Below are some tips inspired by my book Girl in the Know: Your Inside-and-Out Guide to Growing Up (Kids Can Press) about how you can help your daughter make her way through puberty as smoothly as possible and inspire her to become her best, inside and out.
Although it may sometimes seem like your daughter hasn't a clue you're a real person (not just "Mom"), your daughter is modeling her image of what makes a woman mainly after you. Your attitudes and behaviors are a powerful influence on your daughter's, so look to reinforce the positive and avoid the negative.
• Do you have a healthy body image and attitude toward food and exercise?
• Are you critical of your own and/or other people's appearance?
• Are you able to maintain a work-life balance? Do you make time for yourself?
• Are you engaged with the world around you?
Lost in translation
Communication is one of the biggest challenges in parent-teenager relationships. Often, teenagers simply want to be heard rather than have the issue at hand solved for them, so try to listen to what your daughter is saying, ask her questions and acknowledge her thoughts and opinions without passing judgment.
Satellite of love
Arrange for your daughter to spend time with other female relatives or close family friends or mentors. This will help her build a strong extended support system.
Ready? Set? Relax.
Help your daughter learn to manage stress, and mind your own, too. Encourage her to find a creative outlet, give yoga or meditation a try or get in the routine of an after-dinner walk together.
Smell the roses
Teach your daughter to take pleasure in the small things in life, and emphasize the importance of family and friends. But show, don't tell — actions speak much louder than words.
Into the great wide open
Encourage your daughter to pursue varied interests, to be open to new experiences and to tune in to what's going on in the world and in your community. Be sure to take your own advice — set the example.
If you've already had "The Talk" about the birds and the bees, you're one step ahead. If not, it's probably time you did. But The Talk shouldn't be the end of it. I encourage mothers and daughters to make the discussion about sex and puberty an ongoing one, so â€¨keep talking.
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From Girl in the Know: Your Inside-and-Out Guide to Growing Up by Anne Katz, R.N., Ph.D.
Reprinted by permission of Kids Can Press Ltd., Toronto. Copyright © 2010