Dear Reader—While it may be uncomfortable for some to read an article about such a personal and sensitive issue, I can assure you that it is equally challenging for me to write about it. Because we receive more questions about this issue than any other parenting challenge, we recognize the need to address this topic. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you.
When I least expected it, I turned around and found my little girl had grown into a blossoming young woman. It seemed that her body had changed overnight! I admit I was filled with fear. I wanted to maintain her innocence, but I knew I had to tell her something. What should I tell her? What if I forget something? Was she ready for this? Was I ready for this?
Lady Day: The Event
After much prayer, Harold and I agreed that we should present only information about her and save the stuff about boys for a later date. We both felt it was important to affirm her transition from girl to woman and to give her God’s perspective of what our culture often labels “the curse.” We wanted to celebrate this transition time as we taught her about the changes in her body and the incredible way God made her. We began to plan a “Lady Day,” a day that she and I could do things together that grown up women do—such as shopping and having lunch together. We would have fun and strengthen our relationship while I shared important information with her. But what information was I going to share?
Lady Day: The Book
With God’s help and inspiration, I wrote Lady Day: Letters to a Daughter About Becoming a Woman. I never envisioned it to be anything more than a collection of information for our four daughters, but the many requests from friends encouraged us to make it available to other Christian families. My goal was to create a tool from a godly perspective that would help me teach our daughter about becoming a woman while building a deeper relationship with her, opening a ongoing discussion for the years ahead. I felt it was important to have everything in writing so she could refer back to it at any time after our Lady Day.
While this relational tool was designed as a mother/daughter event, the tone of the letters and the blank signature space allows the book to be used by mothers or fathers. It’s not designed to be given to a daughter without discussion or interaction, nor is it an exhaustive source of information on the topic.
A compilation of “Dear Daughter” letters about various topics regarding puberty, this 32-page book begins by affirming a daughter’s femininity and continues with encouraging modesty. There is a section on her changing body and caring for her skin. The final section presents information about menstruation. The book concludes with printed letters of blessing from mom and dad as well as a blank page for you to record a personalized message to your daughter.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There is no discussion about physical differences between girls and boys or about marital relations. (Those issues are addressed in The Gift of Purity, another product exclusive to Daughters 4 God which will be featured in the March newsletter.)
A Sample Lady Day
The Lady Day celebrations for each of our daughters have been unique, but the following description is a compilation of what worked best for our family. Several weeks before the event, I told our daughter that I had planned a special day together—just the two of us. On our chosen Saturday, we dressed in our casual best. As we drove away, I gave her a copy of Lady Day and asked her to read the first letter while we drove to our first destination-- the parking lot of our church, away from any traffic. I asked her to read the next letter and fill in the opposite page. We talked and prayed about her aspirations and her future.
At the next stop (a discount store or mall), we read the sections about changes, modesty, and skin care. Then we went shopping for undergarments and a purse. You could also schedule a skin care appointment at a department store or with a beauty consultant. I chose to discuss skin care before our day together, so we just reviewed what she already knew. We returned to the car and filled in the section about our purchase.
For our last session, we drove to a discount retailer. In a remote section of the parking lot, I asked her to read the section about menstruation and allowed her to ask as many questions as she wanted. We went inside the store and together we chose several different sanitary supplies for her to have available. We returned to the car and headed to a restaurant for a late lunch.
During our leisurely lunch, I asked her to read the letters that her dad and I had written. I presented my dear daughter with a devotional book and a charm for her charm bracelet (a.k.a. “Memory Keeper”) as remembrances of our special day together. Sterling silver charms and Memory Keepers are available at . It was a day neither of us will forget.
When is it time?
One of the most frequent questions I receive is, “How do I know when my daughter is ready for Lady Day?” Physical development and questions about sexuality are good indications that your daughter may be ready for Lady Day. My husband and I made the decision primarily based on our daughter’s physical development. We wanted to make sure that she had all the information she needed and was prepared before her big day arrived. In our family, age 10 or 11 was a perfect time to tell our daughters about their changing body.
While you may see some signs of physical development, you may have more time than you think. The average age of menarche (the first menstruation) in the US is 12.54 years. African-American girls have a lower average age than white girls; heavier girls have a lower average than lean girls. I have learned from our pediatrician, research, and my own experiences that girls begin to menstruate about two years after the appearance of both breast buds and underarm hair.
Don’t let fear guide you. Fear is not from God. Trust in God; He is faithful. He gave you your sweet daughter and He will give you everything you need to raise her, including the wisdom to choose the perfect timing for your daughter’s Lady Day. Every mom I’ve spoken with has told me that they knew in their heart when the right time had come to talk to their daughter. I’m sure it will be the same for you, too.
Your Daughter’s Lady Day
Let your Lady Day reflect you and your daughter. I know of a mother and daughter who had their special day and a picnic on the Skyline Drive and another who took her daughter horseback riding, and still another who took her daughter for tea. The possibilities are endless!
Of course you’ll want to stay within the family budget, but you may also want to consider a few other things. Knowing that I had three more daughters to follow, I planned activities and special gifts for the oldest daughter that I could easily repeat for the other three. (For example, each received a book but not the same book. Each went out to eat, but at a different restaurant.) As parents, we love to give good gifts to our children and bless them. When we have time together it’s easy to want to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do—tea, manicures, shopping, etc. I tried to hold back and plan some special activities she would enjoy, but to keep others for a future time together. Remember, the most important thing is not what you do but that you affirm your daughter and build a strong foundation for a lasting relationship as you celebrate her transition to womanhood.
If you’ve used Lady Day with your daughter, I’d love to hear your story. It will be an inspiration to moms who are planning a special day for their daughters.
Some excerpts taken from Lady Day, by Joy Moore, Copyright 2006
Statistics quoted from American Association of Pediatrics.