As parents, we need to have “The Talk” about the facts of life with our daughters, but many don’t know how to approach it or what to say. Our daughters are dealing with more than they should have to as they enter puberty, with all the media messages and images that promote the idea of sexiness everywhere.
What I have learned from working with these ‘tween-aged girls is that they are afraid to grow up and for their bodies to change into women’s bodies. The exploitation and denigration of women is out of control and we need to be able to provide our daughters with positive ideas and to present perceptions that will empower them as young women.
At an age before puberty and significant body changes, namely breast development and first periods, young girls have questions about where babies come from, how they get inside your body (sex), periods, and changing bodies. They need to have these questions answered honestly, openly and before it’s too late.
How they receive the facts of life information is crucial. It seems that once they reach puberty it is too late, as the media has successfully programmed them to dread their physiological functions, namely menstruation, to feel fat and unattractive , unless they look like models, and to believe that they must behave in a sexy way. All of this serves to endanger our daughters.
They need to be informed about the facts of life, about sexuality and the sacredness of their bodies, so that they understand the inappropriateness of being touched by ANYONE in their world until they are of an age to understand what that touching means and the responsibility it carries. They need to be told the truth so that all the tall tales they hear at school do not misinform them.
They need to be told that boys and girls are different and that a boy’s natural drives will cause them to pursue her in certain ways that may cause her to feel uncomfortable and at times will be inappropriate. They need to know what the boundaries are and how to stand upon them firmly.
They need to learn to love, respect, and embrace their bodies as they are, and to understand that there is sacredness in them. They need to find and develop their unique, strong voices and to be encouraged to use them.
Mothering daughters has been the most extremely challenging and exhilarating experience of my womanhood. Gina Cloud ‘s workshops has eased the challenges a bit, steering and guiding both mothers and daughters to a place of connectedness. As a licensed Marriage and Family therapist whose primary work is with children, adolescents and their families, I know that the mother-daughter relationship will thrive only if the mother invests in valuing and communicating with her daughter specifically throughout their teen years and beyond. Gina takes our daughters to a place of empowerment and compassion. Not an easy task. She does it by honoring and building a community of mothers and daughters leaving them emotionally stronger as they explore the stimulating roads of adolescence.–
Marguerite Lathan MA. LMFT
Gina Cloud is a tremendously gifted and sensitive facilitator of groups for teenage girls, in an age when budding femininity is at tremendous risk of being high-jacked by toxic cultural forces and influences. She creates a safe haven for their empowerment, and opens up the space for girls to find their true voices, as their bodies change and grow. As both a licensed clinical social worker and as a mother, I have found her work with my daughter to be profoundly important in the healthy development for the young women in our group. It is strikingly clear that as our girls individuate from us, they need to have guides such as Gina in their lives, allowing them to find true strength and power in their budding femininity. I wish I had someone like Gina in my life when I was growing up. At least we have her now, and she acts as an important support, sounding board and intermediary. I can’t recommend her enough–
Gina Cloud is an angel who flies with such grace, touching the hearts of young girls as they spread their wings to enter womanhood. One could not dream of a more intelligent and passionate Goddess to dance us through this joyous journey.
–Dana Gluckstein, Photographer & Mother
“There is a language most people don’t speak. They were simply just never taught. Some don’t even know it exits. The language is of the body. Our bodies speak to us every day. I was given The privilege and the gift of learning how to understand my body’s messages. Gina taught me with so much love and sensitivity and has guided me through my womanhood from such a young age till today, as a young married woman. I still call Gina with all of my questions. She listens with a full heart and shows me all my options. I started going to this workshop once a month when I was about 11 years old. Once a month on a Sunday afternoon we would get together the same group of girls for a few hours in a safe, comfortable and warm environment . We would discuss things that would be coming up in our life. Anything from food, clothing, health, make up. Gina gave me a gift most girls don’t get. I got the gift of having the comfort and confidence with a body and even socially. After about a year of going to our monthly get-togethers, we had an all women’s weekend retreat in the beautiful Pacific Palisades mountains. At the end of the retreat we invited our families to join us for the ceremony ..I was ready to become a young woman. I was so excited to start my journey. Until this day I carry everything Gina has taught me.
