Raising a girl poses daily challenges that sometimes make me glad I only have one. Often they come earlier than I am prepared. Right now we are dealing with friendship issues and struggling with the balance between asserting fashion independence and looking like a tart. As you can imagine, explaining why booty shorts are inappropriate can take some creative word-smithing in order to avoid too much sexuality conversation with a seven year old. I have always (for better or worse) handled things with my kids with candor and honesty. It occurred to me the other day that this may prove problematic when she starts asking about her body and sex. If I get her too used to honesty, she might be suspicious when all of a sudden I hedge and stutter and stammer. So now that she is starting to notice the differences between her body and mine or hers and her brothers’ I am delving into the next realm of parenting books that deal with talking to your kids about these things. I have no model, as my mom talked to me about this kind of thing only when I badgered her into it. I would like to be more proactive with my girl. The more informed she is, the better able she will be to get through some of it drama free.
So for now, as she questions why she can’t wear the too-small clothes or when she’ll “get” to wear a bra like me or why certain boys in her class make her “stomach feel funny” we will start with her body being special and so keeping it covered is a sign of respect to her. I hope this keeps the booty shorts at bay. Then we will talk about how yes, some boys make our hearts beat a little faster and that is wonderful, BUT if you act on it too quickly, you have nothing too look forward to later in life when your heart is more caught up to your hormones. Finally, we will talk about how growing and changing are normal, even if it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. We will handle each change as it comes, with enough information for her not to be scared and hopefully enough to keep her from scaring her mom too much too.
*This post was inspired by the book The Body Scoop for Girls, A Straight-Talk Guide to a Healthy, Beautiful You by Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Ob-Gyn. I received a copy free as a member of SVMoms group.
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