Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teaching Older Daughters

Recently a mother wrote me and inquired:

"What do I do if I have waited too long to teach my older daughter homemaking skills and now she is not interested. Is it too late? What do I do now?"

I believe this scenario is more common than we know as many readers have asked me this question. Often times a mother will not see the need to teach her daughter but then later realize she should have. Perhaps the mother herself will not have grasped the grand vision and importance of homemaking until her later years and then will try to teach her daughters, but by then the daughter might not be interested.

May I offer some hope here? Please do not give up! I believe it is never too late for any daughter to learn domestic skills, whether it be cooking, cleaning or taking up a skill. Your daughter might not realize the importance of it right now but with a loving and gentle mother, these things can learned too---at whatever age-- fifteen, eighteen, twenty five and up!

I asked my daughter, Janai, how she would answer this question. She is 17 years old and I did not start teaching her many things until she was older too. I did not understand the importance of homemaking and it wasn't until I understood my calling that I wholeheartedly began to teach my girls. Unfortunately for Janai, that came a little later than sooner. But that is okay, because even if we are a little later in the game than other mother and daughters, the point is we are still learning and here is what Janai had to say in response:

"I believe that even though a mother is teaching a daughter later in life she should continue to do so even if that daughter does not have an interest at the time. The mother should continue to be a good example and even if the daughter does not seem interested, she should continue teaching her in a loving and gentle way and later the daughter will appreciate and remember all the mother had tried to teach her. All situations are different and the mother needs to approach this with prayer."

Well, there you go ladies. Right out of the mouth of babes. If we approach this prayerfully with love, not in a harsh, demanding way we can help our daughters learn to care for the home, cook, bake , sew and enjoy all that comes with homemaking. I must also add that you will have some daughters that will be more gifted or have interests in one area than the other. One of my daughters loves to bake and the other is gifted in music. I do not try to compare them, I know the Lord has made them both unique with separate talents and instead of fighting those talents I want to foster them. But I still try to prepare all my daughters with what they need to know to run a home and cook well. We must fully equip our daughters for the future, whether or not they marry they will need to know how to cook and run a home--- and help them to see the service and delight behind it all.

As my daughter stated, we must be a good example. She also told me this speaks louder than words and how true this is. If mom is stomping around the house angry, slamming cabinets because she has to clean up or is grumbling about 'making another meal' then what kind of lovely picture are we painting for them of domestic life and duties? Who on earth would want to learn anything about that? She would instead be tearing down her home, and her daughters view of the home, instead of building it up.

Approach the Lord with prayer as you embark upon teaching your daughters if you feel you have missed the window of opportunity with her. There can be grace found in telling your daughter the truth and telling her you were late in teaching her, that you are sorry you didn't and would like to teach and help her now. Even if she rejects it, she knows she had a mother who humbled herself, loved her and wanted to teach her later. If she is older perhaps you can gently involve her--what comes to mind is the image of grandmother in the kitchen waving the young mother over to her asking her to help stir the soup or add the spices as she has an everyday conversation with her, this might be the case with older daughters, working along side with them in everyday tasks and they learn as they go as they spend time with you.

Ask the Lord to soften and open your daughters heart, whatever her age, and to help you be faithful and patient in this area. Perhaps there are personal issues that need to be addressed---is the daughter rejecting these things because her heart is more turned towards the world than the Lord and her parents? There might even be relational issues that you might need to work on in order for this to happen, and praise the Lord that He can use something like this to work on how we LOVE and forgive eachother as well. Let us be the model of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 as we seek to train our sweet, precious daughters:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."


hip chick said...

Excellent post. It's so very refreshing to see writing that aims towards those of us who come in sort of late in the game. Often I find myself discouraged because so many Christian ladies seem to have started from birth and their children are perfect. It seems as if I could never measure up so why even bother. I think this is part of the reason Christians get a "bad rep" and sometimes come across as "holier than thou". It's nice to know that it doesn't matter when you start but it does matter what you are doing now.

Rhonda Devine said...

I never learned to cook before I married. My poor hubbie had to exercise patience with me, which he did, because his mother is a great cook! I had a heart to learn and taught myself so even if you get a late start, never give up!
Now as a mother with young ladies, I am determined my girls will not leave home without knowing the basics of cooking, sewing, etc. If they choose not to give a lot of attention to a certain skill such as sewing or crocheting when they have their own homes, that is fine. Each girl has different interests~however, I want them to have a basic knowledge of different homemaking skills so they are better equipped than I was and I'm sure their future husbands will appreciate it:)

Stam House said...

