I'm sad....my daughter shaved her legs - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 06-14-2005, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok it's kind of a long story. A year ago (my dd was 10) we were at a home-school camp and a very insensitive (fostered and not home-schooled) boy said to her "why don't you shave your legs". She was very upset and since then always wore trousers or long skirts whereas before she would wear short skirts/shorts. I had since talked to her about hair on her legs being natural and she has real blonde not thick hair. It is hardly noticeable.
Anyway, 2 days ago I was cleaning the bathroom cupboard (which I have not done for ages) and found a woman's razor. I called my sis to see if her daughter had left it but no. I was told dd bought it when we were camping a month ago. What upsets me the most is she didn't talk to me bout it. Even her 6 year old sister knew she had it. I worry she feels with me like I did with my Mum. I NEVER told her anything personal. It broke me to tell her I got my period 12 months after I had!
I do find it hard to be open about personal stuff but honestly I try and talk about it even though it's really uncomfortable for me because of how I grew up. I bought some cool books on developing that she read and loved. They know about my mooncup and I don't shave etc. so I do try.
I talked to dd about the razor and she told me she'd used it twice (she is now 11 1/2). I aksed why she didn't talk to me and she said she didn't want to. I then asked if she'd tell me when her peiods start but she said maybe, maybe not. GREAT, I thought she is closed like I was, I have f****d up big time. She is my eldest girl and somehow I have let her down and ruined our relationship. I can't change what has happened and to be honest I don't know what I could have done different.
I am sad she also is shaving. She seems so young and I find her changing from girl to teen sad and so hard as though I'm having to let go. I don't think I'll ever feel ready for this
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#2 of 21 Old 06-14-2005, 09:10 AM
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My ds is only 4 1/2 and is becoming this big boy and it is killing me, I can only imagine how hard it is as they get even older. He even said he's not a little boy any more, he's a little kid. I'm not sure what the difference is, but in his mind it is HUGE because he corrects me each time.

My mom and I went round and round about me shaving my legs when I was in 8th grade. It really boiled down to literally, everyone else was doing it. Obviously that's a stupid reason to do something, but at that age, it's totally valid and makes all the sense in the world. Maybe since you don't shave (and are clearly past the teen "I care what other people think stage ) she thought you wouldn't understand or try to convince her not to do it?

Having only ever been a teen girl and not having parented one, I would try to support her. Obviously it's important to her.

Remember that you have learned from all of the things you went through with your mom. Just by being concious of the things that bothered you growing up, you will do better. I promise I had a horrible relationship growing with my mother, so much so that we don't even speak now. But I know that I won't make the same mistakes she did, because I work so hard not to
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#3 of 21 Old 06-14-2005, 09:22 AM
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When my daughter told me she wanted to shave her legs(around 10 so same age) I said exactly what you said however I did tell her that she had a choice...if she wanted to she could remove the hair and I told her all about the different methods of hair removal and I told her once she started she would have to continue...I told her to take a few days and to tell me what she decided to do. She decided to do hair removal(I had thought she might) and she wanted to shave her legs...and she used my electric razor.

I guess what I am saying is that you have to allow them to make a decision at the time they bring up the issue(if there is one to be made) because that's how you empower them...and once they make the decision you have to support it even if it's not the one you would have had her make.

So I had a 10 year old who would shave her legs if she was going out with shorts or a skirt on...but couldn't be bothered if it were winter or she was wearing jeans.

You have to be prepared for them to make a different decision than you would make as well. It's a sensitive age.

My daughter is almost 15 and still shaves her legs...she has graduated to regular razor now.

My 11 year old daughter couldn't be bothered...

Keep your ears and eyes opened and be prepared to hear things you are not ready to hear yet and keep calm...your reaction is what will keep them talking to you...don't ever judge and never try to push your own personal beliefs on them.

