the world.

Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Rue

This title is also available as a Zondervan ebook.

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Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband Jim have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.  Learn more about Nancy at www.nancyrue.com.