Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker

Remember This: 8 Things I want to tell my 8 Year Old Daughter

 My youngest daughter turned 8 years old this week. This means that she has moved into the world of tweens. Tween marketing is commonly focused on kids between the ages of 8-12 years, and it has become a stage in life when a mini version of adulthood is being promoted as fun and appropriate. But my girl is still so young. Having gone through this stage with my two older daughters, I want so much for her to hold on to and enjoy her childhood. There’s no reason to rush into being a teenager at the age of 8! And yet, that is a vision that I see in so many programs and products marketed to her. As she turns eight, these are eight things that I want her to know:

  1. Your uniqueness is what makes you amazing: As you enter the tween years, you’re going to feel pressure to be like everyone else, to follow the crowd, to not stand out. But the things that make you different are what make you original, uniquely you. Love those things about yourself; from your freckles to your love for animals to the way you feel things so strongly.
  2. Enjoy being a kid: You will be a teenager soon enough, and then an adult. Don’t stifle your exuberance, your love to laugh and run and play because it makes you look like a kid. You are a kid! Chase butterflies, play pretend, wear clothes that don’t match, run as fast as you can and play in the mud!
  3. Believe in your dreams: As I got older, I realized that everyone didn’t believe that I could do things I thought I could. I know that you’re going to feel that too, and that it will hurt your heart. But the voices of those who don’t believe are no stronger than your own. If you believe deep in your heart that you should pursue something then let’s do it!
  4. If you don’t risk, you’ll never know: It’s easy to play it safe and avoid taking risks in life, both big and small. But if you don’t risk, you’ll never know what might have happened. Whether it’s learning a new sport, trying a new food, or making a new friend, go out there and live your life fully.
  5.   You are more than your looks: My precious daughter, you may notice that people suddenly want to tell you that you should be plucking, shaving, coloring, glossing, making-up and whatever else to make you look better. You may suddenly worry about the hair on your legs or the freckles on your nose or the cowlick in your hair. If you’re not careful, it’s so easy to begin to believe that what really matters about you is how you look. But you are so much more than that! You are brilliant, strong, passionate, curious, kind, and more! Know that these are the things that are most important about you, not the way you look.
  6. Know that I am here: For the past years, I have always been here for you whether it’s been to give a hug, wipe a tear, share a laugh, or have an adventure. As you get older, it may get harder to talk to me. You may have feelings that you don’t understand. You may struggle with friendships and romantic relationships. You may struggle with feelings about yourself. Please know that I am still here for you, whenever and however you need me. Whether you need to talk out a disagreement with a teacher or make a big decision, my arms, ears, and heart are always open to you.
  7.  You were born to shine: I believe with all my heart that you were born with a purpose, that you can make this world a better place using your unique gifts and talents. Never forget that you were born to shine the beauty of your unique individuality on this old world and make it brighter.
  8.   Love other people: Even when they don’t deserve it, even when they hurt you, even when they make you mad. Let love for others fill your heart so that it flows out of you to touch the lives of those around you. It’s easy to share hate, bitterness, and rudeness. It’s so much harder to turn to hate with love, to look at the person who is being mean to you and see someone who needs mercy. But the world would be a better place if we all learned to do that. You can’t make other people love, but you can choose to love.
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18 comments on “Remember This: 8 Things I want to tell my 8 Year Old Daughter

  1. Michael Byrne
    April 16, 2012

    Hello Jennifer.. Isn’t that a little too much of “it’s all about me?”… At eight years old, through parental planting of truths, a child can be made aware of life as gift, and to cherish it through setting and realising worthy aspirations that extend beyond “me”. A sense of the transcendent truth would help a child in the modern consumer world at this age. Be not afraid to name the source of love rests in God’s will for us in life. Cheers

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      April 16, 2012

      Thanks for the comment, Michael. I guess I don’t see my post in the same way that you do. As our kids are developing their identity, I think it’s important to help them to understand who they are in the context of the world around them, and of course that includes the bigger picture of helping others, loving others, and being a part of something bigger than themselves.I was trying to communicate that in a couple of the different points. However, this list is not complete in itself and of course I share many other things with my daughter, as I suspect most of us do.