I am sure your daughter will tell you when she starts her period however if she is showing signs of maturing now I would bring up the conversation...maybe discuss the different choices in products she can use etc...maybe even get it ready for her so when she starts she can help herself. Don't be too upset if she doesn't tell you...it's very embarrassing for some girls unfortunately.

It sounds to me like you are a loving and caring mom and that's all that really matters in the end. I don't think you have messed up at all...it's just rough being a parent of a pre and teenage girl

Good Luck and hugs
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#4 of 21 Old 06-14-2005, 04:17 PM
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Growing up is hard to do. On moms and kids eh

My 11.5 Dd has yet to shave, but she talks about it sometimes. I imagine sometime in the next year or so she will. Like you weve told her that it's natural, but that the decision to shave is hers. (For the record I do shave) Ive just told her to come to me with any questions she might have.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#5 of 21 Old 06-14-2005, 11:11 PM
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You have not f****d up. You wish you had done things differenly. None of us are perfect.... being a mom is hard. I try to learn from the times I wish I had handled things differently. Keep those lines of communication open. I'm sure I will be facing this same thing soon as my daughter just turned nine. It's scary that they grow up so fast and scary that we educate them so they can make decisions on their own and then become scared or upset about those decisions..... Hang in there!

Kim, proud CPS mom to Marnie and my 4 legged kids, Jess, Zander, Oliver, Stumpy and Eddie.
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#6 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 10:56 AM
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I think that no matter how good of a mom you are, how great of a relationship that you have with your child, that there will still come a time when there's some level of animosity between you. It's just a normal part of growing up and them finding their independance.

My DD (will be 12 on Sunday) has been shaving her legs for a couple of years. I gave her the choice, just like a PP said, there will come times when you HAVE to let them choose for themselves what they want to do. And in the grand scheme of things, we sometimes have to let the "little things" slide.

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#7 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 09:26 PM
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There are some things/ideas that you cannot force onto your children. The hard part is accepting when they choose differently and make sure that even though you don’t agree with their decision you do not think of her any less.

Maybe she didn't tell you because she felt you would be disappointed.

Maybe she didn't tell you because she knew she could minipulate you over this.

Maybe you should just give her a hug, and some instruction. That way she doesn't see how much it gets you.
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#8 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 09:41 PM
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Right now, what your dd needs most from you is respect and understanding. She wants to be independent, and make her own choices about her body, and her own choices about who she shares things with.

You haven't totally messed up at parenting her- she simply needs a lot of privacy right now.

I plan to teach my girls about different methods of hair removal, as well as explaining the choice to remain hairy. They see my hairy legs and pits now, and they've seen my razor nicks in the past. As soon as either of them asks for more details, I'll provide them. In fact, I'll probably have the same conversation with ds when he enters puberty.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#9 of 21 Old 06-18-2005, 03:31 PM
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I agree with allgirls, mine also came to me between 10 and 11 and asked to shave her legs. She claimed that everyone else in class was doing it. I 1) didn't think that shaving because eveyone else was doing it was a good enough reason. and 2) didn't think she was old enough. So I too sat down and talked to her but I also explained that once she started doing it she would always have to do it. She just said "oh" and never spoke to me about it again, so I thought it had passed. A few months later I discovered she had been using my razor, so I promptly walked her over to the store and down the razor isle and told her to choose which ever one she wanted. I also bought her a few extra boxes of blades and that was that She was very happy, and seems to be keeping it up. She is 13.5 now.

