Episode #001:

Are You On The Puberty Train?

Hi, I’m Lisa Toney with Girltribe Nation where we help MOMS teach their TWEEN girls to be smart, healthy, brave and happy.


You guys.  It is here. Our first episode.  Whoot whoot. Get excited. I know I sure am.

Any Mama’s out there looking for a little love as they raise their tween girls?  Well stay tuned, you are not alone.


The Girltribe Nation podcast is all about connecting Moms with their Tween Daughters to help their girls learn how to make wise life decisions.


We help moms teach girls how to build an intentional life they love - one decision at a time.


Tweens are those kiddos between ages 9-12. They are caught right in the middle of being kids and teenagers….so they have this awesome name….. tweens. They are right beTWEEN two worlds.  


They often feel unsure, awkward, confused, out of place, and a little bit scared with all the changes that are happening as they begin to take those first steps out of childhood towards adulthood. 


Sometimes it is so overwhelming they just want to disappear and hide.


We want your tween to feel seen. Known.  Loved. And equipped for this new phase of life.

If you’ve got one of these fabulous people in your life you are not alone. There are a lot of them!  

The number of Tweens in the United States is projected to hit 23 million children this year. 

Half of them are girls….we are talking 11.5 million girls taking those first steps to move from childhood to adulthood.


Remember when she took her real first steps? It doesn’t seem that long ago, does it?  You cheered her on every step of the way. You took video. You took pictures. You posted it. You blew up Grandma’s phone. First steps are kind of a big deal.


Tween first steps into adulthood are too….and she still needs you to cheer her on….but maybe not post as much about these steps.


Just in case you need more than your double shot of espresso to help you navigate these...uh..lets just call them interesting years….GirlTribe Nation has got you covered. 


If your little sweetheart has started to get a little more sarcastic, dives into sullen silences,  throws some well-placed eye rolls your way and has started to say “Moooom” like you have the plague….

you may have just hit the world of tween girl. Hormones have been unleashed and things are a changin’.


Parenting has a whole set of new challenges but ALSO great opportunities to encourage and guide your girl.  It may be tempting to hunker down and just try to survive the next few years…. Do you ever close your eyes like when you are on a scary roller coaster ride and just hold on tight and wait for it to be over? I do....but if you do that you are going to miss one of the most vital times in her life that she needs you to help guide her.  


Girltribe Nation is here to help you keep your eyes open for the whole TWEEN ride and give you someone to hold onto.  These are the golden moments that Girltribe Nation is excited about equipping you for as her mom. These Girltribe Nation podcasts are going to be a very special opportunity to grab those golden moments and breath life into them. 


We are going to cover all the topics related to making wise decisions in a complicated world and break them down so that you can help her understand her choices. 


And ultimately help her to intentionally create a life she loves rather than fall accidentally into one full of heartache.  We want you to help your girl build a solid foundation that will serve her well for the rest of her life. Good? Let’s do it.


I’m your host, Lisa Toney. I am a wife of one brave man and mother of four super awesome human beings 2 boys and 2 girls and we have 1 fish 5 chickens just to keep things interesting.  


We live in sunny Southern California in a little town you may have heard of called - Los Angeles. That’s right, the City of Angeles. Yes, there is a LOT of traffic, people, and smog.  But we’ve also got incredible sunshine, palm trees, and surfing. It’s not for everyone, but we like it.


Now I’m originally from Michigan and grew up there until I went to college in Indiana for four years, 

so I’ve still got a whole lot of mid-west in me!  I escaped the frozen winter tundra when I moved out here to go to grad school…fell captive to the glorious sun, surf, and sand ….and just never looked back.


Actually, I do go back a lot. We take our family back to Michigan every single summer to revel in that famous midwest hospitality, enjoy family, and play hard in the beautiful lakes of Michigan. 


Higgins Lake is our absolute fav. The clear water and sandy beaches are ah-mazing. 

I’m always tempted to stay…but work, school and life call us back to L.A. So we get to escape the snowy winters. Much to my kids regret sometimes. They are pretty sure that life in Michigan during the winter would mean an endless supply of hot cocoa and marshmallows. 


My oldest daughter is in Middle School and my younger three are all in elementary school. Zoe is in 6th grade, Gus is in 4th grade, Pax (with a P) is in 2nd grade, and my littlest is Eden, just turned six and just started Kindergarten this year. She has been waiting her whole life to start Kinder. She was made for this moment and absolutely loving it.

