Home > Teens > Teen Behavior and Discipline > Teenage Behaviors > Preteen and Tween Behavior > Preteen Wants to Dress Like Britney Spears
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Preteen Wants to Dress Like Britney Spears

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My 12-year-old daughter wants to shave her legs, wear makeup, and dress provocatively. I don't like that she's in such a hurry to look and behave older than she is. I've restricted what she wears, but she complains that she's the only sixth-grader who's still treated like a baby. She's been very moody lately and I'm not sure how to help. What can I do to keep my daughter from dressing like Britney Spears?

A: Your 12-year-old daughter's attempts to look older by shaving her legs and wearing make-up and provacative clothing is prompted by her not wanting to be looked upon as a "little girl." Also, our mass-media culture gives girls her age the idea that they should look, dress, and act like sexy women if they want to be considered cool and popular.

Unless her legs are so hairy that they cause understandable embarrassment to her, I certainly don't think that shaving should be encouraged. It's also inappropriate for a 12-year-old girl to be wearing make-up or clothing that mimics an entertainer like Ms. Spears. Trying to control your daughter in these realms is a delicate and difficult task because she is convinced that she must do these things in order to be thought of as desirable. No doubt her hormones are also kicking in and this accentuates -- and causes -- many of her extreme mood swings.

Letting her know that you understand why she feels pulled toward looking and behaving older is very important. Even though she will loudly disagree with you and call you unfair, she will understand why you're imposing limits and that you do know what's driving her to behave this way. Every adolescent tries to guilt her parents into granting her requests by invoking the "but everyone in my grade does this" plea. I guarantee you that the majority of sixth-grade girls are not wearing make-up and sexy attire to school or shaving their legs. Ask a few moms of girls your daughter's age how they're handling these problems. You'll also benefit from reading Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach, by Kirshenbaum and Foster.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.