Makeup and Maturity at 11

My daughter is 11, apparently going on 16, and in sixth grade. She (unfortunately) is physically, emotionally and intellectually maturing much earlier than I ever thought she would. We have been dealing with issues that I thought I would not encounter for many years. The latest battle is experimentation with my eye makeup. I finally decided to get her some of her own to experiment with. We talked about it, and the rule was that she could not wear makeup to school.

This morning she came down with it on and had to go back upstairs and scrub it off. Needless to say, she was not at all happy with me, nor I with her. I remember having the makeup battle with my parents, but in eighth or ninth grade. Can you help?


Makeup is not just about cosmetics, but so much more. Ten-to-15-year-olds become fixated on their appearance, as their bodies undergo huge changes. They become aware of how peers see them. Experimenting with hairdos, makeup and outfits is extremely common. It is all part of defining who they are.

Part of your concern is your daughter's early development and if that will steer her toward dating and risky behavior sooner. Actually, girls who develop first are more inclined to want to date earlier and are at risk for getting into an older crowd.

Monitor her friends carefully. Discourage her from socializing with older boys and girls. As for the makeup rules -- go with your instincts. Let her experiment at home. Realize that this is just a normal phase. Pay more attention to other areas, such as how she dresses and the friends she keeps. Train her focus on school, hobbies and sports. Try to encourage a well-rounded girl. Be positive, and do not spend too much time battling over the little things.

-- Margaret Sagarese, coauthor of The Roller-Coaster Years and Parenting 911

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