|My oldest and youngest during this past Holiday break!|
|A picture taken just a few years ago...they change so fast!|
I'm going to digress a bit for this post - instead of lovely images of life in France....I'm instead going to speak about a debate that is presenting fueling in my household - I'm sure it's not an uncommon one - but as a mother of girls - it's inevitable - It's all about teenage make up! Yes, as a proud parent of an almost twelve year old (her birthday is in 4 days!), we have constant conversations about make up - can she wear it? Where? When and how much? Now, she is my oldest and of course the first recipient of the strictest parental rules...As she affectionately said to her younger sisters, you know, that you will be able to wear make up before me, as mama & papa will be use to it by then. She gave the example of having to wear an apron at the dinner table as her napkin until she was seven, where as her younger sisters didn't have the same rule. Yes, she is right, we do mellow with age. But, my first born is growing up - now it's make up, soon it will be boys etc...I feel like we are entering a new zone here.
|Taken a few years ago, again they change so quickly!|
As a parent, I find it a constant challenge to reflect on my childhood and think about when I started doing things and also trying to fit our views into this new generation. I know I never wore a lot of make up - I do remember experimenting with some in early high school around 9th grade. (Actually, I remember more, my father telling me at the breakfast table that I had too much blue eye shadow on and I needed to take it off before school!) I also know I adopted make-up gradually - starting with lip gloss, blush, eye liner, eye shadow - my friends also used mascara early on...but it was gradual. I also remember the fond or not so fond memories of trying mascara myself. At the time, I didn't understand exactly why girls needed it. I have beautiful long dark eye lashes that never needed mascara - when I would experiment at a friends house, I would end up looking like a clown. It took me a long time to understand that my eye lashes were great naturally and not everyone had ones like mine. My daughters have also inherited my long dark lashes, which I have begun to tell them, it's a good thing!
So back to the household debate. Before having kids, I would have said, start wearing make up in high school. After all, I worked for 18 years in a high school and even the youngest students in 9th grade wore some make up. But what's appropriate in middle school? It is 6th grade, 7th grade or 8th grade when they should be allowed to don on some make up? Is it too early? What's appropriate?
I knew even in 5th grade when we were living in the States some girls were beginning to wear a bit of lip gloss and even some had eye liner on. Now, my personal opinion is that's a bit early. Lucky for us, when we arrived in France, and my daughter started 5th grade here, that was never a conversation - girls in 5th grade just didn't wear anything. (Sigh of relief here!).
Fast forward to this year, the big entrance into Middle School (or College as it's called in France). Things change here, my little girl was no long a little girl, she was allowed more responsibilities and allowed to go off with friends alone walking, she has even ridden her bike to the bread store to get bread for us. It's all about teaching responsibility. She was given her first cell phone this Fall. So the first week of school, she comes home with "I want to wear make up, everyone does in College!". Well, we did translate the "everyone" down to a lot of girls wear it, mostly in 7th and 8th. However, some 6th graders are beginning to experiment with mascara and eye liner. So what is the right age?
|The new cell phone!!|
I'm a believer in educating and discussing. I try not to jump right in my answer before looking around a bit. I also believe that for teens, make up can be a gradual thing...start slow, little by little. Is a little light lip gloss so wrong now? I believe if you totally forbid it without any discussion, girls may just go into the bathrooms before school and put on "forbidden" make up. I certainly remember seeing some of my friends do that in high school. Girls that came from extremely conservative families. I don't want to go that route. But I also don't think a fully made up face at age 12 & 13 is also appropriate. There has to be some middle ground here.
|Yes, she has perfected the art of rip-sticking and texting at the same time!|
Now the debate in our household is the obvious one, young almost 12 year old wants to wear some make up, I'm biding my time until I get more information and her father says "No way", she is too young, end of discussion. It's fair to say we both don't want her to look cheap. I've try to tell her make up is to enhance her look - naturally not put a face on. We due let her experiment a little at home, when she's staying home - I think it's our way of compromising a bit and also monitoring how much she uses.
When I say, I'm biding my time, I'm actually doing research, as I look around at her friends, I check to see who is wearing make up and how much. So far the results are extremely varied - some friends do, some don't. I've also seen some girls who are already 12 & 13 wear make up and they look pretty natural and not over done. I have also seen the opposite with too much eye pencil and mascara. Raccoon eyes or smokey eyes do not look good on young teenagers! The results also seem pretty similar culturally - I have seen photos of friend's teenage children in the States, and looked around here in France - I don't think it matters where one lives it's still a discussion.
So, I would love any comments and advice on when "teenagers" should start wearing make up and how much? Do you have a teenage daughter? Does she where make up? How old was she when she started? Did she start gradually or discuss and let here decide? They grow up so fast!
|Take over holiday break - Youngest and Oldest!|