Whenever people who do not know our family hear that we have a teenage daughter, invariably the eyeballs roll. Perhaps an elbow nudge and a chuckle and a "Oh, I feel so sorry for you" will accompany the first reaction.
What is it that people are assuming? Attitude. Sass. An obsession with boys, or clothes, or makeup, or shopping, or being on the phone all the time, or behaving like Hanna Montana, lies, sneaking...
I've seen it all. On TV.
But for some reason, I wasn't like that (although I was a good bit more boy crazy than my daughters seem to be) and neither are my girls.
And I think they are normal. Let me explain. I contend that the above list, which no adult really likes, is not a normal way for young teenage girls to act. This is the "Lord of the Flies" meets "Mean Girls" meets...something socialized. But I don't think it's normal.
Somebody out there wants young teenage girls to become consumers and to want stuff and to become sexualized...but I contend that it's not normal to human development.
The testimony of history would point to a greater degree of innocence in young teens than they generally get credit for these days. I'm thinking of the books By the Shores of Silver Lake, Little Town on the Prarie, Little Women, and numerous other "classics" that illustrate a different vision of what used to be known as "girlhood" than what is common today.
Just this past weekend, my girls had a friend for a sleepover. They did sleepoverish things, stayed up too late, made some bead crafts, played board games, knitted, played hide and seek, and sardines, and watched a movie. I baked cookies, we sat down for lunch and supper together where everyone was delightfully polite, and ended the day at Vespers for prayers.
Not once did I hear mention of boys, shopping, fashion, kissing, makeup, or anything like that. The time was a peaceful picture of innocence. And it made me think: This is normal and healthy for young teenage girls. This is the way it should be.
I'm glad I home school my girls.