Your pre-teen daughter has developed a lot of body hair and is really embarrassed by it. How do you help her cope with it?
THE MOM WHO HAS BEEN THERE AND IS DOING IT RIGHT NOW SAYS…
I come from a long line of women with ample dark hair on the face and body and, as a teen, was extremely self-conscious about my own. I was able to make light of it thanks to my mother who did the same. I tried a variety of treatments over the years but ended up shaving every day. My 13-year-old daughter is extremely self-conscious about her own body hair and her mix of very blond hair with dark eyebrows. If she approaches me, I help her find products, take her to get her eyebrows waxed, and basically keep an open discussion going about how women’s bodies are all different. The bigger of a deal I make something, the more my children fixate on it. So when it comes to body hair, we roll with it — and have pink razors in every bathroom.
–C.S., Denver, mother of a son and a daughter
THE MOM WHO HAS LIVED THROUGH IT SAYS…
I don’t have a teen girl, but I was that teen girl. I wish, more than anything in the world, that my parents had been willing to pay to remove some of it. Everyone always insinuated it was just normal teenage insecurity, but it wasn’t – I’m in my 40s now, and I can say, with authority, that my body and facial hair did not, and do not, fall in the range of normal, and it has had huge impacts on my quality of life since the age of 13. No one understood or took it seriously, and I’m still struggling to afford hair removal decades later.
My advice is to offer to pay for laser hair removal or electrolysis. If you can afford to help, just do it.
–Roberta S., mother of two, Denver
THE AUTHOR OF A BOOK ABOUT BODY HAIR SAYS…
Parents looking to help their children find a level of acceptance toward their body hair must wrangle with the fact that our society, to a large degree, does not see this as beautiful. That’s why working on self-acceptance and confidence is so crucial. This transcends hair and speaks to the psyche itself—if you can’t accept yourself in whole, try accepting yourself in parts. Is your child a great softball player? A dynamite pianist? Start with their most obvious strengths to help bolster their confidence as a whole.
Sometimes a confidence boost means a cosmetic treatment. If your child continues to wrestle with accepting themselves, this is absolutely a viable option. Accepting oneself as you are does not mean you can’t make changes. Love your children as they are. Share this feeling with them. Listen to their fears; help them understand their feelings are valid.
—Meaghan Burns, Infant/Toddler Master Teacher at Fisher Early Learning Center, University of Denver and mother of four