Published On: Tue, Apr 1st, 2014

Dealing With Your Pre-Teen’s Interest In Make-up

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

Dealing With Your Preteens Interest In MakeupMy daughter is nearly nine and it has begun. At Christmas she received a box of nail polish. Every colour of the rainbow must be in that box. She is having a ball with it, every couple of days changing the colour of her toes and fingernails, then proudly displaying them to everyone in the house that would take note and comment.

When I watch her apply it I am cringing on the inside. Is this good, bad, ugly? Is it the fact that I am seeing my once baby girl looking a little older or is it something else? After giving this much thought I decided it’s not because I don’t want her to look older, but that I want her to first develop an understanding that she is beautiful just as she is, BEFORE she paints her body.

How will I know she has reached this understanding? For me it’s simple, by the language she uses. It’s how she talks about herself to others, but most importantly, what she tells herself. For my daughter her language tells me she is content in her own skin and has a good dose of self confidence. I think I can stop cringing now, and take comfort in that fact that it’s just nail polish. It also seems a little removed from face make-up and I have already decided in my head at what age would be appropriate for her to move to the next stage. She cannot sway me, and no matter how many times I hear “It’s not fair”! My response will always be “Come back at fifteen and we can revisit this conversation”.

A common question seems to be at what age should kids be allowed to start wearing make-up? My daughter at nearly nine is enjoying her nail polish and that sits ok with my sensibilities. For you however it may not. Our thoughts on make-up can vary greatly. However when you do decide to allow your daughter to dip into the make-up world, I can think of three important tips that you may find helpful.

Start Simple
When your preteen starts to show an interest, this doesn’t mean they are asking you to allow them to paint their face! Except marriage and children, every generation seems to be doing things earlier and earlier. The danger here with make-up is if you introduce too much too early, it leaves little room for experimentation at a later date. Moving make-up too far forward can encourage you to give yourself a free pass to moving other things forward and leave your child searching for that new interest too early. It’s like letting them start the race before the gun has gone off. You are doing them no favours!

Many preteens are simply happy for the odd play with nail polish or being able to choose a sparkly lip gloss. Parents that do not allow make-up on any level can expect their daughter to hide this new found interest. This is where girls can start to stash make-up in their bags and apply when out of mum and dad’s sights.

Have Make-Up Rules
It can be most helpful if you think of an age you’re happy with for your child to start dabbling in makeup BEFORE your child confronts you. At times we can feel pressured by our kids to give in, but if we have thought something through beforehand, it makes it easier to say no or to explain ourselves. Also have a think about what rules you would have surrounding the use of make-up if allowing it. Remember that different aged children will have different rules, but with any new found territory, rules help to guide kids and provide a them with a sense of security that what they are doing is “okay”.

Role Models
Take care that you are not encouraging or driving their new found interest. When out shopping avoid drawing your daughter into the make-up shopping experience. “Do you like this colour, what about this one”? Parents can see the sharing of make-up talk as a bonding exercise. There are plenty of other topics you would have in common to chat about. Leave the make-up bonding chit chat till a much later date.

Look for great role models that you think your child could associate with such as teenage celebrities that present a more natural look. This is a great strategy, because as girls get older they are starting to pay more attention to those outside the home and even more so in the limelight.

To conclude, it helps if we understand that for most girls an interest in make-up is a normal part of growing up and not something we need to jump up and down about. We simply need to be ready with clear guidelines that will help our daughters to continue to grow into confident beautiful make-up wearing women.

For my daughter Bella who at nine is starting to spread her wings.
Love Mummy  Sorry, sorry, I mean Mum  x 🙂

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright Mummy Weekly 2014
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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