4 Tips to Help Your Daughter Build a Healthy Relationship With Makeup
Countless parents have had this moment: You walk into your bedroom after searching for your daughter only to find her awkwardly covered in slanting lipstick and badly applied blush. After laughing and taking a picture, you help your daughter clean up and listen to her talk about how she wanted to be a “big girl” and “feel pretty” like you.
This is adorable, but it also broaches a serious point: Your daughter is going to look to you for guidance when it comes to makeup, how she should use it, how it makes her feel and why she should use it. Given the issues with self-esteem and body positivity that many young women have, this is an important conversation. Here are four tips to make sure you get it right.
Let Her Lead
Talking about makeup isn’t like having “the talk” about girls’ bodies: There’s no set time when this conversation has to happen by. According to Dr. Nancy Sherman of Bradley University and family therapist Dr. Fran Walfish, you should let your daughters lead when it comes to this conversation. They will come to you when they are ready for advice.
Just as importantly: Don’t push makeup on your children. Given your own behavior and what they watch on television and the internet, it’s very likely that they will make the decision, on their own, about when they want to wear makeup. Do not push it on your kids until they decide they want to wear it.
Make Sure You Know Why You Wear Makeup
According to Dr. Sherman, it’s very important that parents examine their own relationship with makeup for when this question comes, so ask yourself: Why do you wear makeup? Whatever the reason is, how can you best explain that to your daughter? Make sure to put those reasons in a positive light that emphasizes personal desires, not societal expectations.
Emphasize “Want to” Over “Have to”
Depending on who you are, wearing makeup can sometimes feel like a requirement rather than something you “want” to do. But when it comes to talking to your daughter, make sure you emphasize that you wear makeup because it’s something you want to do and enjoy doing. This will help ensure that she feels free to wear what she wants rather than hemmed in and required to wear something she is expected to.
Concentrate on How Makeup Makes You Feel
In this day and age, it can be complicated to try to explain why you try to make yourself look good. To that end, when you have this conversation, don’t concentrate so much on how makeup makes you look; talk more about how it makes you feel. In one such example, the author Sonya Benham discussed how wearing makeup made her feel empowered. She discussed makeup as a way of expressing herself and her creativity that allowed her to feel more like herself.
This is a great way to discuss makeup and beauty. It allows for self-expression rather than bowing down to societal expectations. Help your daughter with makeup by explaining to her that it will help her discover the person she wants to be instead of emphasizing that it’s something people expect of other women.
Generally speaking, these tips all emphasize the same thing: Allow your daughter to lead and give her the time and space to use makeup in a way that helps to build a positive image of her body and appearance, not one that makes her feel like makeup is a requirement. Doing so will help her build a positive relationship with makeup and her body, and you can make sure that she feels comfortable and secure in doing so.
Make sure to model this behavior for her. Your daughter will follow your lead.
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