FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Carpool Queens and Sleepover Divas

with Dannah Gresh | April 8, 2011
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Wanna quit the carpool? You might reconsider after hearing carpool queen and Mom P.I., Dannah Gresh. She explains why driving the kids to all their activities might be one of the best things a mother can do. Dannah also talks to moms about unbranding your teens and helping your daughter dream about her future prince.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Wanna quit the carpool? You might reconsider after hearing carpool queen and Mom P.I., Dannah Gresh. She explains why driving the kids to all their activities might be one of the best things a mother can do. Dannah also talks to moms about unbranding your teens and helping your daughter dream about her future prince.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Wanna quit the carpool?

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Carpool Queens and Sleepover Divas

With Dannah Gresh
April 08, 2011
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Bob:  If you’re going to know what is going on in your child’s heart and mind, Dannah Gresh says you’ve got to spend some time in your child’s world.

Dannah:  If I could just be brutally honest, I used to hate carpool because it just felt so mundane to me and like somebody else could drive my kid to soccer practice and I could be getting something done.  You know, I just felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything.  And then I began to ask for God’s heart on it, and I began to learn that it is my opportunity to be Mom P.I. – Private Investigator.

Bob:  This is FamilyLifeToday for Friday, April 8th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  Today Dannah Gresh joins us to help us figure out how we can get the inside scoop on what’s going on in our child’s life. 

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.  Well, let’s see.  This week we’ve talked about dolls to get rid of, we’ve talked about media . . .

Dennis:  We’ve got all kinds of hate mail from our listeners.

Bob:  And we just forward that on to Dannah Gresh, right?  Is that what we do when it comes?

Dennis:  She stirred the pot.  Dannah, welcome back.  We’ll send you the mail. 

Dannah:  Thank you.

Dennis:  We’ll let you answer it.  Dannah has written a book called Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl.  She has authored a number of other books.  She is a gifted woman, not only as a mom who is raising her own three, but also in terms of creating resources to help you as a parent raise your daughters as well. 

Dannah, before we get started on the topic here about really equipping moms to help their daughters grow up in a timely way.  I want to ask you this question.  Bob’s going to groan, but I’ll take that away from him here at the beginning.  What’s the most courageous thing that you’ve ever done?

Dannah:  Me?

Dennis:  You. 

Dannah:  Oh-h-h . . .

Dennis:  What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?  I love to ask this question of people, because most people don’t think they’re courageous, and yet everyone has done many courageous things because you faced fear down and you did your duty anyway.

Bob:  And in this case, if you can’t think of anything I know the answer, okay?

Dannah:  You do?

Bob:  Uh-huh.

Dannah:  You know what I’ve done that’s courageous?

Bob:  I know the most courageous thing you’ve done.

Dannah:  What is it?

Dennis:  Don’t tell her!  And if you can’t answer, we’ll call your husband and let him answer for you.

Dannah:  Well, I will tell you that I went on a zip line with him on vacation this past year.

Bob: No, no, no, no.  That’s not . . .  I mean that’s . . .

Dennis:  I’m not buying that as the most courageous thing you’ve ever done.

Bob:  No.  I’m thinking the most courageous thing you and Bob have done together was a trip you took to China a couple of years ago.

Dannah:   Ah-h-h.  That’s so sweet of you.

Bob:  Tell our listeners about that.

Dannah:  Well, after telling the Lord several years ago when we were in Zambia that we would take an orphan if he dropped one in our lap, and expecting that maybe one would come on one of those trips to Africa, he instead presented a 13-year-old orphan from China. 

When we got the phone call that this little girl needed a home, our little Lexi, 13 at the time, kept reminding us of the promise that we’d made to the Lord.  “What’s wrong with our house?  Why are you calling everyone else?  We have room for her.”  And the Lord provided everything, and within eight months we brought Autumn Gresh home to be a part of our family.

Bob:  Bringing in a 13-year-old who has lived a really difficult life and loving her takes – it’s hard work.  It takes some courage.

Dannah:  Yes, one of the greatest goals of my life is to break down the wall that separates us so that she can feel safe.

