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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Makeovers are everywhere, and with them , of course, the message that you just aren't good enough (or your house, or your wardrobe or...).

So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised when my 5 year old came home from Kindergarten and informed me that she needed to check her 'lip stuff' (Lip Smackers and some Hello Kitty lip gloss from Christmas) to see if she had the right colours to match her clothes.
Um, huh?
I wear makeup *maybe* once a week. I do wear lip balm every day. That's it. But apparently, during 'makeovers' at school, Rowan learned this important tip ~ you have to match your lips to your clothes (I thought that went out in the 80s?).
Nice.  It turns out, one of the other girls brought makeup to school and insisted that the girls all needed makeovers 'to look pretty enough'.  They all shared eye shadow, 'blunch' (blush, I assume) and lip stuff (in a class battling pink eye and lice) to get pretty. This was done during their play center time, they all signed up for one center and proceeded with the makeovers (supply teacher day).Oh my.

Now, I remember sneaking into my grandmother's bathroom and playing with her makeup. I remember putting on my mom's Mary Kay.  I remember sneaking a hot pink frosty lipstick (you know the shade!) to school in Grade 6.  And I think playing dressup and using makeup would be fine, in moderation, at home with a friend even at age 5.

But at school? Under the pronouncement of not being pretty enough? Of my little girl coming home *needing* to be prettier and needing to match her lips to her clothes each day? Nuh-unh.  And what really made my heart ache, was this was the first report I had of Rowan being fully included as one of the group after months of exclusion and bullying.
We had a nice long chat about how beautiful every person is, and how lovely my daughter is with her ivory skin and heart shaped face and sparkling eyes. And then we talked about the prettiest things about each of her friends, including kindness, humour and sharing. Makeup is fun, but it doesn't make anyone any more prettier than they already are, inside and out.
And we'll keep talking about it.
Because as I am learning (please forgive my naivete!), no matter how we choose to raise our children, and how much we work to allow them to be children, there will always be outside influences playing (more and more) strongly on them with the messages that they are not good enough and that they need to grow up quickly.

So we find a new balance, again.  Using *her own* lip gloss only (and for dry winter lips) in whatever color she chooses to take for the day, matching or otherwise. And ageing up just a little more with a few new responsibilities around the house and a little less Treehouse TV, a little more from the 'big kid' channels for her limited tv time.

Oddly enough, she has been choosing to watch old taped episodes of Blue's Clues this past week.

Sometimes, they aren't any more ready to grow up than we are to have them grow up


Olives and Pickles said...

oh my gosh...I love this post. I am with you, I thinks kids out there want to grow up faster than they should. We as parents want to protect our children and let them grow on their own time...I want my daughter to be a child and not worry about superficial unsense stuff...

mdicocco said...

This is a great post. My daughter is now turning 13, and I've been battling this since she was very young, like your daughter. I also rarely wear makeup and we are homeschoolers to boot. I thought it would help with keeping influences like this away from her, but she still has been in such a rush to grow up. This past year, she came up with the idea that a 13 year old is allowed to wear all sorts of makeup because she says "they all do". Of course, my answer is that she can wear lip gloss, but eye makeup is out of the question.

We do talk a lot about the pressures put on girls and how she is beautiful without makeup. Now that she's getting older, she is paying more attention to the type of images that are portrayed for young teens and fortunately is aware of how the images are photoshopped for publications.

I think the key is to never stop talking about it.

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