My tone yesterday was combative. Fight the culture. Resist the portrayals of beauty. But I left out a huge part of how women are made. They love to be beautiful. And while true beauty comes from within, knowing how to care for and enjoy the beautiful traits God has given you is necessary. Teaching our daughters to nurture their beauty is one of the jobs of a mom. So if we can’t begin by following the advice of all-too-present media and marketers, where do we go? And what if, like me, you are woefully inept at taking care of your own beauty?
Time for some resources. I recommend reading these books with your daughter(s), engaging them in conversations and then helping them apply the things they are ready and excited to try. Don’t make your 8-year-old use acne control products or deodorant unless she is really developing early and needs them. But if she loves nail polish, give her the tools and knowledge to take care of her nails well.
Start with the topics that interest your girl (nails, braids, etc.). Establish a routine. To make reading together extra special, make a quick treat you don’t normally have and sit in a cozy spot where no one can interrupt. At my house, mommy/daughter reading time happens when dad and sister are at soccer. We get root beer and cheese puffs ( an unhealthy adoration we both share but I rarely buy). Sometimes eating the cheese puffs makes us giggle when we read the sections about healthy eating but we eat extra produce at dinner that day and giggle more.
My favorite so far in the beauty department is by one of my favorite tween authors, Nancy Rue. The Beauty Book and is a nonfiction companion to one favorite fiction series for 9-year-old girls, the Lily series. The Beauty Book is not about puberty. It’s about our own beauty and how to take care of it. It covers everything from God’s perspective and gives practical advice about how to care for hair, nails, hands, feet, and skin. It was a motivator for my Bird to wash her hair with less grumbling and to try to stop her nail biting habit ( I gave up nagging on her long ago, realizing she would have to choose when to stop).
Another fun book is Ann Akers Johnson’s Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles. So this is an old fashioned book of braids. It doesn’t have modren hairstyles, just classic braids. But my girls were anxious to learn how to braid in different styles and this mom only knew how to french braid. This book helped.
And here is the book that is next on our list to read: American Girl’s Spa Fun. American Girl has numerous titles that could be highlighted in this post. I’ve never been disappointed with an American Girl book, but I haven’t read most of their beauty-related books so I can’t recommend them here. Spa Fun has recipes for facial, hair treatment and lip gloss. Things to keep and things to give away. I think it will create great mother/daughter moments.
Sometimes I struggle with how much to talk to my 9-year-old about beauty. Would it be better to ignore the issue? I don’t know the best answer but I do believe that I want to talk with her about beauty before marketers or peers beat me to it.