Discouraging Younger Women

Posted By on November 30, 2010

To Older Women…

It’s very easy for older women to make remarks or comments to or in front of younger women that are discouraging.  We ought to be very careful about this, for we are to instruct the younger women, not destruct them.  Oftentimes many of these comments are “off the cuff” remarks and aren’t given much thought by those saying or writing them, but can burn down into the innermost parts of a young woman’s impressionable mind.

Disparaging remarks by older women about children are a big discouragement. Perhaps a woman comes to church and is overheard telling someone that she is with child for the fourth time.  An older woman chimes in or says to someone else something along the lines of “Doesn’t she know what birth control’s for?”  Or the disparaging isn’t verbal, but is in one’s expression: a roll of the eyes, a mouth that purses and a head shake, a frown.  God hates a proud and haughty look as much as He hates arrogance; this type of reaction is wrong as it is hurtful and hateful.  Children are a gift from God, all children, and regardless of what we may personally think about a child’s mother, earthly father, or family, we must remember that each human born is another chance for all of us to hope – this child is a gift and a human being worthy of love and worthy to be valued as much as anyone else.  The same God we serve created him or her, and the same Christ we believe in lived and died for this child, too.

Disparaging remarks about husbands can lead to arguments in the homes of other women. Hearing a woman speak badly about her husband is a poison.  I am not referring to a woman in a counseling session with a therapist working out issues; I am referring to a woman who “bad mouths” her husband in public.  It is very easy for younger women to hear such things and think, “Yeah, my husband does that, too,” or “If my husband ever did that I’d…” and then this topic becomes a somewhat hot topic between a husband and wife, and before one knows it, an argument.

Disparaging remarks about housework: Making light of a homemaker’s job as concerns running a home or encouraging younger women to give up by stating or writing that running a smooth home can’t be done is discouraging.  On the other hand, pitying a homemaker and saying things like, “I don’t see how you do it all”  in a condescending or questioning tone is disparaging and discouraging, too, like one is expecting to see this woman fail.  Plenty of younger wives, mothers, and women run their homes like clock-work and do an excellent job; it’s not impossible, it’s not overwhelming, and it makes a woman and a home very often feel very, very good.

Disparaging remarks about God-created womanhood: Even stating, “I’d have gone crazy if I’d have stayed home with my children” and things along those lines are destructive.  If one didn’t stay home, she can’t actually know that she’d have truly gone crazy.  If a woman tried to stay home and didn’t succeed, it was most likely because she didn’t give it her all or perhaps even very much real effort, or perhaps she just didn’t realize how many opportunities existed to create an amazing and fulfilling home and personal life.  It’s not worth discouraging others just because of a personal experience.

To Younger Women…

The majority of disparaging remarks made by older women are usually the result of one or more of the following three things:

1.  Ignorance. These women just don’t realize the power of words.  These women can also be ignorant of how to be successful in their own and home lives and may just be settled into “getting by,” thinking that the current American way of life (dysfunctional or barely functional) is all that can be expected of anyone.  They probably don’t mean to be hurtful and actually have no idea that a better life awaits any woman; that children can be the most enjoyable, lovable, fulfilling human beings on earth; and that a marriage that is akin to heaven on earth can exist.  But you know that a better life awaits, that children are treasures beyond value, and that marriage is created to be exquisitely and immensely powerful and pleasurable, and you, by reading good books and writings, and, most importantly, by seeking God’s leadership, know exactly where to find information and encouragement to become the woman you want to be.

2.  Arrogance. Some older women, inside and outside of churches, think it’s funny or that they appear “big,” or “wise,” or even clever by making disparaging remarks about other human beings (husbands, children, other people) and the importance of maintaining a smooth-running home.  What they are actually doing is displaying utter arrogance.  Watch out for arrogant women and head the other way.  They are not humble, they are not meek, and they aren’t speaking or behaving wisely.

3.  The fruits of their own trees are “sour grapes“. They didn’t devote themselves completely to their own marriages, families, and betterment of themselves, didn’t find the true paths to happiness and a good life, for whatever reason, and reason that no one else can find the paths of goodness and truth just because they didn’t or that it is impossible for any woman to succeed fully.  Maybe it’s too late for them to re-raise their children or get back an ex-husband, but it’s never too late for them to love themselves and do better.  Just don’t listen to such a woman’s unwise words on the surface, but listen to the woman speaking on the inside.  Maybe she’s hurting, discouraged, and has given up herself.  Maybe your standing strong and becoming a woman of excellence through-and-through will be just the light she needs to find happiness herself and turn whatever grapes she has left on the vine into a sweet, bountiful harvest!

