Q: My tweenager wants to wear makeup. I get that it is a normal request, but when she puts on makeup she looks like she is ready to walk the streets or attend a Halloween party! I don’t want to crush her self-esteem, but don’t know how to help without sounding critical. Any ideas?
A: You are a wise mother to recognize that exploring makeup is a developmentally appropriate interest for your tweenage daughter. And you are an even wiser mother to understand that perceived critical comments could deflate your daughter’s self-esteem. (Not to mention damage your relationship.) I also understand you want to save your daughter the embarrassment of leaving the house looking like tweenage clown.
Sounds like you and your daughter need a Mother and Daughter Field Trip.
Calmly explain to your daughter, “I see that you are interested in makeup. Cool. If you want to stat wearing it from time to time, let’s make sure you have the good stuff. It will be so much easier to use.” Then follow through.
Many department stores have makeup counters where product knowledgeable employees are happy to provide free or low cost mini makeovers for potential customers. (There are even stores that are ALL makeup and makeup counters.) Go scout them out- alone. When you find a store or counter or product line you feel comfortable with, talk with the employee. Explain how you want to support your daughter, offer her profession makeup guidance, and avoid the Halloween clown look! Odds are you are not the first mom to seek this kind of help. Schedule a time with the employee and then treat your daughter to a Mother Daughter Field Trip.
Make sure you are clear with your daughter that you may not be able to purchase every product. The makeup employee can help you know which one is the most impacting purchase and maybe just start with that one. Of course you are not obliged to purchase anything at all, but you should at the least compensate the employee for her time.
Your daughter may choose to continue exploring makeup on her own, but then again she might decide to incorporate some of the advice from the professional. (Like less is more!) Either way it is a great opportunity for the two of you to spend some time together and one more way you can show you are supportive of your daughter and her development.