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  • Autumn Quiles, LCSW

Girls Becoming Women


There is a face that we Mothers paint on our girl children (we don't paint our boys the same way). We start the painting early and, if we do Well, their face looks like our face. They learn to look the way we look, step the way we step and, hopefully, they will be Prepared to handle What Comes Next.


But, somewhere around middle school, our girl children begin to realize their faces are painted. Their clothes are a costume. Their lives are not theirs. And slowly, beautifully, they begin to explore what They Want. What They Think. What the Truth Is, according to them.


This process... this self-exploration... is scary. For Moms, and for girls. Moms are worried that their girls have "gone too far" and Girls are worried that they will "go too far". Individuation... finding our own voice... is a scary process.


The thing that can remain... strong and binding...deeply comforting during this entire period, is a relationship between the girl and her Mom. Moms cannot change a child's direction, but they can follow along, in-tow, ever-ready to see the next and newest surprise that their daughter will show them. Maintaining this connection is what quells some of the deeper fears.


The other thing that a Mother (and Father) can do as their daughter adopts a new face is to have faith. This is not some strange alien, come to roost in your home. This is the same child who has lived in your safe space for many years. You have shaped her values. You have shaped her Meaning. It is most likely that she will take the teaching that you have given her, and make it more beautiful than you thought it could be. But, you will have to wait for this moment and if you wait patiently, with hope and confidence, you will most likely be rewarded.


Any faltering of faith sends little seeds of doubt and fear into this process; seeds of doubt and fear that will have to be rooted out, before your daughter can bloom.


If you have a girl child who has started this process... a daughter who is trying on New Faces and deciding which one is Hers, you are in a tough position. If you are afraid that perhaps your relationship is not strong enough, or maybe your faith is wavering, I can help with that. This caterpillar-turned-butterfly story is not new to me and though I cannot expedite the process, I can certainly help you see it for what It Is and learn to love It more.

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