My daughter Ellah, and her friend Ella (both 9), danced with abandon at the Goddess Crafts Faire this weekend. The belly dancers and musicians on stage were an inspiration: each elaborately dressed and decorated, these women were of all sizes and shapes: ample, curvy, skinny, and a stunning pregnant belly-dancer! My daughter and her friend danced so freely, so un-self-consciously that it brought tears to
my eyes...

What encouraged such freedom?

I believe the answer lies in MODELING. The women on stage were so care-free in their dance, each representing a completely different type of beauty. The media, both written and electronic, tries to impose on us, and imprint on our girls' impressionable minds, the "one and only" beauty standard: skinny, boyish, and unfeminine... As a result, girls around the world starve themselves, and develop eating disorders to achieve this ideal, so unnatural to women's bodies.
When I got up to dance at the Faire, I was moved by my instinct, as well as my mind: the music awakened a rhythm in me, and I felt compelled to move. No one else was dancing, though... I became aware that by getting up and dancing, I would be giving the girls permission to do the same! And so they did: not a moment passed and both Ellah and Ella were by my side, letting the rhythm move them.

It is YOU who can tip the balance for your girl! Leaving the role-modeling to the media will leave your girl with no choice, and show her no options. You, on the other hand, are her truly viable option!

Are you feeling beautiful regardless of your body's proximity to that of the super-models? Do you allow yourself to celebrate being a woman with movement, stretch, dance, skip, song, whatever moves you?

What does your girl see when she glimpses you looking in the mirror? What does she hear when you mention your shape, your weight, your period? Does she see behaviors you would like her to follow? Does she hear messages that encourage her to feel beautiful?

This is both "the bad" and "the good" news, all wrapped in one:
YOUR model of womanhood is what will allow your girl to feel beautiful about herself! It may be bad news for a moment, if your messages have not been so positive so far. But the good news is that change is in your hands!

Take a week to observe yourself, and jot down all the messages your girl may be receiving, verbally and non-verbally, about her body/ menstruating/ being female... Don't judge yourself, just observe.

After a week of observation, take a sheet of paper and write down all the messages you would LIKE your girl to be exposed to, regarding her body/ menstruation/ being female. Put this new list where you can see it often, and start living it out!!!

Author's Bio: 

Is your daughter approaching puberty? Is she already there?
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DeAnna L'am, speaker, coach, and consultant, is the author of Becoming Peers - Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood.
Her pioneering work has been transforming girls' and women's lives around the world for over 20 years. DeAnna specializes in training Moms, Grandmas, Step-Moms, Aunts, and any woman with a special girl in her life -- to become empowering role models for their girls' coming-of-age journey. Her mission is inspiring women and girls to love themselves!