I remember when I started secondary school, most of my year group had large untrendy backpacks, clean faces and skirts down to the knee.
As I went up the years, like my peers, I noticed the year 7s each September would arrive with shorter skirts, more caked on foundation, and whatever the latest ‘it’ bag was.
There’s no denying that kids are getting ‘cooler’ younger, and having experiences previously reserved for adults in their adolescence.
It’s discomforting in some ways, and it can be hard to know where to draw the line. But also, if they’re happy, does it matter?
Mums have been debating the subject on none other than Mumsnet, and one parent asked ‘Am I being mean?’ after recounting a conversation with her 12-year-old daughter in which she asked for acrylic nails for her birthday, and her mother said no.
It’s got people talking. One women replied: ‘Absolutely not. Nor would I allow false eyelashes, flesh coloured leggings that go up your ar*e crack, bra tops as outerwear and sliders with fur’. The cost is also a factor here.
‘I’ve said no to my 13-year-old having acrylics because I think she’s too young. She tried for a while saying “but so and so has them” but now she’s accepted she’ll get them when she’s older,’ another chimed in.
‘Yes to painted nails but heck no to fake acrylic nails,’ another added.
Most of the replies felt this was ‘too young’ an age for the beauty treatment, as with makeup and fake tan.
‘Let them be young girls,’ one mum decided. But the issue is, young girls are increasingly seeing others with these ‘adult’ practices, which is normalising and making them more commonplace. No kid wants to be the odd one out.
School proms are a prime example of when all that aesthetic fanfare is more acceptable – and at a huge cost, as a study last year by hotukdeals found that on average, parents £533 on clothing, makeup and hair.
Some parents don’t take as much of an issue though, and accept it’s part and parcel of growing up and wanting to try things.
‘My 12-year-old is allowed, we have agreed to 3x a year – at the start of each of the longer school holidays, and I limit the length,’ one mum wrote.
It comes down to personal ethics. Another survey found over half of British fathers think children shouldn’t wear makeup until they are 16. But arguably, most British fathers don’t know what it’s like to wear makeup anyway, so should they get to police it?
It’s a hard one to judge.
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