The Emotional Intelligence of Young Girls: What They’ll Risk for Love & Acceptance
The above video is a social experiment conducted upon three young girls, ages 12-14, with the permission of their parents. The findings were shocking, and the video has gone viral, revealing the vulnerability of young girls with regard to social media predators.
Video: Courtesy of Coby Persin via YouTube.
Understanding the Female
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man, (Genesis 2:20-23, KJV).
As females, we are unique creatures. God created us from man, and for this reason, we long for male attention, acceptance, affection, and love. We naturally gravitate back to our origin from which we were taken and created by God. The female sex is both emotionally and physically vulnerable to the male, which the above video clearly demonstrates. Our innate need and longing for our mate (Adam) has not changed, and that need is awakened at a surprisingly young age.
…and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee, (Genesis 3:16, KJV).
Although the video by Colby Persin was crafted for the purpose of revealing the dangers of social media, I’d like to take this a step further, because it also reveals astounding evidence toward the risks vulnerable young girls will take when given the appropriate attention and acceptance. Attention and acceptance lead them to believe they will also receive affection and love. These relational elements are very much equated in a young girl’s heart and mind. Despite their better judgment and the teaching of loving parents, we can clearly see that young girls will take incredible risks for the sake of being loved. Let’s talk about why.
In a young girl’s soul (or psyche), the following equations look something like this:
ATTENTION = ACCEPTANCE
AFFECTION = LOVE
Again, attention means acceptance (not merely interest), and affection means love (not merely desire). Young men and boys who understand the female soul will often play on, or take advantage of these equations for selfish sexual desires. And although females may know this to be true, they will often continue to play the game. That gives evidence to how strong their need truly is for acceptance and love, and the risks young girls will ultimately take to meet them.
A young girl’s need for male attention can trump her judgment
and jeopardize her personal safety.
Emotional Intelligence, Vulnerability, and Risk
What we are seeing here in this video is a classic example of emotional intelligence. Young girls, who so strongly desire to be desired by the opposite sex, willingly jeopardize their own safety for the sake of the male attention they genuinely crave.
In every instance, the parents were shocked. I loved that each incident included the father. That is key here. Young girls who do not have a father in the home are much more likely to become sexually promiscuous than those who do have a father in the home. Yet despite the father’s presence in the young girl’s life, every single one demonstrated a willingness to meet with a complete stranger, putting their lives at risk.
It’s not logical. It’s not rational. And it went against everything they were taught by their parents. So where did their judgment go? Any why did they cast it away? This is where parents must understand female emotional intelligence and how it relates to their innate needs. Young girls, and even grown women, make dreadful mistakes based on their yearning for love and affection. This is not something they are taught – this is the way they are created. Until parents understand that young girls are especially at risk, and why that risk exists, young girls will likely remain vulnerable to some extent.
So what is the solution? First, we must recognize their unique design, and their innate needs and address them appropriately according to God’s Word. In searching the Word of God, I believe we can find clear boundaries for young women. These boundaries, although they may seem outdated, are indeed relevant for today. In fact, I believe they are even more relevant now because of the social media society we live in and the dangers it presents. Young girls are more vulnerable than ever. And it doesn’t require a rapist or pedophile to make them vulnerable to the wrong male interaction or relationship. So don’t be fooled, because it can happen at any age.
There is something within the female that will risk for love, despite her better judgment. Having watched this video (as shocked as I was), I could find myself relating to these young girls. I confess, I’ve been there and bought that t-shirt on more than one occasion. I had to learn my lesson like many others. I was fourteen years old – just as young as some of these girls in this video. That age is a prime target because that is when puberty begins to blossom, and the interest in the opposite sex awakens. I had a loving father, but I did not know God. Fortunately, I survived my foolish encounters.
With that said, this female behavior is not new. It’s just packaged differently today with new opportunities.
So is there a solution? And if so, what is it? As one who can so relate to these young girls, I would like to humbly present four that God has put upon my heart.
A Strong Father
The first male influence a young girl will ever have is her father.
A strong father is not one who is merely physically able. He is also emotionally able. His strength goes far beyond his stature. It comes from within.
Every young girl needs the abiding presence of a strong father in her life. He will be her first male encounter. He is the first one who will demonstrate how a man should treat her, and teach her how a lady should behave. He’s the one who begins to define and draw boundaries around her life that will protect and preserve her. He will be the one who says, “No, go back to your room and change your clothes.” And although mom’s say these things, when it comes from the perspective of a father the message is different, and the impact is greater. There is a distinct connection made, which says, “Men don’t like this choice I’ve made.” And if the father can define what a lady should be, and how she is to be treated, a young girl will understand her boundaries with the male sex much more readily.
Appropriate attention, affection, acceptance and love from a father are all necessary if a female is going to develop and mature, becoming secure in herself as a grown woman. Mothers are wonderful, and in no way am I diminishing the mother-daughter relationship, because it is indeed vital. But for a young girl, the father is key here with regard to her relationship with males. He is the one who teaches and demonstrates to her what that security truly looks like in a male figure. That happens in several ways: in how he treats and talks to her mother, how he interacts with other women, and how he relates to his daughter personally. Fathers who are disengaged may be physically present, but their emotional disconnect sends a strong message that says, “You’re not worth my time, and I’m not investing time to understand you.” Daddy-daughter dates are important, and they should be age appropriate. The father-daughter relationship is special, and there should be a bond of loving-trust and unconditional love that is reinforced throughout life that brings a security and wholeness that precedes any dating relationship. A father who is emotionally connected and fully present in his daughter’s life will be able to influence her in ways her mother cannot simply because he is her father. The same goes for mothers and sons. Each parent has a unique relationship, a special role, and a distinct influence.
