When do you start?
What do you do?
Whatever the age of your daughter, spend time alone with her, cultivate her special relationships with older women, keep family mealtimes, encourage her interests (even if they are not your own), point out her strengths to her, invite her questions, talk about womanly things, teach her how to take care of herself, have fun together.
Who can help?
The women in her life – her grandmother, aunts, cousins, older sister, godmother, friend’s mothers, family friends, favourite teacher. Ask yourself who she can open her heart to – and ensure that she can spend time with this person. You may want to formally ask them if they would take on the role of mentor or guide to your daughter over this time.
You cannot comfortably take your daughter where you are not yet at ease to go yourself.
This may be your greatest challenge – to find your right answers to these questions:
What does it mean to live a meaningful, fulfilling life?
What more could you do to live a meaningful and fulfilling life?
What are your morals and values?
What more could you do to live according to these morals and values?
What still needs attention in your life for you to be the mature, grown-up woman that you are?
How might you resolve any unfinished business from your childhood?
What more do you need to attend to in yourself to become a whole and happy woman?
Answering these questions well may be done in quiet contemplation, or in lively debate with friends, or in conversation with someone close, or with the help of a counsellor. However you operate best, do not skip your own preparation work, or you will seriously hinder your ability to support your daughter’s progress.
Next familiarise yourself with the information on this website, and any other resources that you have, to be clear about the importance of rites of passage for girls and think about the best way to introduce the idea to your daughter. This is easier if she grows up with an understanding and expectation for a puberty rite when her time comes.
As she approaches puberty …
Now is the time to focus on preparing your daughter for her first blood and considering some way of marking this.
Once she has begun her journey towards womanhood, you will also want to actively prepare her for her rite of passage ceremony to acknowledge this shift.
Start with where she is
Place yourself in her shoes: Where is her head at? What has most importance to her right now?
What holds meaning for her? Who is she close to? How is she feeling?
You can best ascertain what your daughter needs at this stage in her life by spending time with her, tuning into her needs, and observing her behaviour.
Do not rush her – or impede her For many mothers this is hard!
Cover the practical stuff:
Periods, sex, drugs, peer pressure, cultural influences, body image, managing stress, mood swings, education, dreams and future plans, personal heritage, values, how to manage money, creative ways of self-expression, giving back, health, fitness, good eating, self care.
Some mothers find this easy, others not. (I will write more on this.)
Share the fun stuff of being a woman
Whatever that may be for you – girly nights, have your hair done, eat out, stay in and watch a film together, host a local clothes-swap evening, go riding, pass on a favourite read, share cinnamon toast at midnight, go shopping somewhere unusual, feed the ducks, have a brew and a chat, splash out on a spa day, buy luxury chocolates, hike in the woods, have a pyjama day.
Help her to feel good about her changing body
Tell her when she looks good, compliment her clothes (even if they are not what you would select), treat her to a make-up session, go for colour-wheel analysis together, share what you know about how to dress for your body-type, have healthy food in the house, do not create a culture of dieting, run her a fragrant candlelit bath, refrain from negative comments about her physical appearance.
Encourage her to express herself
Give her a lockable diary, sketch pad, voice recorder, lump of clay.
Start to plan her rite of passage
Discuss with her about how she would like to prove herself and how best to celebrate her passage towards womanhood
This information may help:
- Ritualistic ways to acknowledge passing through certain gateways
- Why perform a rite of passage
- Key Ingredients for a Rite of Passage
- Co-creating Your Daughter’s Ritual Celebration
- Rites of Passage Around the World
Stay deeply involved and make moments to remember
Many teenagers give the impression of needing us less and wanting less parental involvement in their lives. Do not be fooled! This time, more than ever before, you are needed; find a sensitive way to walk alongside your teenager as she makes her unique journey towards womanhood. Give her space, but give her your attention too. Make moments to remember. Create special times and opportunities to prove to herself and others that she is indeed successfully making her passage to becoming her own woman.
If you would like support or further guidance in creating a rite of passage with your daughter I offer private telephone coaching sessions. For information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org