These days, girls start complaining about leg hair in elementary school. Everything is happening so early now. I remember my mom would NOT let me shave until 8th grade. She did, however, try her hardest to convince me to wear a bra in 7th grade but I swore that was totally uncool. Back then, wearing a bra meant you were trying to be sexy and thankfully sexy wasn’t yet cool for our age. Only certain girls wore bras. The rest of us wore giant sweatshirts and crossed our arms.
But shaving legs was different. My mom relied on the common belief that once you shaved your legs for the first time, you were doomed to a life of stubble; therefore, the longer you could hold off, the better. The weighing factors in my mind were: “dealing with stubble” vs. “being called gorilla”. I pick stubble!
I have often hopelessly dreamed I could be initiated into a Secret Club of Answers where it would be revealed to me at what age my child should be allowed certain privileges. At our imaginary meetings I could ask about any new territory, and a mysterious and all-knowing wise woman would reveal to me the magic number.
Alas, no such magic club exists. As moms we have to think these things through, weigh the factors, list pros and cons, and blah blah blah. It’s exhausting isn’t it? Which is why I was RELIEVED to have read the book: There’s Something New About You by the co-founders of Girlology. Want to know when these two doctors and puberty experts suggest your daughter start shaving?
When the hair on her legs start to embarrass her or make her uncomfortable.
Ta da! It’s that simple. No pros and cons list. No big deal.
If your daughter asks you about shaving, ask her why she wants to do it. If she is embarrassed, show her how to use the razor and cream. She’ll be grateful you were there to ease her discomfort and that will go a long way toward future conversations. If only all our tween parenting dilemmas could be solved so easily.
Michelle is the founder of the website Michelle in the Middle providing relief to parents as they help their kids navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Hang out with her on her site anytime and here every Sunday.
Also, Michelle offers “Group Therapy: Parents Helping Parents” a weekly feature where parents can get and give much needed advice. Read about it here.
6th grade was the magic number in my house growing up, but only shaving to the knee of course. I like the common sense approach for today’s mom. Thanks!
Thanks for your comment, Lisa! Check out http://www.girlology.com for more common sense advice.
I’ve had this blog scheduled for two weeks. Well wouldn’t ya know, had to refer to it before it went live since my 5th grader was begging to shave! So I checked it out, made sure I wasn’t royally screwing up or raising a hoochie mama and I let her do it! She is prouder than ever and is showering like no other. Prior to this life-changing event, had to nag her to shower. Now she can’t wait. I’m sure that will be short-lived. Thanks, Michelle for your insight:-)
Thanks Jen! I had forgotten with my own daughter that “no nag showers” are an added benefit!