Mom versus mascara in the battle of the make-up

Mascara.  It’s a simple word, but somehow it has become the bane of my existence. Really and truly.

I’ve never had any hard-and-fast rules when it comes to make-up use and my four daughters. Usually, if something seems reasonable it is worth consideration.

I remember clearly telling my oldest, when she started high school, “you know, if you would like to wear some make-up I am ok with that”.  She gave me a non-committal shrug of the shoulders and off she went.  She can be seen once in a while wearing mascara and on occasion she takes it to the next level by throwing on some neutral lip balm.  My 14-year-old is the same. Very little interest.

Then came #3. Bless her. She loves all things glam and glitter. And she LOVES make up.

Time for mascara!

Daughter #3 is 12 years old. Without me knowing, she started to wear make-up to school (as witnessed on a social media platform…gotta love those selfies!). There is no parenting right or wrong on this one. It is a family values thing. I would like her to wait and personally felt I needed to impose a time frame so I chose grade 8.

But that is eight months away, so she decided to go deeper underground. Black smears on my white towels gave her away.

Ok, I know it’s just mascara. Is her safety at risk? No. Is this really worth making a big deal about?

My gut says: Yes. It strikes fear in me. I worry. Is this the beginning of a decade of struggle? Is this the start of questionable decision making? I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Secretly I am annoyed at my older two daughters for not doing anything to prepare me for this! Could they not have pushed the envelope on SOMETHING to give me a little skill in navigating this?

I know that I should expect this. Tweens & teens challenge their parents, want more independence and value their peer group. Well, I’ll look at this as reassuring. She is right on track.

Great. But what do I do? Do I turn a blind eye? Do I acknowledge it and allow it? Do I stick to my guns?

As I reflect on it, this isn’t about the mascara at all. It is about respect. Respect for me, the rules I put in place and our family values.

I strive to be the parent that Barbara Coloroso calls a backbone parent: our kids need flexibility and an environment that invites creative, constructive and responsible activity.

So with that in mind: deep breath in. I decided to sit down with my daughter and talk. We discussed her feelings and mine. We discussed consequences for breaking the rules. We developed a plan. At the end of the day we negotiated on clear mascara and lip gloss.

It’s hard to know what to challenge and what to let go of. Sometimes it’s the seemingly unimportant incidents that provide opportunity for great learning for a child and even more learning as a parent. This is a small issue that will ideally lead the way to more broadened privileges for her if the rules are respected.

I’ll be keeping an eye on my white towels…who knows, if this goes well we might just be heading to grade 8 in tinted lip gloss!

What do you think? Share with us, we would love to hear from you.

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Posted in Parenting, School-aged Children, Teens, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Positive parenting. Is it worth it?

I am officially the mother of a 16 year old! How on earth did that happen? How is it that I am the mother of teenage kids! I never imagined I would be that old or that I would be equipped to parent a teen! I had preconceived notions that parenting teens would be a nightmare. Actually its quite the opposite. It’s so much fun! Yes fun! I’m in awe at how my kids are turning into young adults that I am so proud of. I think to myself, how did I get here?

I started reflecting on my parenting journey just recently when I saw friends with younger children dealing with challenging behaviours. They asked me, (or should I say pleaded with me) “tell me it gets easier”? Continue reading

Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, preschoolers, School-aged Children, stress, Teens, temperament, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New to Canada? How to embrace winter!

When my parents told me we were moving to Canada, I remember being so excited to see snow for the first time. I couldn’t wait to make a snowman like the ones I had seen in the movies. You can imagine my disappointment when I looked out the plane window and didn’t see any snow anywhere. I was sad – but not for long! Three days after arriving in Canada, I woke up to see a white blanket of snow covering the ground! “Finally!” I   thought. Continue reading

Posted in outdoors, Parenting, Physical Health, play, Preschool, School-aged Children, Toddlers, winter, winter activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is true happiness? Have you found it?

Portrait of girl outdoorsBe happy. It sounds so simple, but is it really that easy? When you ask parents what they want for their kids when they grow up, many will often include the word “happy” in their descriptors. “I’d like to see my kids… healthy, happy, productive…” Whatever words you choose, often the emotion of happiness enters into play.

I notice it even more around the holidays when parents are running around trying to make their kids happy by finding that perfect gift. But what is happiness anyway? Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Mental Health, Parenting, Physical Health, preschoolers, School-aged Children, stress, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Going out with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare

Silly toddler boy upside down hanging off couchI’ve got an active little guy and for a while there, it was getting tough to go out with him. Strollers, shopping carts, high chairs and being carried doesn’t contain him for long. He just wants to GO and so he starts acting out. We stopped going to restaurants. Grocery shopping felt like a race from the show Supermarket Sweep! Visiting relatives not used to kids is stressful (“Oh, that’s a pretty vase! And how much would it cost to replace it, in theory?”)

Then we changed our tactic, because it dawned on me. My little monkey was just being himself, and while I would never want him to change, he does need to learn HOW to act in certain situations. This tip works beautifully with kids of all ages, in pretty much any situation. Continue reading

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Why we need to stop forcing our children to hug

It’s the holiday season and that means lots of visits with friends and family. This can also lead to an awkward situation: relatives (ahem, grandparents!) and others who expect automatic hugs and kisses from children — even when some kids tend to shy away from   overt displays of affection.

Continue reading

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Keep calm and carry on…planning for the holidays together

For many parents, the “most wonderful time of the year” is really not so wonderful.

In fact, it’s the time of year when we often feel overwhelmed and stressed out.  We know it and our kids sense it. We are pulled in so many different directions, often unsure where we’re headed next. The season’s extra demands seem to tax our overbooked schedule, and finding personal time seems next to impossible.  To top it off, many of us are spending faster than we can save. It can certainly be a huge challenge to balance everything during the holidays. Continue reading

Posted in Grandparents, Mental Health, Parenting, School-aged Children, stress | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments