DEAR KELLY: I’m 14 and my mom won’t let me wax. She says I’m too young and have to wait until I’m 16 like my sister did. I don't think I’m too young. All my friends wax, and I feel out of place since I look different than everybody else. My sister couldn’t care less and thinks I should be able to wax. She’s even offered to help me do it behind our mom’s back since our mom never comes in our room when we are undressing.
However, there’s always the chance she would find out and I would be in major trouble, and so would my sister. I would rather do it with her approval rather than go behind her back. How can I convince my mom that I’m old enough and that there’s nothing wrong with this?
DEAR HAIRY: Let’s start with the obvious: Don’t take your sister’s advice. While I’m guessing she means well, its bad advice to go behind your mom’s back when she has specifically told you no. The possibility that she could find out should be enough to deter you from taking that risk. The consequences of you getting caught are more than just the trouble you will get in, you will also lose your mom’s trust. That can take a long time to rebuild.
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Your letter was too vague regarding where you want to wax. Lip? Legs? Armpit? Eyebrow? Bikini? Brazilian? Knowing where you want to wax can make a difference in how you approach your mom. Some waxing seems more appropriate for a 14-year-old than others. For example, if you have a uni-brow and you don’t know how to shape your eyebrows to look natural, you have a good point to bring up to your mom about getting an eyebrow wax so you can have a starting point in how to do your own eyebrows from here. A bikini or Brazilian wax on the other hand seem like something a more mature teenager/young adult should be allowed to do. Age 14 seems too young for that waxing that area. If you need to groom in your bikini area, shaving seems to be a more appropriate solution.
Another thing to consider is how dark your hair is. Maybe she has other options besides waxing that worked for your sister or for herself if she had the same problem. Have you looked into hair removal cream? The down side to that is that it can irritate your skin and can get costly depending on how often you do it. Share these concerns with your mom. Tell her how you feel or how it bothers or embarrasses you, not to change her mind but so she understands where you are coming from and why you feel so strongly.
If your mom does agree to let you wax, you want to be careful you are not on any acne medications. Certain medications can cause your skin to be thinner and the wax can burn you much more easily. If you are on any medications, be sure and consult with your family doctor before you go the first time.
Your mom has set an age she feels is appropriate. Let go of this battle. There are a lot of other battles you may wish to fight as you get older. This one seems to have other solutions that work. There is no reason to look out of place with your friends. A razor should do the trick; you just have to stay on top of it. It is probably the easiest, cheapest and least painful solution.
There is nothing wrong with you wanting to wax. As parents, we expect you to want to do things we don’t agree with. That’s normal. But if you go against your mother’s rules and challenge her by doing it behind her back, the situation turns from you being a normal teenager to you presenting yourself as sneaky and defiant. It’s a big price to pay for an issue that has other solutions or options.
Start saving your money now so when you do hit 16 years old, you can show your mom that you are mature enough to have saved your own money and can pay for your waxing. Respect your mom’s rules now so that when you do turn 16, she is open and ready to let you wax.
Kelly Richardson, a Folsom therapist, works with adolescents.