I let my 12-year-old daughter get blue hair today. More of a turquoise really.
And my 13-year-old went with purple.
When they first brought up the notion of coloring their hair several months ago, I tabled the idea with a, “We’ll see.”
They were both pleasantly surprised that I didn’t immediately say no way, so they kept casually bringing it up here and there.
I tried to think of a good reason not to do it.
There are no school rules against it. It doesn’t require any additional maintenance. They were supplementing the cost of it out of their birthday/Christmas money.
Yet, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it, mainly because there is no way my parents would have allowed it. My conservative father blew his gasket when I double pierced my ear in 11th grade, so blue hair would never be an option.
I also loved their hair the way it was. It was long and healthy and beautiful.
Sometimes we really have to ask ourselves why we are saying no to a request from our kids.
When I thought about it, there were only two reasons not to do it. It meant I had to relinquish control over their appearance, and it is something I would never have done at their age.
Both seemed like pretty selfish and silly reasons.
So, I finally made the appointment, and we told our hip colorist that we wanted the tips done, and my daughters walked out with a lot of blue and purple hair.
But they couldn’t be happier.
But even more interesting, was every woman in the place stopped to tell me that I was a good mom for letting them do this.
It seemed odd to me, until one older mom remarked, “Young people have so little say over their lives, and when we give them a bit, we lend some balance to the relationship. Trust me, you are smart to let them do this.”
That stopped me in my tracks.
So, on the drive home when the girls were profusely thanking me, I told them this: “Remember that you thought I was going to say no, we discussed it, and then we came to a solution together. Before you ever go off and do something stupid, remember we can always talk about it first—even if you think I’ll say no. Give me the same chance I gave you.”
They nodded their heads and flipped their hair, and it warmed my heart to see them so happy because of such a small thing, knowing that we will probably have to tackle something bigger tomorrow.
Learning how to pick our battles in the tween years can set us up for more peaceful teen years.
Everyone who has raised a teenager talks about learning how to pick and choose your battles, but I’ve always struggled with figuring out which ones to pick. What seems important today can seem silly tomorrow when something bigger comes along.
There is a constant tug of war between parents who want to keep their babies safe and teenagers who are desperate to fly free.
What I’m learning is any time that I’m just trying to prove to my teens who is in charge, we end up in the weeds. In order to raise a productive, respectful adult, you have to treat your big kid respectfully.
That means being flexible to understand their different perspective–no matter how ridiculous it sounds to you.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have rules and boundaries and guidelines that are non-negotiable. I still give consequences when they do something wrong. And I still sometimes lose my mind when I see my daughter’s disaster of a room even though I keep telling myself that it’s not a battle worth fighting right now.
But it also means that we have to let our kids grow up a little and start making decisions for themselves, with some guidance of course. That means instead of constantly saying, “I know what’s best for you”, instead we have to start asking our kids, “What do you think is best for you.”
That is HARD.
Sometimes the growing-up phase from childhood to teen happens fast and you can feel like you have whiplash. It’s tempting to want to throw on the emergency brake just to catch your breath.
But as long as your child is making sound, thoughtful decisions and not engaging in risk-taking behavior, sometimes you have to start following their lead.
Did I mention that this is hard?
I always have to ask myself: “What kind of relationship do I want to have with my teen and will this battle get me there?”
I’m finding that when I am open and honest with my young teens about my concerns about something and don’t let my fear get the best of me, we have some of our most productive discussions. Teens appreciate when you are forthright and tell the truth, and sometimes, if you are lucky, they return the favor by being honest with you.
I don’t think I’m a good mom because I let my girls turn their hair a different color—but I do think I got parenting right today by listening to my kids and giving them some consideration on something that was important to them.
Today I said yes because I feel certain there will be a lot of nos in the future.
And as the saying goes, hair today, gone tomorrow.
Raising Teens and Tweens is hard, but maybe we can make it a little bit easier with these other popular posts parents found helpful that also discuss how to pick your battles.
How to Meet Our Teens Where They’re At
Don’t Worry, You’re Late-Blooming Teenager Will Be Just Fine
How To Have A More Peaceful Relationship With Your Teen; Guaranteed
Give Yourself Grace Mama, You’re Doing The Best That You Can
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