when should i let her shave? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 9.5year old is asking how old she needs to be to start shaving her legs. I've been dreading this! What do you guys think a good age is for this?
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#2 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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I let my dd shave her underarms at 11 and her legs at 12.
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#3 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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I'd say if she has underarm hair or has started her period it would be ok. I also would be fine with it if she had very hairy legs that made her self-conscious.

If she is really curious, she will shave. I know I tried it at that age with my grandfather's razor... I shaved my arms a couple of times just to try it.

So... One way or the other, I'd discuss it with her... Does she think she needs it? Does she simply want to try? Did someone else tell her she needs to?

Whether you are saying ok to it or no, I would discuss that it's important not to share razors with anyone (it's kind of like toothbrush), that when the time comes she should use cream, etc.

Let us know what you decide.

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#4 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 06:07 PM
 
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I was teased for having very hairy limbs, so that's my bias. . .

but, I would let her do it now if she wants to. It's not expensive, immoral, unhealthy, or dangerous. She can shave if she chooses. She can quit if she chooses, no biggie.

I would buy one of the razors with the shaving gel built in - much easier to use.

If she's merely asking, kinda like, when can I get a driver's license, then you can be vague say some girls shave at 11, some at 18, some never do.

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#5 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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: This is a perfect opportunity for her to experience some autonomy with few risks. I'm one to say that its her body, and if she wants to shave, fine. You may well find she loses interest, in any case
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#6 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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In answer to her question, I would tell her that she's old enough to shave if she has hair that needs shaving off. Then let her pick out a razor, show her how, and that's that.
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#7 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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When she's hairy enough to be self conscious about it ... it's time to let her.

I needed to by 5th grade but didn't start to do it regularly until 6th grade - unless you count the time I did it when I was 5 out of curiosity. What a mess!

FWIW - I hate shaving and tend to just go hairy most of the time unless I will be showing leg. I'm too hairy to just make an "I'm OK with myself" statement... I'm more "Yes I have a hormone imbalance." I've tried waxing and other hair yanking methods and my skin doesn't respond well. A blade seems to irritate my skin badly, too. About a year ago I changed to using a Braun men's electric shaver - mine is a syncropro with the self cleaning base - and it's so much better for me. No cuts, my skin is so much better off, I can do it comfortably on the floor instead of contorting in the shower. It's a little slower than a blade but you can watch TV or talk on the phone while you do it. They're pricey at the outself but worth it, IMO. It can take a few weeks for your skin to adjust, though, and to actually feel smooth with an electric. I'm never going back to a blade. When my girls are old enough to shave I'm gonna encourage them to go electric - but that's years away. (I've had no luck with women's electric shavers... the braun men's ones really get close though!)

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#8 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 07:53 PM
 
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We made my daughter wait until this past spring, when she started her period. A big factor as well was people making fun of her calling her Sasqatch etc. I told her to hold her head high, as in character building however it hurt me deeply to do so. I worked on my husband until he relented (she is becoming more and more mature looking and he is really worried about her growing up too fast) and finally we allowed her to shave but not past the tops of her knees. This has worked well and she is content. She was already shaving her under arms at my suggestions-we didn't wait for Dad on this one whoops. I feel like we have to let go a little but we don't want to put her in any situations that require mauture decision making yet. She is 12 not 16. We may be a little harder on her than some but she really has a good head on her shoulders and I like to think that we have contributed to that.
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#9 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 09:07 PM
 
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"but, I would let her do it now if she wants to. It's not expensive, immoral, unhealthy, or dangerous. She can shave if she chooses. She can quit if she chooses, no biggie. "
I agree with this!!
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#10 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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Not to long ago our nine yo dd wanted to start shaving. She's don't it the one time so far. I say if she really wants to try it, then there really is no reason not to let her.

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#11 of 116 Old 07-07-2008, 10:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RunnerDuck View Post
When she's hairy enough to be self conscious about it ... it's time to let her.

I *completely* agree with this! My dd started wanting to shave at the age of 9, so we bought her an electric razor. She doesn't always shave, but she's free to do so when she wants.

compostmom, your post made me sad.

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#12 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 01:33 AM
 
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I started shaving my legs at like 11 1/2.

And then my underarms when I actually started getting hair under there which was at 14.
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#13 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 08:15 AM
 
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If she's old enough to be self conscious, let her.


It's funny, I can be so rigid about so many things, (as I'm sure most of you know ) but one thing I will never do to dsd is make her feel uncomfortable about hair on her body, or get what she thinks is an ugly haircut.

I remember my mom forcing haircuts she chose on me and crying about how I looked.