The role of the father in a young girl’s life cannot be underestimated.
A Strong God
Fathers are the spiritual leaders of the home. It is wonderful to teach what is right, but that may not be enough for a young girl who is longing for male acceptance and love. Young girls need their Father God. He is the only One who can ultimately fashion and fulfill the female longings of her vulnerable heart. She needs to know her Creator: the One who made her. He is the only One who can truly reveal the beauty and uniqueness of her design. God is a Father. And He is able to guide, teach, and protect a young girl in ways even the best parent cannot do. A good father is going to point his daughter toward the perfect Father – Father God, and help her develop a relationship with Him wherein there is loving guidance and security in every area of life.
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ should be at the center of her life. To be filled with His Spirit and walking in His Word in a genuine love relationship is the goal. This is not about religion. This is about a deep relationship with God, who is ever-present and abiding within. When that relationship is sound, it becomes the foundation upon which any young girl can build a healthy self-esteem and a healthy relationship with the opposite sex.
The Word of God gives clear boundaries for how that relationship with the opposite sex should happen.
Defining and Drawing Clear Boundaries
Kids are going to push boundaries. As adults, we do it all the time with Father God. It’s our human nature to test, push, and assert our independence – even to our own detriment. So we need to understand that kids are going to push the proverbial envelope. That’s not going to change.
When boundaries are drawn they also need to be defined. That includes giving a clear intent and purpose behind them. When kids are given boundaries, yet they don’t understand their purpose, they are more likely to cross them. So, educate your kids. Any rule that is not grounded in love is more likely to be disobeyed. Rules should exist for a purpose: to protect and guide – not to control. When kids understand that rules exist because of your love for them, and they understand their purpose and the consequences of breaking them, not only are they learning valuable truths, but they become secure in trusting your parental motives and intentions. This strengthens relationship.
Sexual boundaries for developing young girls are often vague and ambiguous, as they continually receive mixed messages from media that may conflict with those of the home. Therefore, those boundaries need to be clearly defined by God’s word – not the latest program on television, the newest model, or the cover of the latest magazine. Young girls are literally bombarded by media of every kind which teaches them things about themselves and womanhood that are directly contrary to God’s Word. And if the Word of God is treated as something which is no longer applicable to our time, or as an outdated message, then that means it’s no longer valid in other areas of life either. The natural logic that follows is to disregard it altogether. Such teaching undermines God’s character and authority. So we must uphold God’s Word in the home as the final and inerrant authority, and as the eternal absolute truth.
Accountability and Consequence
There needs to be accountability and consequence.
When young girls are tempted and pressured to push that envelope, they need to know precisely what the consequence will be, and they need to be held accountable for their actions. When parents let things slide, the natural rationale within any child is this: “Well then, it must not have been that important.” Guess what? Next time, their chances of doing a repeat are even greater. Don’t set them up to fail. Be consistent with your discipline and stick to your guns. That means giving careful thought to boundaries, any rules, and the consequences thereof.
When parents model slackness for the sake of personal insecurity (ie fear of hurting or offending their child), the tables just turned. You’re authority has been subverted. In fact, you’re being controlled. And you haven’t done them any favors. Not only have you taught them that your rules are not important, but in their young minds, that equates with the consequences as well. And as we all know – consequences don’t change just because the rules do. For example: if you touch a hot oven you will be burned, whether the rule says you can touch the oven or not. Yet when parents undermine their own authority in the home, their child’s disobedience or misbehavior becomes justified. They see themselves as exempt, and this breeds a mindset of entitlement. This type of inconsistency sets up their children for even greater dangers. It also breeds confusion and a lack of proper judgment. Children need to know that you mean what you say, and you say what you mean. Educate your kids. Maintain accountability. Be consistent with your rules. Discipline should be fair, just, and consistent. And consequences should always be carried out.
When there is consistency in the home with regard to discipline, accountability and consequence, children are able to trust their parents in their judgment. Their authority in the home is established. This brings security, and there is no longer confusion. Children will know, regardless of the rule, that if they do A, B, or C then X, Y, or Z will happen. And they will know precisely why. This develops trust, respect for authority, and a sense of deep security.
But once your discipline is on a sliding scale, their behaviors will be also.
True love begins in the home. Your daughter needs to understand that true love is something that comes from God – that He is the Author. True love is a gift, and not something she can earn.
By giving your daughter a strong father, a strong God, and clear consistent boundaries, you’ll help her develop into the mature woman God intended her to become. Someday she’ll be ready for that special gentleman she so deserves and for whom she so deeply longs.
I pray with all my heart that this video and this post have helped you understand your daughter. I pray that it will save her, and many other young women besides, from the danger, heartbreak, and pain that can so easily be avoided.
Cheers & Shalom,