Dennis:  You said a lot in that sentence, because you’re not only doing that for Autumn, the young lady you’re now raising as your own and who is your own, but you’ve also done it for your son and your daughter, Lexi, and you’re also helping other moms around the country raise their daughters.  It’s part of what really spawned this book, Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl. 

Dannah:  Yes.

Dennis:  Earlier we talked about the first three of those six ways to keep the little in your girl.  Why don’t you review that just quickly for our listeners and then let’s move on to number four, five and six if you would.

Bob:  You want to get more mail, is that the deal?  You want to talk about dolls again and . . .


Dennis:  She’s hitting some hot topics that I really agree with Dannah on.

Dannah:  Yes.  Well, way number one, give her the right dolls to play with.  Way number two, celebrate her body by punctuating her period, and way number three, unplug her from a plugged in world.

Dennis:  And if you want to find out more about what that’s all about . . .

Bob:  You can get a copy of the book by going to or you can listen to the part of conversation we’ve already had where we unpacked some of that.  The fourth way you address in your book has to do with how our kids are being marketed to, right?

Dannah:  Unbrand her, when the world tries to buy and sell her.  This is kind of a hot button issue for me, because this deals with the issue of modesty.  I hope that not just our daughters will hear this message, but some of the moms will hear the message that modesty is one of the most critical things that the church needs to start to get right.

Dennis:  The Christian community really doesn’t have a healthy view of beauty and modesty, do we?  I mean, honestly we just tend to struggle with the peril of the pendulum.  We err on the side over here of sackcloth and then others just seem to rebel and have no limits.

Dannah:  I really think that it comes from not understanding the way men are designed and what God’s Word says.  So let’s go to God’s Word to figure out how men are designed.  Do you mind if I talk about you guys for a few minutes?

Bob:  That’s alright.  Go ahead.  We’ll correct you if you get anything wrong.

Dennis:  That’s exactly right.  You’ve got a couple of authorities here in the room.

Dannah:  I think women, because they haven’t, thank God, been in the mind of a man and they really need to just kind of buckle up to go there for a moment.  Proverbs 5:18-19 is one of my favorite places to take women for instruction, and it says, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth, a loving doe, a graceful deer.  May her breasts satisfy you always.  May you ever be captivated by her love.”

I think God gives us in the original Hebrew language a more potent picture of what he’s saying here, because that last phrase, “May you ever be captivated by her love,” what woman doesn’t want to captivate the man of her dreams?

It would have been better translated from Hebrew, “May you be intoxicated by her sex.”  This is very gritty, and it gave a very powerful picture of the power of a woman’s beauty, the deepest secrets of her beauty, that they have the power to bring a man to be out of control, or rather under the control of that beauty.  If you go back to the beginning of the verse, it says, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth.”  How many wives?  It’s a quiz.  How many?

Bob:  Just one.

Dannah:  One wife!  So girls listening right now, women, how many men are the deepest secrets of your beauty created for?  One.  One man.  The low-cut shirts and the low-rise jeans and the tight, tight shirts are not in line with God’s desire for you to be intoxicating to one man.

Bob:  You know, I remember a conversation that we had with one of our children about this subject.  I think we were commenting on something that we thought really pushed the boundaries of modesty that this particular child was wearing. 

I remember the child saying back to us, “Have you been outside recently?  You think this looks immodest?  I mean, come on.  Look at what’s going on in the culture.”  It’s to the point that, as a Dad, I’ll look and go, “Boy, that’s immodest.”  But I think a lot of our girls are going, “This is just normal.  Immodest is over there in that corner.”

Dannah:   Well, we’re making the world our level, rather than the Word of God our level.  So we’re building faulty homes, we’re building a faulty premise, a faulty life to lean on.  If I could just go into what really is the motivation behind those clothes – In the 1950s Marilyn Monroe really was our first beauty icon.  Oddly enough, she was almost thirty when she was at the height of that beauty status.  That’s old for beauty icons today, right?  But she was selling products, or they were using her to sell products to 20-year-old adult women, young adult women. 

