Transitioning from little girl to teen is hard

God’s Girls Gala helps middle school girls in Pennsylvania learn how to handle the many changes they will experience.

North American Division (NAD)

[Pennsylvania] The transition from little girl to teen is hard. And it impacts girls physically (think hormones, body changing), emotionally, socially (friendships, peer pressure), and mentally. Their bodies are changing, and hormones are wreaking havoc on their emotions and thoughts.

Ypulse, a polling firm that focuses on Generation Z and millennials, surveyed more than thirteen hundred girls, ages eight to eighteen, on the topic of confidence. The results were dramatic.

  • There was a 30 percent drop in confidence during puberty.
  • The number of girls who said they were not allowed to fail rose from 18
  • percent to 45 percent from the ages of twelve to thirteen (that’s a 27 percent
  • increase in just one year!).
  • Girls under twelve shared that they “make friends really easily. [They] . . .
  • can go up to anyone and start a conversation.” By the age of fourteen, they
  • reported, “I feel like everybody is so smart and pretty and I’m just this ugly
  • girl without friends.” (Kay, 2018)

Many girls do not believe they are good enough. One report states, “7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends.” (Fund, 2014)

This lack of confidence causes girls to avoid taking risks or trying new things and keeps them from believing that God has a plan for their lives. They do not believe that who they are and what they are good at are acceptable. They often tend to try to please everyone around them (parents, teachers, friends, boys), and they expect perfection from themselves.

The Pennsylvania Conference’s God’s Girls Gala, a one-day event for middle-school aged girls, was created to tackle these topics and equip girls as they transition from girls to teens to adults. It was also designed to remind them of who they are in Christ and to learn to live confidently as the young woman He specifically created them to be—building on the foundation of the Princess Teas which have been a part of women’s ministries for almost a dozen years and be a steppingstone for the teen conferences offered for more than twenty years.

The afternoon featured young adult women speaking on friendships, confidence, anxiety/depression, and making your faith your own and not just your parents. Girls and their moms or youth leaders worked on crafts, participated in activities, and enjoyed a sundae bar.

One mom shared, “That very evening I heard my daughter repeating some of the lessons to her younger sister who was beating herself up. This event was worth it!”

“When is the next one? Can we do this every month?” asked one young lady.

“I want to create women’s ministries events that tackle relevant topics and the issues girls, teens, young adults, and women face in their day-to-day life,” shares Tamyra Horst.

Photo credits: Pennsylvania Conference WM

Contributed by Tamyra Horst, Women's Ministries director for Pennsylvania Conference and Columbia Union

Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2022 Q1, winter issue