Amen Sister, Great post!

I do not have experience with older daughter or children because our are (3, 17 months and baby#3 is due in 8 weeks) But even at this young age our daughters have learn some basic homemaking skills and seams to like it very much!!!!

Praying that their captivation for making a house and home will always be strong :-)


Jasmine said...

Excellent post, June.

It's never too late.

Mary R. said...

My blog has been hijacked again, so if you get any weird comments supposedly from me, please delete them. You don't have to publish this. I like your blog.

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

Like Rhonda I was never taught to cook and had to teach myself when I left home.This made me determined to teach all my children to cook (and clean up!) Re: homemaking skills for an older girl I would capitalize on the current resurgence of interest in food and cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients thanks to the popularity of cooking shows such as Masterchef. Not sure if you have a USA version. I have very little time or respect for reality television but I do watch this show when they have a feature called 'Masterclass' with my older daughters because we are learning lots about cooking techniques and being inspired by the recipes. My daughter offered to do a cooking class with the teen girls at our church and it was a huge success. She organized all the utensils and ingredients and it was a hands on class in cake making. Perhaps there is another young lady or others who could inspire this daughter. Although I believe the home is the best place to learn homemaking skills sometimes getting together with others is a great way to learn homemaking skills. Tonight the mothers and daughters are getting together to make items for an upcoming fete to raise funds for missions. The mothers who sew and craft are sharing ideas for simple handcrafts and we are making them together. It has been quite a revelation to see how it has sparked the girl's interest in homemaking skills.

Mel said...

At what age should we start teaching our daughters? What kinds of things should be taught at what ages? My daughter is almost 5 and I'm not sure what kind of things I should be teaching her.

frosidi said...

Please, do not despair. My mother tried to teach me, but I wasn't interested, too. Then I went to make my own home (with 3 little ones) and not only I learned all that is needed to be a goodhomemaker, but even my mother thinks that I am "better than she was my age" (I don't agree, of course, because my mom is a great homemaker).
So, really, do not despair if your daughters are not "interested". When time comes, they will remember what you taught them. And, fortunately, you will be pleasantly surprised...

Mrs. White said...

The sweetest way to teach older daughters is, just like you said, to have conversations while helping with the cooking and cleaning. Just have them come along and help Mother with her work and have a pleasant talk about interests, news, or whatever is on their minds. They will learn this way without any formal teaching.

Your post is much needed. I love your focus on having a sweet spirit and building relationships.

I also wanted to let you know that I no longer have Facebook and my business page for The Legacy of Home is also gone.

Hope you have a wonderful day!
Mrs. White

Camie said...

Great post - as always! Blessings!


Kristine said...

Thank you for this encouraging post! I also have older daughters and have recently realized I've neglected teaching them some of these important life skills...or rather I started when they were young but stopped and never picked it back up. Now as young women I'm finding there are tasks they need to know. This article gives me so much hope, thank you for this blessing.

Pamela said...

Lovely post. I am a stay at home mom and very proud homemaker. My mom unfortunately taught me very few things. Every thing I know about homemaking I have taught myself or seeked help and knowledge from others who were very experienced. My husband fell in love with me for these old fashioned values that I have and so I believe it is never too late to teach your daughters. I'm 43 and still learning.

JessesGirl817 said...

Thank you so much! I have been feeling quite overwhelmed lately. I was surfing the 'net and realized it had been a few days since I have been to your page. It is Divine Providence. I *so* needed to read this,
"If mom is stomping around the house angry, slamming cabinets because she has to clean up or is grumbling about 'making another meal' then what kind of lovely picture are we painting for them of domestic life and duties? Who on earth would want to learn anything about that? She would instead be tearing down her home, and her daughters view of the home, instead of building it up."
I have been cranky about everything that needs to get done.
God put your words where I would see them, I am sure!
Thank you and God bless you for sharing your Wise Woman words.

Mrs B said...

Mel, my eldest is 7.5yo and for over about a year she has been making meatballs, peeling carrots etc... simple cooking things. Since both my eldest children were 4 they have been emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, taking rubbish & recycling out, making beds, sweeping dust piles with dust pan and broom.
Now they are 6 & 7 (boy & girl) they also sweep the front porch, remove then return chairs from the kitchen when I am mopping, clean the back glass doors, hang washing on the line and bring it in. We've done all the folding together for about 3 years and over the last 6 months it is something they now do 100%
Dd 7 has just started cleaning the floors of the smaller tiled areas, sweeping the edges then mopping it all.
There's probably more but that's what comes to mind ATM - I hope that gives you some ideas of capabilities :o)

Mignon said...

