Our daughter is almost 3 and she loves make-up. I only wear make-up occasionally and if I do, it’s either pink, light blue, dark blue or green eyeliner and I just put a thin line on my eyelid. Zara loves it! She loves watching me do it and trying it out. I fully support it. I also fully support her trying on pads when I have my period, I fully support her trying on nail polish and I fully support her putting the blade in the food processor and I fully support her learning to use a sharp knife.
So a few thoughts:
- kids learn by doing and by imitating
- kids don’t feel like kids, they feel like people and want to be treated as such, just because they are little doesn’t mean that they can’t do things or shouldn’t try things (with or without our attention and support of course!)
- if we tell our kids to be careful all the time, they will learn that they are not trustworthy and that they can’t manage things on their own
- if we can teach our kids about things, like how to put the blade in the food processor, we give them autonomy and responsibility and they will develop their own sense of how exceptionally capable and trustworthy they are
- baby gates, locks on doors and cupboards are demeaning for children. why not teach them not to touch the household cleaners, why not teach them how to open a door and then explain that they can really only go out with a parent (age-dependent of course)
- kids can sense when they are being controlled and if we can let go, our relationship will them will flourish and open
Some of this I’ve learned from being a mom, some of it I’ve learned from some fantastic parenting books such as:
- The Continuum Concept
- Adventures in Gentle Discipline
- Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
- Unconditional Parenting
- The Natural Child and anything on the Natural Child Project website
- How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
I think that I will write a post about each of these books and the most amazing important lessons I’ve learned from them as a way to share. I am so grateful to those authors!
So yes, sometimes Zara wears make-up, sometimes she wears blue, pink and green all at once, and sometimes she puts it vertically across her eyes, but it’s what she wants to do. There is no right way to wear make up! I’ve showed her how I do it and now she’s experimenting with it. At some point, she’ll stop or maybe she won’t and it’s just an expression of her coming through. I’ve told her make-up, jewellery and clothes are a way to decorate her body, that her body is perfect as it is, but if she wants to decorate it, there are a few ways to do that that can be quite fun. I wouldn’t be comfortable with her wearing make-up if she felt like she had to in order to be beautiful but because I know it’s from a clear and open and fun place, then I’m cool with it. Other people notice, some say things, some don’t and I’ve realized that I don’t need to protect her from their responses, whatever they are, because she can totally handle herself. She’s learning that whatever other people say, it isn’t about her, it’s about them and that if they don’t think she should wear make-up, that it’s their opinion. I’ll always be there to support her and guide her of course, but I’m also trying to give her credit because she really can handle herself. For example, one time she was at the hairdresser’s and the lady said “oh, can you count to 10?” And Zara looked at her and just didn’t say anything. So then the lady said, “okay, so 1 is first, then what,” and she kept, in my mind, badgering Zara to count, and Zara just looked and looked at her and didn’t say a thing. I only let it go on a for a few seconds before I said, “Zara, you don’t need to count if you don’t want to,” and then I smiled at the hair dresser. It was only later that I realized that Zara had already told her in her own way that she didn’t want to count, that she is not a circus performer. Then I said to myself, okay, so I just need to support Zara, teach her about things from a neutral place and then she’ll take care of the rest. So ya, if we go to the hairdresser’s again while Zara is wearing make-up, I’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Let’s let our kids try things, let’s let them learn about the world by doing, let’s let them figure it out, they already know we know how to do things, let’s let them go for it and teach us at the same time.