A note to younger women:  Don’t let any older women discourage you.  Don’t be disrespectful to your elders regarding this; just purpose in your heart to do things differently than those who discourage so that you don’t end up like them.  Many older women need womanly encouragement themselves or they wouldn’t be so discouraging (it comes from somewhere inside of them, discouragement does).  Be a light, be an example, seek true wisdom, knowledge, instruction, and understanding–the kind that comes from God through asking Him for it in heartfelt, earnest prayer; He’ll show you the way, and let your eyes not turn from this True knowledge.  In so doing you will be encouraged, and encouraging, and in this day and age, the gift of encouragement is of tremendous worth on earth, as it is in Heaven .

Every word we say or write is important and will be called into judgment by God.  It is worth working towards making everything that we say and write kind and wise.  I know that I need to work on this myself.  Let us refine ourselves and be refined by God in this area, if He will so bless us, until all of our words reflect wisdom and kindness.

- ♦ -

© 2010 Fascinating Womanhood ~ Alaska, Mrs. Wayne Hunter, all rights reserved.  This article, including the graphics used herein, are copyright protected.  Copying or reposting in any fashion or form on the Internet, electronically, or in print is not allowed, except for permission to print one copy for oneself for personal reading, without the written permission of the authoress.  Linking to this article is allowed.

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About The Author

Hi! Thank you for visiting my profile. I am Mrs. Wayne (Nikki) Hunter. I am married to a retired U.S. soldier and small business owner, the momma of several (double digits) beautiful children ranging in age from twenty-two to two, and a homemaker. I have a blog/website titled "The Wonderful World of Womanhood".


20 Responses to “Discouraging Younger Women”

  1. Renee Stam says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post! I heard those comments so many times!!!! So this post was a breath of fresh air :-)

  2. Always striving never arriving says:

    I am 33 years old and had 6 children very quickly. I never heard more discouragement than in church. People themselves who came from large families looked at us in disdain. When a new baby arrived, “christian” family turned their backs on us, and quipped that we had them, so it was our ‘problem’. There was little encouragement, affirmation, gentle guidance, or exta help. We eventually left the church that my husband grew up in, and though we now attend a different church with better preaching, I have still had older ladies, even pastors wives, quip comments about needing a ‘sanity break’ or encouraging busyness outside the home as a way to get away from eachother, since we get ‘sick of eachother’. I admit I bristle at comments like these, but it is pointless to argue.
    Our family is now preparing to move in a new direction, and hopefully be blessed with more children, and we are bracing ourselves for ineveitable unpopularity for the decision. I wish there was a way to reach into the church itself and rebuke these ungodly and worldly attitudes to the people who really need to hear it. I am so discouraged sometimes, and I fear confronting this as it never goes well.
    I am encouraged by your website, but it doesn’t replace the desire for this kind of fellowship in the local church…

  3. Hope says:

    I just had some negative response from two older women when they found out I was pregnant again. This will be our third child. I do love them, but did not understand their response. Thank you for this much needed encouragement!!!

  4. micandme says:

    I’m SO THANKFUL for our church! I’ve heard of churches that can be discouraging to larger families in that “humorous” (“don’t they know what causes that?”) way. My husband has gotten a bit of that at the Christian school he teaches at (after 6 years, we’re expecting a slightly surprising fourth child), and while he takes it well, we’re so thankful that our church truly sees value in children and goes out of their way to make children and larger families feel welcomed and taken care of! I LOVE that there is a nursery and children’s church for those who choose to use it, but that no one has a problem if we keep our children with us. Some events are specifically for adults (chili supper tonight), but childcare is provided. We love that because many of our larger families also have smaller budgets and without that, we and many others would just not be able to attend. Most events, however, are for the entire family.

    Anyway, I so appreciate this article, because it reminds me to watch how I speak of my children and life as a wife and mom, and because it makes me appreciate our church. Thank you! :)


  5. bandersenz says:

    Thank you so very, very much. You literally placed a mirror in front of our faces and described those things which we have been deceived by. Thank you.