I’ve been married to the same great guy, Carl, for almost 17 years! He’s a professor and is a lover of books, ideas, and sailing.


I’ve worked with women in a non-profit organization for 20 years and have had a window seat into their lives and the decisions they’ve made that have shaped them. I’ve always been passionate about advocating for women. I believe in them. I champion them. I write books and speak all over the country motivating and inspiring them. I think being female is a pretty awesome gift and I was beyond thrilled when I was given the gift of giving birth to two daughters.  


Now, don’t worry, I deeply love my boys too. But this podcast is for THE GIRLS. I created Girltribe Nation to offer simple, strategic, actionable steps for Moms and their tween girls to navigate this complicated world.


The world of the Tween girl has a lot of moving parts. It is hard to stay on top of them all.

Lots of changes are happening internally and externally….


While hormones have activated a whole host of physical changes happening inside her body….

She’s also trying to figure out….


  • Transitioning from elementary to Middle school

  • The Homework increase.

  • Extra Curricular Activities increase.

  • Responsibilities increase.

  • Emotions increase.


But so are the dangers that they are exposed to. These increase as well. Tweens face a lot of pressures.


Exposure and invitations to dangerous behaviors:

  • drugs 

  • sex

  • alcohol

  • vaping 

  • porn

  • social media

  • suicide

  • depression

  • abortions 

  • cutting 

  • Bulimia

  • Anorexia  


It all starts to hit during the tween years. Peer pressure is strong among tweens. This is the age when they will just start learning about the dangers of the world, and there can be many myths circulating in middle school hallways, they are definitely lurking online, running rampant on social media, and even finding their way into some educational curriculum. 


Girltribe Nation won’t buy into the lies - we choose to be wise. 


And believe we can raise girls to have self-control, 

  • honor

  • wisdom 

  • strong identities 

  • honest character 

  • kindness

  • generosity 

  • and virtue 

  • for a quality life 

  • full of healthy relationships 

  • and reaching their dreams


Tweens are starting to grow up - but they are not grown ups. 


Letting your tween just figure it all out on her own is asking for heartbreak and often an accidental life 

rather than a well-thought out one.  


Tweens frontal cortex in their brain, the decision-making part of their brain is not fully developed, nor will it be until they are well into their twenties. That’s a whole lot of time that they have to engage in risky behaviors which means they still need guidance and direction.


Tweens are not sure who they are and so they try out many different personas. 


Identity becomes a difficult one to navigate because there is a lot of pressure from this world to identify with famous people, images on social media, and even public causes that target are kids identities. 


All of these things in our culture feel like shifting sands beneath our feet. It is hard to get a good firm footing. 


It is easy to fall into a sinkhole or end up in quicksand that you didn’t see coming.


That is why she needs you now more than ever. You know her. You love her. You are invested in her life for the long haul. You want the best for her. She can trust you.


I know...she is starting to lean in more to her friends, but trust me, she still needs her mom.  She is listening even when you don’t think she is. And she’s watching you. All this pressure and change is hard on our girls. But let’s be real here... it is hard on the Mama’s too.  


Can I get an Amen?


That Mom-Daughter relationship is so very special. And it can also be so very hard. I feel ya. 


Moms have an incredible opportunity to help these tween girls walk through those challenges. 


But here’s the thing, sometime we get busy and don’t stop to have those conversations they need. 


Sometimes we don’t know what to say. Sometimes we just feel paralyzed because we made some bad choices back in our day and we don’t really want to dredge all that back up. I hear you. That is a lot of reality and honestly valid reasons. But we have to push past them to invest in our girls at this age. We have a precious window of time right now. It has to be one of our priorities.


So Girltribe Nation wants to support you during this time. 


This weekly podcast is going to give you the encouragement and intentional focus that you need to stay engaged and intentional with this relationship and mentor your girl through the maze of the shifting sands in our culture.


At Girltribe Nation we like to talk a lot about reverse-engineering your life to reach your dreams rather than accidentally stumbling into a life that is far from your ideal. 


Girltribe Nation has 4 Core values that we wrap our content around. We want girls to be SMART. HEALTHY. BRAVE. And HAPPY.  


Over the next few weeks we will be diving in to looking at each of our Core 4 and why they are so vital in the life of a tween girl to help her establish her identity and give her a foundation that will help her make wise decisions for her life - both now and in the future.


So for all you Mamas out there raising tween girls, Girltribe Nation has got you covered. We girls have to stick together to raise the next generation of women to be Smart. Healthy. Brave. And Happy.