The same went with her period. I knew last year the time was coming, so I stocked the bathroom with some different options for her, I told her they were there and that they were for her when she needed them. (I already knew she knew what they were and how they were used, as we had that talk years ago, when she asked about mine) The day it happened she marched out of the bathroom and announced "I got it" and went back to her room....lol I had to call her back and ask what!! But she was very open about it!! The only thing she made me swear was that I wouldn't tell anyone......so shhhhhhhhh lol
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#10 of 21 Old 06-22-2005, 11:06 PM
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Admit your concern to her. That will open the door up. Continue bringing the topic up -- often. Give her some time to warm up to this new idea. Share some of your own experiences to help increase her comfort level as well. Proactively address her current concerns and those you see as obvious ones just around the corner. Most of all, encourage her and love on her. You have not missed the boat, just are getting a late start.
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#11 of 21 Old 07-03-2005, 10:09 PM
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I guess I have different ideas about privacy, but I don't think that the fact that she didn't tell you she's shaving her legs means that you've done anything wrong, and I don't think it necessarily means that she doesn't trust you. I think that many many people like to have a part of their lives that is separate from their parents. I see it as part of the process of individuation that is normal and necessary, really, to function in our (and your ) non-communal, non-tribal society.

Your daughter may just need to have her own private corner of herself that is not shared with mom. In this corner, so far she had kept shaving her legs. She may, in fact, will keep other things that belong to her private self in that corner as she continues to grow. That doesn't have to mean that she doesn't trust you, and it doesn't have to mean that you've done anything wrong, or that there is some kind of rift in your relationship.

My daughter is only just about 9 (next month), but she keeps a private journal, and now goes into her room to talk on the phone with her friends. I think it's fine. My son is almost 11, and is also becoming more private in certain ways. And, FWIW, we're also homeschoolers, and a close family.

I guess I just expect that my children will want to have some privacy, and will want to grow up on their own terms in certain ways without my input, and without my making a fuss (even a positive fuss ) over things, including leg shaving, starting her period, etc.

My 0.2, offered with kindness

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#12 of 21 Old 07-04-2005, 12:26 AM
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I have told my dd (8) that when she is REALLY ready (to be decided by her) I will sugar her legs for her and teach her to do it herself.
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#13 of 21 Old 07-04-2005, 03:49 AM
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parents- child relationship both should be open with each other, make a bonding just like best of friends, both share secrets, both share sad, wonderful, happy moments, both share the difficulties in life both have strenght in facing the struggles in life, both have respect, love, and care...
this what i have experienced with my mom