Hello June.
I need some advice on how to dissipline an older (11 year old) daughter. She has lately started to be disobedient in little things. Not really important things, but still disobedient. Eg. slamming the gate again, 5 seconds after I told her not to slam the gate. Do your math, an hour later it is still not done. Other thing she does is, when I've told her "no you can't because..." she will ask me the same thing again after 5 minutes. Then I repeat patiently "no you can't because this and that"... after 10 minutes she will try again and then I loose my cool and look like a fool! And then she gives me the sarcastic "OK!" and rolls her eyes at me. Is this normal behavior for this age? Am I doing something wrong? Am I not strict enough? Background: I do not like to "spank/hit" my children; I'm a Christian mother, homeschooling 4 daughters (11),(6) , twins (1)for the last 2,5 years. My older daughter still has mainstream friends that blatently dishonours their parents.

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Dear Mignon,

Here is my advice: I would not consider it normal behavior and I would try to correct that behavior as quick as I could before she got used to responding that way out of habit. I would also limit and negative influences, including peers, music, movies, tv, books, etc. What might seem like 'little things' today will be big things tomorrow. Is she saved? This is important, to point her toward God and His ways and if she is already saved then she needs to learn how to obey Him. By obeying Him she will be bringing Him glory and the opposite when she isn't.

Something that is important is training her how to respond. If you tell her something let her know that she is not allowed to ask for it two or three more times. Let her know that there will be repercussions for her actions (for asking again), and then you MUST follow through. Do not lose your 'cool' and be prayerful for wisdom. You won't lose your cool if you dealing with the disobedience the first time.

I could probably write answer about a book long, unfortunately time forbids me to go deeper at this point but I hope this little bit helps...I also recommend reading the book 'Biblical Parenting' by Don Gilchrist and 'Keep Your Child's Heart' by Steve and Teri Maxwell.

I will be praying for you and your family!

Carrie Cooper said...

Carrie @

This is my first visit to your blog--great post! My daughters are still young, so Im thankful that I have some more time to prepare them. Youve provided a great reminder of the task ahead of me.

The Abundant Heart said...

I love this post! I am a recently married woman and expectant mother. Presently 21 years old, I was 20 the first summer I spent at home training under my mother's guidance, learning truely practical skills of homemaking instead of following society's expectation of sending young women to the workplace every summer. I learned and practiced the most valuable lifeskills last summer, from brewing tea, to baking bread, to making homemade blackberry jelly. The Lord used this time to continue to transform my heart into a Titus 2 heart (as my mother and I call it). It was a most beneficial time and a wonderful time to bond with my mother. It is never too late to teach daughters the art of homemaking.

Jessica (

The Queen Mommy said...

This is so wonderful - and so timely. What a wonderful encouragement!

Rookie Momma said...

What a wonderful post to stumble upon on a Monday morning! I have 2young daughters (2 yrs & 6 mos) and I have been wondering when I should start/how to start instructing my older daughter with housekeeping. My mother did not instruct me at all - everything I know has come through trial and error. I am struggling with cooking...very much so. My wonderful husband eats everything and praises me, however I am trying to learn more and more.

Will be back to visit again!

Blessings ~ Aurie

Mrs. P. said...

I think it's wonderful that the woman who e-mailed you is trying to teach her daughter, even if it is a bit later in her daughter's childhood or adolescence. I had NO CLUE how to run a household when I got married. (My own mother worked outside the home and was often stressed, but she did her best.) I'll also admit, I didn't help her NEARLY as much as I should have. I was working full-time then, which didn't make things easier. Even now that I am home full-time, it's still hard. I'm having to learn everything through trial-and-error. ANYTHING that woman can teach her daughter now will be a blessing to her daughter later on.

Andrea said...

I love little girl is barely 16 months but I want her to love and respect my calling to stay home and care for our home so she can learn to do the same for hers one day. I never really thought about teaching her that, intentionally, that is. Thank you for the insight! Hope you come by sometime!

cherub said...

Great post. I am going to start doing more with my dd who will be 7 next month. She wants to learn to make baked good.
Her brother who is 4 wants to learn to make muffins.
So off to the kitchen we go...


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