I recently met Tom, a sales executive, and adoring father of two teenage girls. Both his girls were beautifully groomed and I could tell he had invested considerable amounts of money into their fashionable wardrobe. They looked immaculate with spray tans, manicures and foiled hair. So, with a bit of humour I asked, “How long does it take these two beauties to get ready?”
“Ready?” he answered with a laugh. “I have never once known them to be ready!”
Then, in full animation, Tom proceeded to tell me about all the times he had been waiting in the car, ferociously beeping the horn, late for very important meetings, while his daughters (who needed a lift to late night shopping and who had already spent all afternoon getting ready) sprayed their hair for the hundredth time or changed into a different outfit.
Tom described his favourite explosive moment where he got out of the car, and with all the neighbours watching, screamed towards Kayla’s bedroom window, “What on earth are you doing girl?! You are only going shopping! You look fine!! You looked fine five bloody hours ago!!!”
Although Tom joked about his girls’ grooming habits, he also understood that when they were running late, they were probably feeing their most insecure. Although he had to reinforce time restraints and deadlines, humour was his most powerful weapon to navigate through their emotions and reaffirm that they were beautiful. What a man!
A teenage girl’s endless hours of grooming are all part of this process of self-discovery, and although I can only imagine how frustrating it may be for parents, the process is essential. Beauty is based in a confidence to discover and explore what makes you look and feel your best.
Common Sense Quick Tips:
– Consider giving your young person an hour with a stylist as a Christmas or Birthday present, or have a family friend they admire (and who has great dress sense) play this role for free. Once girls find their ‘style’ it makes shopping so much easier.
– Set out a budget for them so you aren’t handing over endless amounts of cash. The shopping experience can be very expensive!
– Websites like Shop Til You Drop are a worthwhile investment and really do help young girls put their style together. You may want to have a look at the website as well so you have a better chance of talking about current fashion with them.
– Humour is a powerful way to encourage girls. “You look great. In fact you looked great five hours ago,” or “I don’t want you looking too good or I’ll have to beat back the boys” are lines I have heard parents use to lighten the mood.
– If your daughter is loathing her appearance, be understanding. Most women have been there at least once in their life time. With a lot of encouragement, support, and time things are bound to improve. Apparently the average age for a woman to feel comfortable with her body shape is 45!
THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family. If you have a topic you would like me to blog about email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond to it as soon as I can.
If you would like to book me to speak at your school or community event email email@example.com.
MOST IMPORTANTLY if your teenager needs support from a psychologist, counsellor or mentor Youth Excel would love to help. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Teenage Girls Don’t Tell their Parents is available at www.michellemitchell.org for $24.95 plus postage.