When I first started in the workshop I was really scared that my friends would laugh at me about my problems with boys etc… But then I realized that they had the same problems too and then I knew we could all work together in solving it. The workshop really works and today even me and my friends are doing it together. I even have more courage in talking to boys about how I felt when they hurt me. I used to always complain to the teachers, which didn’t do any thing, and the boy would sit there just trying to get me in trouble. But if a boy bothers me, I either talk to him or ignore and they just leave me alone. Thanks Gina for the workshop!– Dillan, 11 (almost 12)
I really liked this workshop alot because it really helps you when you get your period. It really helped me when I got my period. I thought it was going to be really boring but the way Gina presented the info made it really interesting. The workshop changed my out look on things. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the workshop.– Atalya, 12
This workshop has made me understand most things about what a girl needs to know.
The way Gina taught the other girls and I, was taking it slowly and usually asked people what there point of view was in the topic that we would be talking about.
She also gave us paper and we would each write a topic that we would want to talk about and know how to handle it when it happens.
I also like this workshop because you get to share your opinions with other girls and hang out with them.
This workshop has helped me understand and will remain doing that!
Thank You So Much Gina!– Sitara, Age:11
Dear sister reading this,
My experiance with this workshop was really fun, friendly, and insparational. Gina makes talking about this stuff natural, fun, and not embarrasing. And now when I hear other people talk about it in a negative way, I am not affected by what they say. Because like Gina would always say, ” The world is full of negative thoughts about body changes and things like that”. I just think that a girl should not be embarressed about her body and things like getting her period, having a boy for a friend, or growing up in general.
The information that Gina gave me in her workshop inspired me to respect myself more than I used to, and to not be put down by those negative figures in the world.
Gina is like a big sister who taught me not to be afraid of changes, respect myself more, and to be ready for the changes that girls will go through, and now my friends and I can go through these canges together all thanks to Gina and her workshop.
Cherokee Washington (a.k.a Cherry)Peace out my sista’s!!!
P.S. Gina, you ROCK!!!!!
I am Rosy DePaul and I have been to 3 of Gina Cloud’s Sacred Cycle workshops. I had never really been somewhere where everyone was so open to asking and answering questions about puberty. One of the reasons we felt so comfortable might have been that most of us had known each other since kindergarten, but it also could have been that we all knew that what was said there stayed there. Going to the Sacred Cycle really helped me look at puberty in a more “sacred” way than any movie or lecture would have. I think my friends who have also been to these workshops feel the same way. Gina made learning about this stuff most people consider “embarrassing” or “disgusting” fun; she made visuals and sometimes went a little off track to answer a random question. Lots of kids across the country have to see “the movie” or hear “the talk” in fifth or sixth grade, some of us might have had to but we all also got to learn about in a much more open and different way. At the end of our first sacred meeting she gave us a list of beautiful Sacred Cycle words and a cowry shell necklace as a token of that experience. Gina Cloud’s Sacred Cycle workshop has really changed the way I look at growing up and changing throughout my years to come as a teenager.
Love and Beauty,
Rosy DePaul, Age 12 J
Monday, February 19, 2007
Dear Gina Cloud,
Gina I just wanted to tell you how your workshop helped me. Before I went to your workshop I thought getting your period was a bad and painful thing and I was to shy to talk about it with my mom, and even if my school tried to help by talking about it I thought it was just to weird to talk about it with boys!!!!! Then when my mom told me you were going to talk to us about it with nine other girls I got really nervous. But then when I saw how nice and calm you were about it I felt fine and I really understood and it was not even awackward. I think my favorite part was when you showed us the fruit demonstration it was really cool and not even gross! And now when I think about it I was really blessed to have you talk to us about it, because my mom or dad just had their school and parents. Thank you Gina you really opened my eyes to new things and new possibilities, so thanks.-Sha Malla Tu
Well what Gina tought me was something that I know parents try to do,
but the truth is none of them are that good at it, and thats what
makes this book so important to read and make sure that you know what
is happening to your body and that your not affrid, but instead you
look forward to it. With my experiences I know that many girls have no
idea what is going on, and that there parents try to tell them but use
the wrong words, or make fools out of themselves. I think all girls
should read this book because it explains so well and everyone can
relate to what is happening to our bodies, and I think everyone will
enjoy this book.
-Santanna, age 12