And then they said, “If we want to increase our market share, we have to have more customers.”  So by the 1980s you had Brooke Shields, 15 years old, topless, nothing came between her and her Calvins.  The worst thing of all is that within the last five years we have seen beauty icons as young as 13 years old, the likes of Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana, Hilary Duff, selling beauty products to eight-, nine- and ten-year-old girls. 

They commanded about $42 billion worth of spending in the last few years, each year, and much of that is being spent on mini-skirts, makeup and products that they’re really not ready for.  It creates in them a desire to attain an unattainable standard of beauty, and that hurts their hearts in the long run.

Dennis:  So if a Mom was on the phone right now, calling in, and says “Hey, my daughter who is nine years old wants to wear makeup.  What should I say to her?”

Dannah:   I’d probably say, “You know what, baby?  Some things are worth waiting for.”  And let me just speak to the fact that “No” and waiting, even if the product itself isn’t that bad. . .  For example, my daughter wanted her ears pierced when she was in first grade.  It’s really not that bad to have your ears pierced, but you know what we did?  We told her she could have her ears pierced when she could do her times tables.  So she was in third grade.  She had to exercise the muscle power of self-control and waiting. 

Any time we do that for our kids it’s good.  But when we’re giving them something like makeup, which recently I read an article that said that eye liner and mascara sales among eight- to twelve-year-olds doubled last year.  Doubled!  What is there to double?

Dennis:  They’re trying to create a market for it, aren’t they?

Dannah:  Yes they are.  The only thing that matters to them is the bottom line, the money.

Dennis:  One of the things you do in the book that I really like because the theme of modesty can be interpreted by different people in different ways, and you took a stab at it.  You created a “Truth or Bare” fashion test.  You can’t go through all these over the air . . .

Dannah:  We could make you take them. 

Dennis:  Uh-h-h.  I don’t think so.

Dannah:  Go ahead.  Stand up.  The Raise and Praise test.

Dennis:  The Raise and Praise test.  What is that all about?

Dannah:  Raise and praise.   Just stand up with your daughter in front of a mirror in the clothes that you’re wearing today, raise your hands up as if you’re reaching up to praise God, and if anybody is showing any belly, you have my permission to poke it.  Because bellies are intoxicating.  Bellies are very powerful to the male mind, and so you want to cover them up. 

Now if your daughter happens to like the cropped top shirt, that’s fine.  Get her something to put under it so she still kind of gets that cool, trendy look, but there’s a layer that’s protecting her modesty.

Dennis:  Okay, the Mirror-Mirror test.

Dannah:  Mm hmm.  How short is too short?  This is for shorts and skirts.  You just sit criss-cross applesauce in front of the mirror, and just be mindful that anything that you’re seeing now is what everyone else is going to see.

Dennis:  I wish I’d had this test as I was picking out prom dresses for my daughters.  Let me tell you, Dannah, we had some really tough moments.  I mean, it was supposed to be a celebration, for goodness sakes.  Dad and Mom are going out to buy a prom dress for our gorgeous daughters.  What is the Over and Out test?

Dannah:  The Over and Out test -- Is my shirt too low?  Just simply bend in front of a mirror and again, anything you can see is what everybody else will see.  A lot of times girls stand up straight and tall and they think, “Well, it’s fine.”  But we live life moving; we bend over and there are people that stand over us when we’re sitting, and things show that shouldn’t probably show that are intoxicating.  So it’s just a simple test to take.

Dennis:  And the point is, when your children are smaller and little and still under your guidance as a parent, that means, probably all the way through high school until they leave the house, you really have, I believe, the responsibility as parents to run the tests.

Bob:  Part of the issue here is that when a daughter is five or six or seven years old, let’s be honest, her belly is not all that intoxicating.

Dannah:  No.

Bob:  And if she bends over there’s not anything that we need to worry about.  Right?  So moms will allow fashions at five and six and seven that they go, “There’s no problem with this,” but it’s just setting a pattern.

Dannah:  Well, and here’s my big motivation for introducing it early, maybe at the age of eight I think is a really critical age to start to introduce these things.  When a girl is somewhere between the ages of nine and twelve her body begins to change.  She begins to develop breast buds, which is a big and sometimes uncomfortable, embarrassing thing for a young girl. 