  6. Hi Always Striving Never Arriving,

    Find or create the kind of in-person fellowship you desire. If you can’t do so in your church, do so in your community by particpating in or starting a mothers’ support group, homemakers’ support group, or children’s activity group or something similar. Meetup.com is a great way to find or start such a local group.

    Nikki (a.k.a. Mrs. Wayne Hunter)

  7. lady_bostock says:

    Thank you for this post, LAF! It’s a good encouragement.

    And I’d also add…older moms, please don’t tell us younger moms that your kids were all potty trained by the time they were 2, or that YOUR children NEVER did this or that naughty thing, or never got away with any bad behaviour. All that does is make us feel like you are telling us we are inferior mothers. Yes, even if you’re trying to help. : ) It’s way nicer to be told, “Keep going, if you are consistent their behaviour will change; you’re doing a good job!” or “some kids are harder to potty train than others…don’t give up.” It shows us that you are supportive and lets us know you’ve been there and know how we feel.

    I love older moms; they are walking encyclopedias of childcare information. But it’s a lot easier to talk to them when they’re supportive rather than when we come away feeling like we don’t measure up to you. That’s one thing I love about my mom…her advice is given with love and without judgment.

  8. Chicagoan says:

    “If one didn’t stay home, she can’t actually know that she’d have truly gone crazy. If a woman tried to stay home and didn’t succeed, it was most likely because she didn’t give it her all or perhaps even very much real effort, or perhaps she just didn’t realize how many opportunities existed to create an amazing and fulfilling home and personal life.”

    There’s an inherent flaw in your logic here. How about if I wrote this:

    “If one didn’t go to work, she can’t actually know that she’d have truly gone crazy. If a woman tried to have a career and didn’t succeed, it was most likely because she didn’t give it her all or perhaps even very much real effort, or perhaps she just didn’t realize how many opportunities existed to create an amazing and fulfilling work life.”

    You’re assumption that an unhappy person just wasn’t trying hard enough can be applied to any situation, and can be equally wrong in any situation. “Well, she just wasn’t trying hard enough to lose weight.” “She could have fixed her marriage and kept her husband from straying if she’s tried harder.” “She could have raised happier children if she’d tried harder.” “She could have been more successful in her career if she’s tried harder.” How do you know how hard anyone has tried? How can you judge another person’s effort? Some situations are just wrong from the start. Becomin a stay-at-home mom just because it’s expected of you is as bad as becoming a lawyer just because it’s expected of you- if the situation is not suited to your personality and temperament, there’s no way it’s going to work out, no matter how hard you try.

  9. Mrs. Eva H. says:

    I want to agree with Lady Bostock. I love the original article, but it only adresses one type of discouragement from older ladies, the ladies that do not agree with the views of this site.
    Many of us in the younger generation have received not just the cricitism of those who disagree with our life’s choices, but unfortunately snide remarks from woman who now have a family of 10 children, with the older ones helping out, and who seem to have forgotten how overwhelming it can be with the first, second and third child all young and in constant need of physical help, discipling, teaching.. all at the same time.
    Remarks like “My children never watched tv.” “oh.. you do not find time for this or that devotion? Well… it’s all a matter of priorities I suppose.” “I would have never had anyone babysit until my children were weaned at age 4, not even my own mother.” (okay, maybe I exagerate a little bit, but we all know the subtle remarks that tell anyone trying (quite often as the first one in their circle of friends to shoes this ‘lifestyle) that they are just not measuring up.

  10. Hi Lady Bostock and Mrs. Eva H.,

    Thank you for bringing up what you both have regarding us older women who have large families needing to be more supportive and teaching in love and compassion.
    When we act like that to you, how about asking us to recommend a good book on the subject being discussed, or if the older woman would consider teaching a class or even you as an individual how she “did it” in the area being discussed or in an area you’d like help with? This would be encouraging to both the older momma and the younger.

    Mrs. Wayne Hunter

  11. Thank you to all of you who have commented! I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this article.

    Very sincerely,
    Mrs. Wayne Hunter (a.k.a. Nikki)

  12. Hello Chicagoan,

    You wrote “How do you know how hard anyone has tried? How can you judge another person’s effort?” I claimed neither. I avoided absolutes by using the terms “perhaps” and “most likely” and logically stated that a woman can’t know something that she earnestly *can’t* know. I not did claim to know how hard any one person tried nor did I judge any one person’s efforts, I offered suggestions as to what may have very likely happened.

