Coming of Age – Stepping Into Womanhood

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“My 12 year-old daughter started obsessing about her hair and her cloths,” said one of my coaching clients. “I’ve never seen her like this before, and I’m really concerned…”

– “How were you when you were 12?” I asked

She immediately delved into describing her giggles with her girlfriend, her first crush on a boy, her growing focus on her looks and hair-style.

I warmly encouraged her to share THIS with her 12 years old daughter.

Instead of being detached from her girl, and cocooned in her own worries, we explored sharing her adolescence with her daughter as an authentic bridge between them.

Our daughters, fully dependent on us at infancy, grow up to become fully independent women. This is not a leap that can be made without a middle ground! This is a bridge that needs to be consciously built. Moreover, you both need to walk across it…

How do we create a bridge between our girls’ Dependence and Independence?

Lets look at the journey across this bridge. You may assume this is a journey taken solely by children… Wrong!

We, as mothers and parents, must take a journey ourselves, from being unconditional care-givers, to becoming peers, while our daughters step into womanhood, our boys into manhood.

We learned to back off as our girl learned to eat by herself, tie her shoes, bathe on her own. The journey from hands-on to hands-off continues throughout our children’s adolescence.

As our girl steadily matures, we need to search, and find, a middle ground between her full reliance on us, and her full sovereignty.

The first step on the bridge from dependence to independence is for parents to become transparent with their children. Specifically: for mothers to become transparent with their daughters regarding their own adolescence.

When Ellah was preparing for her Third-grade class play, I asked her how she felt about the approaching performance. She shrug her shoulders and said: “Good…” I realized I was asking her to do something I wasn’t doing myself: sharing.

I then remembered my nervousness and excitement before my own class play, when I was about her age. I started sharing my memories with her, recalling the play, my character in it, the long rehearsals, my rapid heart-beats… Without hesitation Ellah interrupted me and started to talk freely about the butterflies in her stomach!

We Mamas need to grow transparent with our girls.

We have been there, in pre-adolescence and adolescent-land. We felt anxious, we started caring about our looks, we tracked our bodily changes with an array of emotions. How was that for you?

If you tune into your memories from the time you were your-daughter’s-age, you can’t go wrong. Instead of an internal pontification about whether a piece of information is age-appropriate or not, you will be authentic… And even more so, it will be real, honest, and transparent.

Our girls love hearing our stories!

By sharing them we “drop rank” and become vulnerable, which is the key to intimacy. And isn’t this what you would like more of with your daughter, as she steps into womanhood???

© 2011 DeAnna L’am, All Rights Reserved

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