    • Christine O.
      April 23, 2012

      Michael, I appreciate your point… and in some way I agree but what was posted I dont think was intended to be Inclusive of all thoughts but a tender mother-to-daughter reflection of how life so easily steals our childhood as women. My husband doesnt get it either but I am sure most mom’s would. Not discrediting a father-daughter relationship, clearly the MOST important relationship a little girl has but their is something about being a mom and watching your daughter transform that you long to freeze time for them. God Bless!

  2. Melissa Wardy
    April 16, 2012

    Jennifer, my friend, this is just beautiful, and full of lessons that I hope to continue teaching to my young daughter. It is a wonderful list, and I hope many many parents get to read it!

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      April 16, 2012

      Thank you, friend.

  3. Hillary Manaster
    April 16, 2012

    Such wonderful life lessons. I’ll be filing this one away to share with my young daughters. Great post!

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      April 16, 2012

      Thanks, Hillary.

  4. Nadine
    April 16, 2012

    Apart from the ‘Plucking and Glossing’ it’s exactly what I would like to tell my Son when he gets older too – lovely words. thanks you

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      April 17, 2012

      Thanks, Nadine. I thought the same thing. For the most part, these apply to all of us :)

  5. Laura
    April 17, 2012

    Lovely words that I hope to convey to my daughter every day in every way I can! Thank you for sharing!

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      April 19, 2012

      Thanks, Laura. I agree, it’s so important for us to share those lessons in every way we can as often as we can.

  6. Jennifer
    April 22, 2012

    I saw this cross-posted on Pigtail Pals. Love it! You put into beautiful words so much of what I want to tell my daughter when she gets older.

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      April 22, 2012

      Thank you, Jennifer, I appreciate your comment.

  7. Christine O.
    April 23, 2012

    A friend posted this to facebook and I have to say having eight year old twin daughters… I see and feel exactly what your post speaks too. My girls will be 9 in just 5 weeks and I cant help but want to bottle up who they have been and allow them to carry their precious spirits with them always. Friends, media, technology… it is all changing who they are and the way God created them. I plan to share your post w them so they can see that other mommies care as much about their little girls hearts and spirits as I do. They just told me tonight that they are secretly glad I dont let them have a cell phone b/c it protects them and they don’t see the point, wow their wisdom made me so proud. Their little hearts impress me each day! Thanks for your post, it was an encouragement as a mom you probably never intended but powerful none the less! God Bless!

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      April 23, 2012

      Thank you for sharing that, Christine! It just made me smile to read your words. I also have a 12 and 10 year old daughters, and how the time does fly! They are such precious blessings in my life, and I want to cherish this time and help them do the same as they grow to become amazing young people.

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  9. Sherry B.
    June 27, 2012

    Your words brought tears to my eyes because they perfectly reflect how I feel about my 8 year old daughter. I am lucky enough to have a daughter who cherishes the out doors and enjoys running and playing with her step brothers. She is full of spirit and is a lot of fun. We paint our nails and every now and then I will allow lip gloss. It is crazy to me to watch the little girls in her school and how they are already starting to have their clicks and act as little teens. I don’t understand the cell phone and internet access that some of them are already aloud to have. They are already beginning to be judgmental of others children who aren’t “in style” and act like children. My daughter is ADHD and she is full of energy and goofiness that not many understand. She often has problems in social situations due to her childish behaviors. It is hard for me to watch her knowing that she is going to be judged as I was when I as younger. She is going to have a hard time because she doesn’t see the purpose in “normal” girl talk and behaviors. She is quite a little tom-boy, she loves to climb trees, catching bugs, frogs, and playing in the mud, although she would do it all in a dress if I would let her… lol I guess I just worry about the world around her and know how peoples judgments can crush a persons spirit and make them always worry about how others see them. I never want her to feel that… I will be reading your post with my daughter and helping her understand that I am always here and will always be here. That she will have struggle, but if she shares her feelings and frustration that I will always be there to help her through it. Thank you for your beautiful post! :)

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      June 28, 2012

      Sherry, thanks so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me to know that it’s helpful to you and your own daughter.

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This entry was posted on April 16, 2012 by in Acting, Recognizing, Talking and tagged , , , , .

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