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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

How Young Is Too Young?


                                                           How Young Is Too Young?
                                                                                
 
Today's post is a little different. I thought I would explore the age in which our children establish their beauty regimes. I would think that most of us were experimenting with makeup and such in our early teens, but what about before that? and how comfortable as a parent are you with your child's "beauty regime"?
 
Let me explain myself. Next week my 9 year old daughter is off on a residential trip to the peak district. This is a hands on trip where lots of outdoor activities are planned for the children. Yesterday was the parents meeting. So we went through the usual what clothes to bring, will they be allowed to have a midnight feast? I have to confess I was only half concentrating on that and what we were going to have for tea. So the next thing I heard was, "and please no hair straighteners". Pardon, did you just say no hair straighteners? Yes, yes they really did just say that.
 
I had a quick glance around the room to test the response of other patients. Surely everyone is as bemused at this as I am. Hair straighteners, 9 year olds you are having a laugh? surely they are.  Apparently not. Whilst there was a considerable amount of eye rolling, there were one or two mutterings of  "she won't be happy about that"
 
Now please don't get me wrong. I am not critising the school in any way over this. They are just addressing something which has obviously been an issue on previous residential trip. What I am shocked about is at young some of these girls have an established beauty regime. Ok, so I am not talking about wearing makeup to school, but this still makes me dreadfully uncomfortable. In some ways I think this is worse. It is less obvious than lipstick, but the fact these girls go to such lengths to feel they look just perfect at 9 is frankly disturbing.
 
To be honest I can't comprehend the necessity of a child using hair straighteners. I find it deeply concerning that a child would be so wrapped up in the appearance their hair at such a young age, and more so that a child would feel they need to take them on a school trip. Especially when the whole point of the school trip is to experience outdoor activities and will involve them getting absolutely filthy.
 
Clearly there are girls in my daughter's year that straighten their hair before coming to school and that saddens me. At 9, what I want for daughter is to be confident in her own skin. I want her to feel that she is able to particpate in anything she wants to without worrying about that she is having a bad hair day. I really do feel that children are not allowed to be children anymore. By encouraging them to adopt adult behaviours and attitudes we are preventing them from so many opportunities. Children's games and activities are an essential part of their development, and how children learn about interacting with others and are a huge part of how they process information. It worries me that children will become to caught up in spoiling their hair to want to take part in games.
 
Yes the day will come when of course she wants to experiment but I really hope that she will see makeup as an extra, something that is enjoyable, but by no means the be all and end all of life.
 
 
 

6 comments:

  1. I think children should be taught at a reasonable age how to properly look after their skin and how products have an effect on them and on their hair. It's natural for young girls to want to wear make up and use straighteners, I did the same when I was young teen. I had horrible short hair that was incredibly wavy and it was AWFUL! I think the problem is that they worry too much about their looks and what others think. It's a shame that media is having such an effect on the younger generation.

    Sorry for the essay, just adding my opinion to the matter :)

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I dont have a problem with kids trying things. Experimenting with makeup and your hair at home is different from it being something you have to do everyday. I just don't think it is healthy at 9 - it is still a long way from early teens, and as you say it is wrong that there is so much pressure on girls to look a certain way.

    Karen x

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  3. Wow - hair straighteners. I absolutely agree that kids shouldn't be subjected to a daily regime. Its so sad that there is so much pressure on little girls these days, it makes their teen years so much harder.

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  4. It is scary. You don't always realise just how much pressure girls are under.

    Karen x

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  5. This is so sad to read. The pressure seems to be starting sooner and sooner - that girls as young as 9 are straightening their hair is worrying. It's okay to experiment, but when these things become routine at such a young age I believe we have a problem. Like you said, hair and make-up should be an extra, something enjoyable. It shouldn't feel necessary. So many girls and women feel like their self-worth is linked to their appearance.

    But on a brighter note, it's very encouraging to see your views as a mother, on the topic. Your daughter clearly has a good foundation at home to help her become confident in herself, and hopefully that will help her deflect some of the pressures she'll experience as she gets older.

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  6. Thank you Alice, ithe pressure to be perfect does worry me x

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