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#14 of 21 Old 07-04-2005, 03:05 PM
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I think it's a delicate balance through the pre-teen/teen years of being Mom and being friend. I believe children of all ages need us to be first Mom, and then they grow into friendship at their own pace. It is such a healthy expression of identity formation for a daughter to be able to say "No. I want privacy in this matter." I think that speaks of a very healthy relationship. A relationship without boundaries is enmeshment. She is in the midst of discovering what hers are. If she is the type who is more introverted, tends to sort through things on her own before discussing it, needs time to herself to process her feelings, etc. then leaving childhood behind would certainly be no different. This is such a transitional time of life when so many things are happening on the inside and outside. It's perfectly normal for her to need to sort through it for herself first and maybe get used to the idea of growing up before sharing it with anyone, even Mom. This is much preferred to sharing things with you for your sake or because she feels she has to "or else Mom will be upset" kind of thing. Forced intimacy is not intimacy at all. I think if you give her the gift of privacy and let her own these parts of her growing self as she needs to, she will thank you and love you all the more, and most of all trust that she can share things with you for her, not for your needs. So, I say Good for you!! She feels safe enough to say "No!" Think how good that will be when she is in other potentially intimate relationships. Sounds like you have a strong healthy daughter who knows that her body is hers. What a gift you have given her.
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#15 of 21 Old 07-14-2005, 07:58 PM
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my sister and i are 6 months apart (long story, i was adopted) and she started shaving really early. i saw how long it took her to shave and said, "NO WAY". once she started, she couldnt stop. and it was like sleeping with a porcipine if she went for more than a day or two. i didnt start until i had to which was in college. genetics probably has something to do with this, but since i started so late, i didnt have to waste all that time in HS shaving and now i only have to in the summer and then only every few weeks. maybe you should talk about the commitment she is having to make at starting so young. i know im lucky in this area but for me, time out of the houes and with friends was more important than sitting in the tub shaving for an hour!
hope this helps...good luck
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#16 of 21 Old 07-15-2005, 12:19 AM
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YOur daughters desire for privacy certainly has more to do with temperament than anything you have done.
You did things exactly the opposite as your mom and got the same result.
I keep doing that too. I try so hard to help my daughter make different choices than me, and even if I do thinks so "right" things still dont always work out as planned.
I was really shocked when she didnt want to tell me about her 5th grade boyfriend.
She is really shy about talking to me about boys. And we have had as open and honest a relationship as I can imagine.
As for growing up, it is hard to let them do it.
But we dont have the right (or really the ability even ) to try and stop them.
Good luck,
(p.s. Dont you think that no matter how open your relationship, the fact that you dont shave your legs might have made her think that you wouldnt really understand why she felt so strongly she wanted to? Or that maybe you would try to talk her out of it and into making the same choices you make? Sometimes as they grow they really dont want our advice because we are too "old fashioned" or "out of touch" to really understand. I hear this all the time from my 13 year old.
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#17 of 21 Old 07-15-2005, 12:30 PM
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Laura (Openskyheart) ... i love your attitude. If only my mother would have had the same! I think things now would be different ... that we would have a much better, closer relationship. (i'm an adult now) I'm one of those who needed privacy around these issues and was not allowed to have it. And I resented that. I definitely will give my daughter all the space she needs to make her decisions on these issues, but to let her know she can ask me questions about whatever, too. And, if she asks me to keep her stuff private, I will. Poppy, your idea is fabulous, and Mamajamz, your input is valuable and wise too. Your daughters are all lucky to have you.
And shaving, to me, is definitely a personal choice. I don't think its a big deal ... i've gone through shaving and non shaving times and I expect my daughter will too.
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#18 of 21 Old 07-15-2005, 05:48 PM
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Hi! I agree with a lot that has been said but mostly what Ruthla said, the bottom line is to respect her. My daughter is 10 and has wanted to shave for a couple of years (she also has an extremely hairy back). I was like, but you're still a little girl. Her brother was giving her so much flack. Then this year she asked if she could have menstrual supplies to keep in her locker "just in case". She has asked a ton of questions and we try to help her. *sigh* yes it's hard watching them grow up. My son is 11.5 and he's growing WAY too fast. He swears he'll never be rude to me as some kids can be at the early teen years. I said, you can't help it, you need to forge your own way, seek your independance...just be nice to mom hahaha Kitty
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#19 of 21 Old 07-16-2005, 08:23 PM
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I have never shaved, but DD10 shaves her legs, armpits, and even the space between her eyebrows (she hates the unibrow, but I love it, sigh) and has since she was 7 or 8. Yes, she really had body hair that early, and started her period at 9. At first she was secretive, but now that she knows I won't freak out, she lets me know when she needs new razors, etc. She is a very private person, and I respect that, so I only intervene when I need to.

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#20 of 21 Old 07-16-2005, 08:42 PM
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What is "sugar"? Just curious.

I was made fun of in the 5th grade for having hairy legs. I'm a pretty hairy mama! And it hurt my feelings so much to have my classmates tease me. I pleaded to my mom to let me shave my legs and she said no. Finally, one day after picking me up from school in tears I told my dad. He talked to my mom and she changed her mind.

If my mom hadn't agreed to it I would have snuck behind her back because no amount of her telling me "my hair was light and little girls don't need to shave" (quoting my mom) would have taken the pain away from being teased.
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#21 of 21 Old 07-18-2005, 04:59 AM
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When I started shaving my legs I did not want my Mom to know, I still remember how it felt when she finally did find out.

I wanted to experiment with that grown up ritual I grew up watching her do, but I wasn't ready for her to view me in a more grown up way. I wanted to stay young in her eyes.

Maybe this is how your DD feels as well, I don't think you have messed up at all
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