She's been shaving since she was 7, and she was really hairy.

What can I say? Her dad looks like a bear.

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#14 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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I agree with the pp's that say go ahead and let her.

I have dark hair, and my mom really resisted letting me shave because she believed the hair would grow in darker and coarser : She held me off until I was about 10 or 11, and then made me use a Nair product :: After about 6 months, I started using my dad's razor and when he figured that one out, he got me my own razor. I was careful and never had a problem.

I need to look into one of those gel razors!

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#15 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 10:02 AM
 
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I would probably say that I would make an offer to help my dd choose something safe to shave with when she asked, demonstrate, and then put the ball in her court. Sometimes, for my dd, just knowing she can do or have something is enough. I remember trying shaving myself because I was afraid my parents would say no. It was a painful mess. I don't want to do that with dd.
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#16 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 10:15 AM
 
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If she's old enough to be self conscious, let her.
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Originally Posted by operamommy View Post
I *completely* agree with this! My dd started wanting to shave at the age of 9, .... She doesn't always shave, but she's free to do so when she wants.

compostmom, your post made me sad.
I agree with every word of this. and yes, very sad
no my dd is not 9 yet, so maybe not every word, but i was once

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#17 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 10:25 AM
 
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I'd let her shave whenever she wants to start. They're her legs, and I'd think it should be up to her.

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#18 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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Sounds like she's old enough to shave if she wants to. I have gone through periods in my life of shaving everything and shaving nothing. I've talked a little about it with my girls and will discuss is more as they get older. I venture to guess I'm not far from having a shaving lesson with my eldest dd.

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#19 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 10:47 AM
 
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We made my daughter wait until this past spring, when she started her period. A big factor as well was people making fun of her calling her Sasqatch etc. I told her to hold her head high, as in character building however it hurt me deeply to do so. I worked on my husband until he relented (she is becoming more and more mature looking and he is really worried about her growing up too fast) and finally we allowed her to shave but not past the tops of her knees. This has worked well and she is content. She was already shaving her under arms at my suggestions-we didn't wait for Dad on this one whoops. I feel like we have to let go a little but we don't want to put her in any situations that require mauture decision making yet. She is 12 not 16. We may be a little harder on her than some but she really has a good head on her shoulders and I like to think that we have contributed to that.


My mom agreed to let me shave whenever I wanted to. I was a gymnast and in leotards a lot. I needed to shave. I can't imagine forcing your 12 year old daughter to endure name-calling and forbiding her to shave to build character.

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#20 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 11:08 AM
 
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In answer to her question, I would tell her that she's old enough to shave if she has hair that needs shaving off. Then let her pick out a razor, show her how, and that's that.
:
With my dds, there wasn't a particular age, just when it seemed to make them self concious. Each child is different, so there really is no "right age".

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#21 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the responses! I talked with dd for a little while about this and she told me that her friends are allowed to use Nair, gross! I told her that if she feels like she's ready, then I'm ok with it. Anything to keep her from using that Nair at a friend's house!
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#22 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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IMO, a child old enough to have body hair, and be concerned about its appearance, is old enough to shave.

I've had talks with my daughters about how I no longer shave and why, gently encouraging them to follow my example but empowering them to make their own choices about their bodies. I'm willing to buy the razors and shaving cream and teach her how to shave safely (though as it turns out, DD1 didn't really need help figuring it out and DD2 has no interest in shaving.)

DD1 didn't want to shave until she was around 11 or 12. I wouldn't have prevented her from shaving at a younger age if she'd wanted to. However, from what you shared in your first post, I'm not entirely sure your 9yo really wants to shave right now, or if she's simply curious about puberty and body changes. Talk to her about how she feels about her body- is she feeling self conscious about body hair in summer clothes? If so, it's time to let her shave. If she's simply curious about when she'll be old enough to "need to shave" then talk to her about body hair growing, different people having different comfort levels, etc.

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#23 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 12:11 PM
 
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My mom agreed to let me shave whenever I wanted to. I was a gymnast and in leotards a lot. I needed to shave. I can't imagine forcing your 12 year old daughter to endure name-calling and forbiding her to shave to build character.
: I don't understand the "don't grow up too fast" mentality. If she's being called names and being teased about being hairy, clearly, she's already that grown up, and needs to shave.

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#24 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 12:35 PM
 
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My mom's rule was not until I had to shave my underarms.. however, my dad's side is not very hairy and I didn't have to shave my underarms until I was nearly 17 I think and I went to a uniform school so it was kind of mean imo to make me wear a kilt with hairy legs in the summer

Eventually my mom gave in to getting my legs waxed by an esthetician before I ever shaved them so for the first few years, I never shaved! If I would have continued I might not have leg hair today apparently.. just another option to consider.