If we start to introduce the concept of modesty then, we run the risk of sending her the message that her body is bad.  And that is not a message you want to send.  Her body is a beautiful creation of God, and there are a few awkward years there where you’re very, very self-conscious about it.  That’s not when you want to introduce the concept of modesty.  You want to hit it three or four years before that happens.

Bob:  I was interested as I looked through your book and was going through the six ways to keep the little in your girl, that one of the things that you feel strongly about is that your house needs to be the house where the sleepovers happen, and you need to be the one putting the miles on the car.

Dannah:  Yes.  We are – it’s actually the next secret, the next way.  Become the carpool queen and the sleepover diva.  What I love about being the carpool queen is, if I could just be brutally honest, I hate carpool.  I used to hate carpool, I should say, because it just felt so mundane to me, and like somebody else could drive my kid to soccer practice and I could be getting something done.  I just felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything.  Then I began to ask for God’s heart on it, and I began to learn that it is my opportunity to be Mom P.I., Private Investigator.

Dennis:  Yeah, sure.

Dannah:  Because they are talking about things in the back seat that they don’t realize I’m hearing as I’m listening to Bob and Dennis on the radio – with one ear.

Dennis:  Right.  They think you’re tuned out.

Dannah:  That’s right.  They think I’m tuned out, and I get to hear who has a boyfriend, what teacher they like,

Dennis:  Who’s got a ‘tude.

Dannah:  Who’s got a ‘tude, yes.  I think that’s a rather old word, but yes, who’s got a ‘tude.

Bob:  Well, look who said it.


Dennis:  The point is, you’re looking in that rear view mirror and you’re seeing some of the interactions taking place between those kids.

Dannah:  Yes, exactly.  Exactly

Dennis:  And it gives a mom a chance to truly do a measurement.

Dannah:  So now I love carpool.

Bob:  And sleepovers?  Come on.

Dannah:  Well, sleepovers kind of get on my nerves.

Bob:  Right.

Dannah:  But, if they’re going to have them I want them to be at my house, so that I’m there kind of monitoring it.  My mom was the queen of sleepovers.  She was always sitting right there, I remember, on our gray shag carpet while we were in the basement, and she was sitting there until we fell asleep.  And she’s my role model and I want to be like that, although I usually don’t outlast them, somehow.  I don’t know how she did that.

Dennis:  You said your mom also was a prayer warrior.

Dannah:  Yes.

Dennis:  You know, I think we downplay the power of a mom’s prayer on behalf of young ladies growing up.  Your mom prayed for you a bunch.

Dannah:  And still does.  And prayed from the book of Habakkuk!  Anytime a woman is praying from Habakkuk she must be godly, because who reads that book?


Dennis:  No doubt.

Dannah:  She said there’s a verse in there that she’s prayed over my life.  “Watch and see what amazing things I will do.”  That’s my paraphrase, but it’s just this anticipation that God was going to do something with her kids.  She prayed it over both my brother and me.

Dennis:  The last way to keep the little in your girl?

Dannah:  Dream with her about her prince.  We talked about this on the first day of broadcast, but I believe it’s so important when she’s a tween, maybe six, seven, eight years old, that you begin creating a vision of that wedding day she’s going to have one day.  If you don’t do that, and if you’re not positive about it, what happens in sixth or seventh or eighth grade, suddenly your daughter comes home and she’s going out with someone.

 I’ve had moms call me and say, “I’m so upset!  How can this be?  Why is she doing this?”  And I ask, “When did you discuss with her what your family’s dating standards were?”  “Well, we didn’t talk about it because it wasn’t time yet.”  “Well, obviously it was.”  It’s so important when they’re little to begin to develop that dream of someone so wonderful that they’re worth waiting for.

Dennis:  You have what’s called a “Boy-Crazy Train” that you try to keep your daughters off of?

Dannah:  Yes.

Dennis:  How do you keep them from boarding this train?  I have a feeling that if you could sell this kind of blockage to the door to the train, you could become wealthy.

