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Celebrate Your Daughter Becoming a Woman

Helping Your Daughter With Her Transition from Girlhood to Womanhood

1. Congratulate yourself on your efforts to celebrate your daughter. Even small gestures of the type suggested here will help her toward the health and self-esteem that have been a challenge for many women.

2. Assure your daughter that change, even good change, is disruptive and can be uncomfortable. All of her conflicting feelings are natural and will sort themselves out over time.

3. Help her bring meaning and respect to the changes by comparing her cycles to the cycles of the moon and the seasons – a continual process of creativity, growth and new beginnings. Without these cycles, new life would not be possible.

4. Emphasize this concept of creativity. She is experiencing the awakening of a vital force that she can express in many ways. It is this knowledge that has inspired the song, dance and celebration of many cultures in honor of "menarche," or first menstruation.

5. Prepare you daughter with information in advance, if possible. Most girls are concerned about how it will feel, what to do if it happens at school, how to deal with pads, etc. Supply this kind of information before her first period, and celebrate her new maturity when the day arrives.

6. Consider her perspective. Even with preparation, this first experience of bleeding can be startling or upsetting. Her body is changing and she knows that her life is too. Be sure to offer care and attention.

7. Plan on saving major discussions about sexuality for another time. It is overwhelming to try to address both topics at once. Now is the time for reassurance, guidance and celebration about menstruation.

8. Listen to the messages you give your daughter about menstruation. How do you refer to your own periods?

9. Talk openly about menstruation, and stress its positive aspects. This healthy attitude is necessary in order for your daughter to have the same pride in her body that she had as a pre-adolescent.

10. Spend some time gently reviewing the memories of your own menarche. Sometimes it is difficult to have a positive attitude about menstruation, and revisiting what may have been a challenging time will not only help you but will make it easier for you to give your daughter the kind of support she needs.

11. Offer yourself the same kind of acknowledgement that you wish to give your daughter. This can be very fulfilling to any woman who was never welcomed into womanhood.

12. Consider writing about your experiences and sharing them with a friend. Perhaps you and a friend could do this as a project together.

13. Share your story with your daughter. She will be reassured to know that you once felt the same excitement and apprehensions that she now feels.

14. Celebrate your own passage into new territory, as well as your daughter's. By forming these new traditions, you are helping to shape the culture, one family at a time.

15. Honor yourself, as you celebrate the cycles of life!

Excerpted from How to Celebrate Your Daughter's Coming of Age in 90 Creative & Practical Ways.

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CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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