She’s Not Little Anymore: A mother’s mission to help her daughter navigate the transition into puberty
The call to navigating puberty
“Puberty was the most horrifying time of my life. Brigitte Nielsen“
“I was going through puberty and was much curvier than other girls, which made me insecure. Then I saw J. Lo on the cover of ‘Latina’ magazine, and she embraced those curves and was proud of who she was. Nikki Bella“
“Going through puberty as a young girl is so confusing. This monster invades your body changes things and makes things grow and no one tells you what’s going on.” Katharine Isabelle
“Adolescence in our culture for a young woman, for a girl, is a hard road.” Rodney Crowell
My daughter, Mariah, is a beautiful, awkward, shy yet spunky, little girl. She is ten years old and slowly moving into puberty. In the last year, she has had a growth spurt, developed breast buds, and that oh so wonderful musky smell. As I watch my sweetheart daughter morph into a young lady, I am challenged with the responsibility to inform and assist her in navigating puberty.
I think back about when I hit puberty and all the thoughts that ran through my mind, experiences, and feelings that molded me into the woman I am today. I mean, really think about it. How many times have you thought about who and where you are as a woman now, and all the things you wish your mother had told you back when your world changed forever? Think about how had she disclosed those things to you then you would have made much better choices in life. The candid conversation about all things adolescence is important in the shaping of our children (male and female).
What is the approach?
Where do you start? There are so many topics to discuss: body changes, menstruation, hormones, sexuality, and peer pressure. Navigating puberty can be daunting for you to bring up and terrifying for them to take in. We as mothers have to stay truthful about the good and bad of each topic. We do our children a great disservice if we aren’t. When talking to my daughter I have a go-to tactic, mommy-daughter dates.
During mommy-daughter dates, I take Mariah out to a one-on-one dinner and an activity (usually a movie). I used this tactic when her father and I divorced to help her deal with the feelings and thoughts she was having with all the changes. It is also what I will be using when I discuss puberty and adolescence in more depth with her. I had previously given her (and her little sister) a mini talk about a year or two ago about following instruction, a heads up to what is about to come (she had started to smell musky under her arms and needed deodorant), and understanding their body is their own and no one should be touching them whether family, friend, or stranger.
How do I make the talk effective?
I keep in mind while I discuss difficult topics with my daughter that she is a child. How I speak and the words I used need to be on her level of understanding. I teach her the proper terms and give examples that she can comprehend. I also teach her my own values and morals I want passed down to her as well as give her examples of differing opinions, how to handle them, and when to make up her own stance on those subjects. Remember: Everyone’s morals, values, and standards are defined by their own personal experiences. Mine is not yours. It does not mean I cannot identify, empathize or sympathize with you.
Having those hard conversations with our children is very important. They are going through so many changes physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We know had we been given the same kindness by our parents when we went through the same thing, we would have made better choices and been able to handle adolescence much easier. Stay honest, fair, and understanding while navigating your daughter through these tumultuous waters. Finally, keep the line of communication open by letting her know she can always come to you about anything, good or bad.
Keep Momming It!
Related milestone article: How to Potty Train in 10 Months or Less