Your teen storms out of the room looking like a Goth vampire drag queen (think Taylor Momsen), heads to her bedroom and dramatically slams the door. You’re angry and frustrated about the overdone makeup on an underage girl and want to set limits, but how much is too much?
What happened to the nice kid who used to live in your daughter’s body? You and she used to talk about everything, and she used to value your opinion on fashion and beauty. These days, all she says is, ” you don’t understand”…and that she hates you.
But you do understand. Dig back in your memory, and realize that it was not so long ago that you were the one trying your mother’s patience with your makeup and beauty experimentation. Thankfully, both of you lived through it. You might even recall your mom saying, “Just wait until you have a teenage daughter…”
OK, you’re mother’s revenge is here – now what are you going to do?
First thing – remember that the teen years are a HUGE discovery phase full of experimenting with new looks and trying on new personas. What may appear freakish, slutty or downright bizarre to you is just your daughter trying on what her peers perceive as cool. Always remember that teens are a bundle of uncertainty and try to define themselves by how they look – even if you think they all look the same.
Before you give up on ever seeing eye to overly made up eye with your teenage daughter, here are some tips to help the two of you reach common ground:
- EDUCATE YOURSELF – Don’t blame your teen if she’s trying to copy trendy makeup and skimpy clothes that she sees on her favorite pop stars or on the CW. Many teens are unaware that young stars like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez have stylists and makeup artists choosing definitive looks that will be the most recognizable on stage or at press events – but are not appropriate for real life.
Pick up a few teen magazines, and show your daughter pictures of girls that you feel are dressed appropriately and are wearing their makeup in a way that you feel is acceptable. Show your teen that her world is important to you, and that you’re willing to try to understand her without crowding her or trying too hard to be cool.
- DEFINE LIMITS – Go through all the teen beauty and grooming rituals from hair color/highlights, face makeup, nail polish, glitter, waxing vs. shaving to toughies like piercing and tattoos. Know what the other kids are doing and what you consider appropriate for each age group. Don’t be afraid to let your teen know that you consider eyeliner inappropriate for a 12-year-old, but you will allow her to wear it on special occasions when she’s 14. As much as teens love to experiment, they need to know there are boundaries that cannot be crossed. Realize that your teen daughter will test your limits, that’s what kids do.
- COMPROMISE – You have to let her get away with some things. Seriously, you need to let your teen think they’re getting over. Railing against parental control is simply the way they’re hard-wired. Trust me, you’d rather let them feel smug and superior about breaking the eyeliner rule. Or, you could act like a prison warden and make her so frustrated that she sneaks out and gets a tattoo that says “Belieber Forever”.
- TEACH BY EXAMPLE – If you think that there is nothing sleazier looking than a teen wearing 100 coats of mascara and tons of black eyeliner, YOU can’t walk around looking like the missing Kardashian sister prepped for a Saturday night booty call. Enough said.
- GET PROFESSIONAL HELP – If you haven’t worn makeup since your wedding, book a mother-daughter makeover with a pro makeup artist.
DO NOT take her to a “trendy” makeup store (i.e.; MAC). These environments are notoriously trend driven, peer focused (“I’ll show you how to look like the cool kids”) and sales goal motivated ($$$).
Take some time and scout out the mall to find a more teen-friendly makeup brand. Look at the makeup artists. Do they look like they’d need a jackhammer to remove their foundation? If they do, move on to the next counter. Arm yourself with photos of looks that you feel are appropriate for your daughter, as well as a defined budget. Explain to the makeup artist that you would like for your daughter to learn makeup basics, and that you are not interested in a “trend” look. Ask the makeup artist to explain step by step the way that the makeup is applied. Explain to your daughter that she may choose a few items used in the makeover, and that you’ll supplement the rest with drugstore items. You can surprise her with other items from the “expensive” brands on special occasions.
- BUILD A BOND – Remember that you’ve been applying makeup for half your life, but it’s all brand new for your teen. Your daughter is experimenting and trying to discover what kind of woman she would like to become. Help her develop the skills she’ll need for the journey and turn her discovery of makeup into a bonding experience that the two of you can look back on with wonderful memories…and that she might repeat with her daughter some day.
Makeup is fun, exciting and a bit magical – just like your daughter’s teenage years should be for the both of you!
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