When Parents Give In To Peer Pressure

Filed under: Opinions


How far will you go to help your child fit in? Image: sxc.hu

There are some things my husband and I disagree about when it comes to our 8-year-old. These are mostly little things like whether iced tea is bad for her and how important it is to rinse her hair after swimming. Fortunately, we seem to agree on the bigger stuff. No PG movies, no celeb magazines and no makeup.

But not all parents are on the same page when it comes to that last one. A reader at Cafe Mom is at odds with her husband over letting their 12-year-old daughter wear dark eyeliner. Dad says no way while Mom is on the fence, feeling a bit of pressure from her daughter's peers:

But Kbspearl is in a tough position because she lives in Los Angeles where she says, "girls are too sophisticated for their age and it seems the norm to let your daughter wear makeup."

She asked the advice of other Cafe Mom readers and their opinions are mixed. Some are vehemently opposed to any makeup at all for a girl that young while others think a little lip gloss and light blush is perfectly acceptable. But what surprises me most about the comments is that almost nobody addresses what seems to me to be the real issue here: Peer pressure.

If mom is considering going against her husband's wishes because "all the other girls are doing it," what kind of message does that send to her daughter? When all the other girls are having sex and piercing their tongues, what will she do then?

As one commenter pointed out, letting your children know early and often that there will be times when they may feel different and out of step with their friends can prevent a lot of conflict down the road. It may not be the easiest route to take, but if mom and dad can't stand up to peer pressure, how can they expect their kids to?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.