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#25 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 01:12 PM
 
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: I don't understand the "don't grow up too fast" mentality. If she's being called names and being teased about being hairy, clearly, she's already that grown up, and needs to shave.

My mother took the "don't let her grow up too fast approach". As a result i was doing sports age 12 with 34DD breasts unsupported inside my polo shirt. I cannot tell you how painful and humiliating that was. My DD will be old enough to shave when she's old enough to be worried about it.
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#26 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 01:16 PM
 
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I let my dd shave her underarms at 11 and her legs at 12.
One of my teens is a swimmer. I didn't get to "let" her...she just started shaving without telling me. It's a swimming thing. I told her it would have been polite to LMK because she was using DH's razor.

My now-12yo started right after her sister did. We had a big discussion (just us girls ) about whether it's necessary, how the hair on never-shaved legs is so much finer and downier, what a pain it is...

But she shaved anyway. I figure it's their hair, it's their business. I just wish razors weren't so freaking expensive!!!

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#27 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 01:22 PM
 
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My mother made me start shaving when I was eleven. I stopped when I was 17.
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#28 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 01:23 PM
 
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: I don't understand the "don't grow up too fast" mentality. If she's being called names and being teased about being hairy, clearly, she's already that grown up, and needs to shave.
This is where I had issues with shaving...I don't see it as part of "growing up," and certainly I don't want my kids to do what all the other sheeple do *just because*. YK?

So we did a lot of talking about things like shaving legs and underarms, and how it really can help the smells of growing bodies but it isn't for everyone...we talked about people we know who don't shave, and a lot of people we know who do. (Hey, we live in Alaska, and lots of the women we know consciously choose to NOT shave...anything).

I don't ever want my girls to feel like their bodies aren't right without modification. It's all a choice...shaving, piercing, dreads or not, etc.

I also think lots of us look on rituals like shaving legs as a sort of sexually becoming act...for instance, I often only shave when I am planning some private time with my husband.

My daughters, however, want to shave for other reasons, and I had to learn not to put my own thinking on them. They shave because growing bodies are naturally smelly, and they are very aware of that. They shave because they are very sports-oriented, and yeah...because every other girl with hair growth shaves, also. That's okay, as long as they think it through for themselves.

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#29 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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We made my daughter wait until this past spring, when she started her period. A big factor as well was people making fun of her calling her Sasqatch etc. I told her to hold her head high, as in character building however it hurt me deeply to do so. I worked on my husband until he relented (she is becoming more and more mature looking and he is really worried about her growing up too fast) and finally we allowed her to shave but not past the tops of her knees. This has worked well and she is content. She was already shaving her under arms at my suggestions-we didn't wait for Dad on this one whoops. I feel like we have to let go a little but we don't want to put her in any situations that require mauture decision making yet. She is 12 not 16. We may be a little harder on her than some but she really has a good head on her shoulders and I like to think that we have contributed to that.
My mother had issues with me "growing up too fast". For some reason, she thought that preventing me from shaving my legs, wearing a bra, wearing hose instead of knee socks, etc well past the point that the other girls had started doing so would prevent me from growing up. Guess what? Just as all kids do, I grew up anyway, because that's what kids do. They grow up.

Strangely, she had no problem with my younger sister growing up, and allowed her to do everything at the same time as me, even though she was two years younger.
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#30 of 116 Old 07-08-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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My mother forbade shaving and so I used her razor and did it anyway- I even shaved my arms when really young, like nine, because I was self-conscious and messing around. Eventually I just bought my own razors and did it anyway, but it was ridiculous for her to forbid me. You'd have thought I was doing something filthy. She also had a real problem with the idea of shaving above the knees, a strange boundary that I have never, ever understood. All this meant was that I did what I wanted and tried not to get caught, until she really couldn't stop me anyway. Then I got into the Dead and stopped shaving for a few years, at which point (late teens early twenties), she thought it was nasty that I *didn't* shave.

I've removed hair or not, and my daughter has been around plenty of women friends who shave or don't, and she didn't want to shave for a long time, and now she shaves- maybe starting around 12, and I don't see how I'd have stopped her, either. I don't monitor her in the shower, and at 13/14 these things have largely become her own business. It doesn't make her less of a fully-developed female not to shave!

Personally, as involved and relaxed a father as my dh is, I don't see even asking for his input on this kind of thing, unless a daughter is, like, 8 or something. A father forbidding a daughter from shaving her legs? Just kind of weird to me, if there's a female role model/guardian around.
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