    You also asked me “How about if I wrote” and then wrote the same thing I had written but changed a few words. My answer is that if my initial reaction was like yours, I would reread what you had written carefully.

    In regards to your statement that doing what is expected as a person can be wrong, my answer is that The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob expects very much out of His followers. When we expect something different for ourselves than what God has expected of us, we hurt ourselves and The Whole Body of Believers. And doing what God expects does work out for those serving God in most marvelous ways, even if we would personally like to do something different or feel in our own hearts that we aren’t “cut out” for living God’s way. God is clear in what He expects of women who serve Him. He is also very clear about what happens when we choose our own ways over His instructions, which is that we choose to bring about curses rather than blessings, and hurt others as we are hurting ourselves. These curses may not be clear to those (who also believe they are serving God) choosing self-directed rather than God-directed paths for quite some time, or maybe even ever, but the results are clear to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

  13. Nanas Knoll says:

    So liked this article.
    I never understood why older women made fun of their spouses or women who chose to have more than 2 children.
    When I was pregnant with my 3rd in 1977 the 2 child only age, I got comments and looks and even my mother in law was upset with me (although she loved the chile and changed her mind). I swore I would never do that to another.
    My daughter in law has 5 I tried to encourage her and help her.
    Thank goodness for a dear friend and my husband. My husband told me it was not bodies business if we have 12 children, then I went to visit this friend. I was depressed by it all, and she said to me, I could only have one child, don’t you listen to anyone about it-lets go buy some baby clothes. She was so excited about it, and it got me going.
    The Bible says we are to encourage one another-not discourage.
    I am now a Nana of 9 grandchildren.
    Wish there were more blogs with other women and living a Christian life.

  14. Nanas Knoll says:

    It is late and I misspelled words. Meant to say Older women Christian Blogs. I am so glad to see the younger women wanting to stay at home, like I did. I got a lot of flak during that time too, because I did not work.

  15. Jenn says:

    Thank you so much for this true and timely message. As a younger Christian wife and mom of four, it is often difficult to find godly, sweet, worthwhile counsel from older women. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the older women who have not become bitter in life but have grown in grace and wisdom and are sharing that. Others, please do not share with us how you whipped your husband into shape, let him know what he had coming, told him a thing or two, how you excel him in so many areas, or how bad off he’d be without you. Looking to the future, the women of my generation: we have to stay close to the Lord, not develop bitterness, and be selfless. We have to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” if we ever hope to give sweet, godly counsel someday ourselves.

  16. LilyMaeBaker says:

    I wish I could print this out and give it to my Mamaw. She raised me but I never learned gentleness or to feel very capable. She was controlling and despised weakness. She’s negative and now that she and Papaw are older and I am divorced, we live together with my daughter. I didn’t learn self-control, I learned OBEDIENCE. I’m trying to improve myself so I can be a better mother and teach my daughter the things I didn’t learn then. Gentleness was weak. The appearance of gentleness was useful in manipulating people or circumstances but I don’t care about appearing to be something that I’m not. I want to be it. So I’m glad to have found encouraging sites like this. I may have to work but I can learn to be a sweet and gentle mother and woman. I received a word at church that said that God saw me as “that which was hidden by the corpse”. That referred me to Samson. He took honey from the hive that nested in the bone remains of that young lion that he killed. Honey is nourishing and healing. The bible has much to say about women being like honey. I needed this encouragement today…tonight. Thank you.

  17. Thank you Nanas Knoll, Jenn, and LilyMaeBaker for your kind and encouraging comments.

    Most sincerely,
    Mrs. Wayne Hunter

  18. GrowingGirl says:

    Thank you so much for your post! I’m 16 years old and I’m planning on getting married to a wonderful young Christian man when I am 2 months away from 18. I come from a broken home; my mother left and has been “with” a man for 5 years now! My older sister is completely against marriage, and my dad is very skeptical. Luckily the Lord has found me, and I am determined to have a Christian family; I want to stay home with my children and do what God has called me to do. I can’t begin to tell you how much scorn and skeptisism this has eanred me! When I found this website (and I read your article) it filled me with new hope. Thank you so, so much:) My heart, soul, and hope is ever in your debt!

  19. You are so welcome, GrowingGirl, and thank you for your kind words. I wish you the best!

    Mrs. Wayne Hunter

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