Dannah:  We take away their tickets.  We simply talk about boys a lot.  A lot.  And moms are always surprised when they hear that that’s my strategy for keeping off the boy-crazy train, but I remember a day when Lexi was four or five years old, getting out my wedding dress from its special packaging, its beautiful box, and showing it to her.  She was so amazed, and she said “I want to wear that one day,” which I promise you, she won’t.  It’s from the 1980s. 


But she wanted to try it on, so we have pictures of her in that dress, and we talked as a four- and five-year-old about that day that was coming one day.  I truly believe that the greatest way to keep her off the boy-crazy train is to talk about it so far in advance that you’re creating that dream.

I gave my daughter when she was on her ninth birthday, I gave her The Princess and the Kiss, to talk about saving her kiss for that wedding day.  I’ve just created that passion and that dream, and so I have a 16-year-old, a 17-year-old and a 20-year-old son who are really faithfully waiting for someone.  They’re not playing that date and breakup game that so many people get their hearts broken in.

Bob:  I’ll just mention that we have copies of the book you’re talking about, The Princess and the Kiss, in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, if our listeners are interested in getting a copy.  I’ll also mention that I’ve seen pictures of both of your daughters here in your book, and I’m guessing the boy crazy train stops at your house, because you’ve got cute girls.

Dannah:  Yes, they are cute, and you know that my husband, every time that there’s a boy that approaches, the girls understand that if a guy is interested in them they have to talk to Dad, and he always tells them there will be no shenanigans.  None of us really understand that word, but it does seem to scare boys.

Bob:  The boy seems to know what a shenanigan is.

Dannah:  And they go away.

Dennis:  Dannah, I just appreciate your work being a champion for Christian families, helping raise a generation of young ladies who have a biblical approach to womanhood and being God’s women and not just a replica of the world.  You guys have done a great job in terms of being relevant and stating things in fresh ways.  I would just commend this book to every mom who is listening. 

In fact, I’m thinking that before we’re done here I’m going to get two signed – actually three – for my daughters and daughters-in-law who have little girls they are raising.  It’s just a great book. 

I’d also encourage parents to get a copy of Passport to Purity and head some of these issues off at the pass in advance of facing them by having a weekend getaway with your daughter.  Just a great way for moms and daughters to experience this together.

Bob:  It really is.  And we, of course, have Passport to Purity in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, we’ve got Dannah’s books there, we have The Princess and the Kiss, a lot of resources designed to help parents in this area.  So I hope, again, that our listeners will stop by our website, 

Let me also mention, if you have an iPhone and you don’t have our iPhone app yet, that makes it easy to listen to FamilyLife Today and easy to get in touch with us, again, go to our website,, or just go to the app store on your iPhone and look up the FamilyLife Today app and add it.  It’s absolutely free, and it will help us stay in touch better. 

If you have questions about the resources that we’ve talked about or you want to get in touch with us by phone, the number is 1-800-FLTODAY, that’s 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800 “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “Today.”

Now today is the last day I’ve got to let you know about the special offer we’re making for our FamilyLife Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise, which will take place next Valentine’s week.  We’ll leave on Monday morning, February 13th from Miami, head off for the Grand Bahama Island and then Nassau and then back to Great Stirrup Cay before we come back to port in Miami on Friday. 

We still have some cabins available, and today is the last day to take advantage of the special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners, where you can save $200 on your stateroom.  But you have to sign up today to take advantage of that, and you have to put my name, you have to put “BOB” in the promo code box on the registration form. 

For more information about the Love Like You Mean It Cruise, click on the link you find on our website,  Dennis and Barbara Rainey are going to be speaking, along with Voddie Baucham, Gary Thomas, the author of the book Sacred Marriage, musicians like Matthew West and Michael O’Brien and the Annie Moses Band and country singer Paul Overstreet, all of them are going to be joining us.  All the information is online when you click at  So hope you’ll do that and hope you’ll sail with us next February.

And with that we’ve got to wrap things up for this week.  Thanks for being with us.  I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about what a mom and a dad can do to make sure you have your son or your daughter well-prepped, not just for college but for life, how you have them ready to release when you get to the end of the high school graduation ceremony.  We’ll talk about that Monday; hope you can tune in.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We will see you back on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today

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