My DD is now 20, very capable and beautiful (the looks come from DH's side where the women are Gorgeous, Statuesque, Amazon-like Nordic-Viking Goddesses, whereas, my genetics are troll-like, so...go figure!), tall, smart, and a very critical thinker. She is a very mature girl, and a loyal friend to others.
When DD was in 3rd grade I began to chart her mood swings on the calendar, and you might want to try it too. And I saw that it all intensified every 28 or 29 days, like clockwork, although I don't think she got her first period till she was like 14 or so.
(I wore a bra in 3rd grade, got ogled by older guys...really had some close calls with their lustful advances toward me at a young age. I got my period at 11 or so. It felt like I was a timebomb getting ready to go off...I never knew if some guy would try to corner me...and that did happen once when I was in 7th grade with a Marilyn Monroe figure...no lie- I am kinda chubby and less curvaceous at nearly 45 than I was at 13 of course...I WAS a knockout! My solution was a foul mouth...the guy was so utterly surprised to hear that stuff come spewing out of me at him, that I was able to get away pretty much unscathed. So as a woman with womanly body at a VERY young age, I had to get real smart, real fast. I SURELY don't recommend foul-mouthed talk for anyone else, but boy it sure did stop that guy from raping me..and that WAS his intent. He was ewwwwww!)
My DD's first crying jag moodiness was triggered by a tragic accident that killed a couple of local girls. She just barely knew one of the girls, through that girl's younger sister who was a bit younger than DD, but with whom she was friends. It was truly a tragedy.
The teacher was an uncompassionate b*tch, who thought DD was just trying to "belong" with all the other girls who were crying. Truth is, that DD truly could not stop crying, because it was a certain time in her emerging cycle.
(She loved the older girls and had alot of exposure since the local school is small enough to house K-12 all in one building. Somewhat later when DD was about 13 or so, DH and I taught a pagan spiritual philosophy class in town for teens, in which DD chose to participate and was thrilled by the fact that the older girls and boys too, really took her under their wings and embraced her, hung out with her, protected her. The girls invited her to have tea parties, play dress up and stuff like that too; it was a precious time for her and them. Can't tell you how much I look back with amazement and appreciation on those older girls who gave my DD so much.)
It was very good for DD to have those older girls...who also exposed her to thinking about sex and so on too, truly a gift because at an earlier age, we had those conversations in a context relevent to her. She set her own boundaries about how she values her body, self, and her virginity. And she watched the older girls set about to their paths regarding sex, as well as watching her own peers. She has learned alot. She has also avoided a great deal of the unnecessary and destructive pit falls...STD's, skewed sense of self, skewed ideas about love based on what boys say it is to get laid...etc. She is a smart cookie.
And when the right man comes along, who really does love and value her the way she values herself, she will share herself on all levels in love and trust- JOYFULLY. She has come close on a couple occasions so far, but the guys who are her age always reveal that they just want to get laid, as if it is an entitlement. They reveal their lack of inner development and she rejects it.
She feels that a real man will come along as she walks her path, who thinks along the lines of love and respect...she will take nothing less. And I really admire her for that. She wants to marry, and have children, and that desire comes from a very deep place within her heart and mind.
Her best friend is currently pregnant, unwed, the father is a total jerk and a cokehead...though in all fairness, he is changing pretty quickly as the baby grows and the pregnancy progresses. DD sees how bad and how good pregnancy can be.
She is such an observer....and appreciates having watched the realities that she has been witness to.
(interesting aside: I had a dream that I was holding the aforementioned baby, that it is a boy...and very, very cute. Friend's mom was really hoping it is a girl....sonagram says: BOY! I keep wondering WHY this baby came to me in a dream- y'know, one of those very clear, very real dreams...no clue here and that is another topic altogether.)
I think that as a mother I am most grateful for resisting the natural tendency to pass on all that I had to overcome to be able to raise a thinking, self-valuing, self-loving woman who is healthy, and truly ready for sex when the right partner emerges. This was a very hard-fought awareness and conscious choice. I had been incested at 16, by my own father, which caused alot of harm. I also had to just appreciate and learn a lesson from the ways my own mother demonstrated her own issues based also on sexual abuse in her family, relating to sex, relating to self-respect and self-esteem.
I support my DD's choice as to her virginity and I think she will have a wonderfully rich sex life with a worthy partner of choice. By the way religion plays no role in her choice.
I know that her own mothering skills will be good for her own daughter, should she have that joy, also....as well as for sons should she be blessed in that way.
The key to understanding how things are progressing into pubescence is awareness and observation. Charting things on the calendar when a particularly difficult swing occurs can help you see if a pattern/cycle is emerging. I found that actually very comforting, when I saw it. I felt like, "ah-HA!", rather than confused and grasping to understand. I called her attention to it when I saw the time was right. It opened up so much good and loving talk between us and we have been able to keep that line of communication open all these years.
In conclusion, let me add that my DH is a fabulous human, man, husband and father. DD really evaluates guys...and I think many women have too...against the gold standard of her father. In this case, her father has positively demonstrated all that she values in a man. (He is a man most local kids know and totally respect. He is a teacher in the regional alternative high school. Last weekend I was sitting with DD and her friends, when DD said she loves her dad...young local guy said, "Hell, *I* love your dad!!!!!) Not all girls have that kind of relationship with their dads. It is just another reason why I love and respect him so much after 25 years.
I only wrote so much because it is hard from where many are right now with their DD's, to see that it is not so scary, that it'll be ok, and how the ways we deal with things will effect the reality of who our DD's become as women. First, let me say, the discomfort and rolling eyes, and so on is hard, but will pass eventually, especially if communication is open, firm, loving, is kept mutually respectful by you since you have the gift of maturity to help ground the whole experience. Your buttons will be pushed...sometimes all at the same time. You CAN choose to step back and see it for what it is rather than just react...it gets easier with practice. Choose your battles wisely. I have bitten my tongue till I thought I might bleed to death at times.
Help DD's understand that you are human and your feelings count and can be hurt, that you need to be able to show feelings when things go wrong, but that you are there for them...NO MATTER WHAT and will stand by them of course, even if you do lose it initially.
I am no expert...but just thought at least the view from "down the road a bit" was perhaps of value to some of you. You have my support.
Bless all our Daughters!...Joyce in the mts.
CD Labor/Postpartum (MSTM), Doula trainer (BAI), Midwifery Student/Apprentice, CPS Tech