What to teach her and when
As mothers, the job falls to us to pass on those secrets that will help our daughters and granddaughters navigate the sea of beauty. Too many young women fall into unhealthy or poor beauty habits because no one taught them any better, and this certainly applies to parts of the beauty industry that put too much stress on size and appearance.
So what are the secrets that mothers should stress and when is the right time to bring them up? The answers are not simple because it will vary somewhat from woman to woman. Some girls will be ready for makeup and skin care early, while others will wait until much later in life. Either way, they will still require guidance. Here are few ideas that might make their exposure to beauty a little less stressful.
From the moment your daughter is old enough to understand the concept, stress the importance of inner beauty over outer beauty. The goal isn’t to try to keep her from experimenting with beauty products – that is going to happen at some point with almost every child. It is to teach her how to look at herself and at others through eyes of kindness. Girls who learn early on about “inner beauty” tend to carry it through their entire life, while trying to focus on it after her peers have already labeled her a “freak” is going to be a tough sale.
WHEN: Between the ages of 7 and 8. It may be earlier for some girls or as late as 10 for others. It should always be well established before the teen years or you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.
Every girl is going to experiment with fashion trends, and some of them are going to be ones you don’t like. Remember you were once young too – chances are you turned that knee length skirt up at the waist to shorten it. You probably even put a sweater over a skimpy top until you were out of the house. Then you removed it. It is naïve to think your daughter isn’t going to do the same thing. So instead of trying to prevent it, address it head on and work out a compromise that both you and your child can live with.
WHEN: No later than age 14. Maybe even as early as 12. Whenever you see that she is interested in fashion trends, it is time to step in and help.
You can forbid your daughter or granddaughter to wear makeup but realistically you have to know that she is still going to do it. Be the one to introduce her to makeup. Teach her what is age appropriate, how to apply it correctly and what works best for her lifestyle. If she knows you are open to discussion, she is far more likely to seek you out before making poor choices.
WHEN: Around 14 to 15. Younger than 13 can prove dangerous if the end result is someone who looks 5 years older than she is. Older than 16 isn’t likely to work unless she is the one holding back rather than you.
Let’s face it, young ladies love to sun worship despite the fact it isn’t healthy for their skin in the long run. To help them avoid early signs of aging or, worse yet, skin cancer, teach them how they can have their cake and eat it too. There are hundreds of sun protection products on the market today that allow a certain amount of tanning without risking skin damage. Also teach them the benefits of skin moisturizers. Once they get in the swing of it, chances are they will continue throughout their life. Don’t forget about skin cleansers either. Those who want to avoid zits and acne – in other words everyone – need to regularly clean their skin.
WHEN: No later than age 14. Starting around 12 is even better. You can often cut them off at the pass and help them avoid forming bad habits at the outset.