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Dear Amy,

I'm a concerned dad. I don't want to be a dictator, but at the same time I don't want to sit by and let the environment program my daughter. My daughter is five and her mom is introducing her to makeup and nail polish. I think it's too early. I think somewhere in the teens is more appropriate to introduce her to it, if at all. I want to reinforce her natural beauty, rather that some man-made image.


Concerned Dad


Dear Concerned Dad,

You said something so astute in your note, which is that girls are more likely to do what they see rather than what they are told. Your daughter's mother is perhaps having a greater impact on her by these examples than by any other message. It wasn't until later in life that I realized how lucky I was to have a mother who relied only on her natural beauty. Even though I wanted make-up to be a part of our lives, it wasn't -- and I think that had a lot to do with how I live my life now.

Have you tried speaking with your daughter's mother about the potential impact of her caring so much about her looks? You might want to start there - and again, I think that you need to be sensitive to what you chose to single out. It's definitely hard since the number one goal for most kids is to be like other kids--it's hard to be the bold kid who will take a different path. Often times you have to let them learn through experience. Certainly you can't tell her what she should like or shouldn't, but you can ensure that she has a great range to choose from.

I hope that helps,



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