It is our opportunity, our responsibility, and our privilege.  But we all need a little help...okay...some of us need a lot of help along the way….Girltribe Nation is here for you.


If you are anything like me you see those pictures pop into your Facebook feed from a few short years ago...I know you are wondering what happened to your sweet baby girl….it was just a minute ago she was twirling around in her tutus, splashing in the bathtub, and trying on your shoes. 

She loved cuddling up on your lap for a story and those big eyes just adored you. Where did she go? How did we get here so fast? You can see the little girl transforming right before your eyes into a young woman….at least you think she’s heading in that direction. It is one step forward and two steps back some days.


Those big eyes now give you big eyerolls and she wants more space and more independence. Those emotions have turned deep and wide. Has an alien kidnapped your daughter? No..., but puberty probably has.The P-train has arrived.


Changing bodies are a comin’ and with them lots of questions...


  • When will I get my first period?

  • What is a period?

  • Do I have to wear a bra?

  • What is going on with zits?

  • There is crying….we are not really sure about what...but it is real.

  • Oily hair

  • Stinky bodies.

  • Did I mention crying?  ...All the feels...and even some that don’t have names.




Some think it is an alien invasion.  It’s not such a bad analogy. Hormones have invaded her body. It is completely natural, but quite a different experience than anything she has known before. 


A sexually immature child is beginning the process of transforming into an adult capable of normal reproductive competence. This requires years of a series of complex hormonal events. Other than being a baby, her body is going to change and grow faster than any other time in her life. The P-train is a locomotive.


For many girls in the developed world, puberty is coming earlier than ever before, with studies showing that, on average, puberty is now starting for girls at around 10 years old - at least five years earlier than a century ago.


The idea that girls are reaching sexual adolescence earlier than ever before is nothing new - for years, researchers have noticed that women are getting their periods earlier and earlier 

- the average age for menstruation to start is now 13, compared to 16 or 17 at the turn of the last century. They're also starting breast development earlier, too - which is the scientific start of puberty.

A 2013 longitudinal study showed that, in the US, girls on average start growing breasts at 8.8 years of age if they're African American, and between 9.3 and 9.7 years of age if they're Asian, Hispanic, or white.

In girls, hormones target the two ovaries, which contain eggs that have been in your girl's body since she was born.  The hormones cause the ovaries to start making another hormone, called estrogen. 

Together, these hormones prepare a girl's body to start her periods and be able to become pregnant someday. Girls' bodies usually become curvier. 


Their hips get wider and their breasts develop, starting with just a little swelling under the nipples. Sometimes one breast grows more quickly than the other, but most of the time they even out. This is the time girls should start wearing bras to protect their chest muscles, especially if they are involved in sports or exercise classes.

It will help your girl immensely to talk about all this before it happens and while it happens ...not just one conversation...but lots of them. That way, she will know what to expect. It raises her confidence. It takes away some of the fear of the unknown. And most of all she knows you care. You’ve got her back. 

You survived puberty and you want to do everything in your power to help her not just survive but THRIVE in the midst of this journey.   

Raise your hand if that P-train has arrived before you were ready? 

Raise your hand if you could use a little love and encouragement as a Mama?  


Here’s the thing, it’s not just your daughter going through puberty, you are living through puberty with her, and so is everyone in your household. So let’s make this journey as fun, meaningful and helpful as possible in her formation to becoming a woman.


It is a crazy time to be a tween - those tender years between 9 and 12. The world is pushing our girls to grow up fast.


I have created a very special cheat sheet for you to go to and take a quick inventory to see if you are indeed getting ready to board the Puberty Train.


Or maybe you are already onboard!  You can find it at http://girltribenation.com/pubertytrain 


It has this awesome puberty checklist that I think you’ll love. I’ll put the link in the show notes for you to find.


You can also pop on over to our Facebook community of Girltribe Nation https://www.facebook.com/Girltribenation/ and @GirltribeNation on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/girltribenation/ to stay in the know and be a part of our community.


I would love if you could take a quick moment to subscribe to this podcast, share it with a friend, and leave a review and some comments. I would absolutely love to hear from you.


I am excited about rallying some like-minded Mamas to form a community, a tribe, to raise a generation of girls to be SMART. HEALTHY. BRAVE. And HAPPY. https://www.girltribenation.com/core-4


Thanks so much for joining us on the GirlTribe Nation Podcast. Bye for now.

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