Coming of Age Conversations and Crafts
Modern culture’s lack of coming-of-age activities can cause confusion and isolation for girls, rather than offering a sense of meaning. But there are many ways to create special events and moments, while honoring girls’ personalities and comfort zones, too! Sharing stories, information and creative projects can help girls feel a sense of pride, and a bond of tradition with older women.
Share with her some of your experience from your own adolescence. What do you remember about your family, your friends, or your school? What was significant, meaningful or embarrassing?
Help her review her life up to this point. What does she consider to be her biggest accomplishments? What were her memorable milestones? Get a very small album and let her create a scrapbook of her childhood as she remembers it. Help her write a few words about the main events and draw quick illustrations if she wants. Then she can add a picture of who she is now, as she transitions into her next stage.
Set aside a time to share wishes and hopes for the future, and feelings about change. What is good about growing up? What will she miss?
Point out that women’s cycles are all about change, but there is a rhythm to them, like the rhythms in nature. Each aspect of her month has value. Help her to anticipate that she will not feel the same all month long. This is natural, like the seasons. Her menstrual time, like winter or the darkening of the moon, is a time when her energy draws inward toward her own needs. This is a valuable time for nourishing herself and doing things that are fulfilling. Many women feel less social during this time.
(The Seven Sacred Rites of Menarche, by Kristi Meisenbach Boylan, can help you understand the emotional aspects of her cycles.)
Make small symbols of female power with your daughter, such as simple cloth dolls.
Name them and imagine what kind of lives they live. What is the doll’s community like? What are her challenges, talent and dreams? This is a creative way for girls to give voice to dreams of their own.
Make bracelets together. These can be very simple if strung onto elastic or coiled wire. Hers could have a bead for each year, with a red bead for this year if she has had her first period. Yours could reflect the seasons of your life, as you remember them.
Make collages together. Each of you draw a big circle on your paper, to start with. In the top half of the circle, put more social, busy things that you do, and in the bottom half, put the balance, the things that nourish you: how you care for yourself, how you catch up when you feel overwhelmed. This will show her how to use her cycle as a model for staying healthy. Each month has a more active (focused outward) phase, and a more nourishing (focused inward) phase.