Alyson Schafer, Parenting Expert
• Mother of two daughters • Family Counsellor • Author
Venus has partnered with parenting expert Alyson Schafer to help moms guide their daughters through navigating beauty norms and skin confidence. Adolescence is a time of tremendous change and challenges for our daughters. The onset of puberty creates many changes to a girl’s body, including the development of leg hair, armpit hair, stretch marks and more.
This is also a time when peer relationships become increasingly important. Often, teens stop seeking support from their parents, fearing they may be too critical or out of touch with their issues, while preferring help from friends instead. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to negative influences, often stemming from peer pressure to conform to a beauty ideal, or to prevent teasing or bullying over one’s appearance.
With social media, the peer pool is not only expanded, but there is also a growing culture of sharing curated, perfect lives (with lots of filters) that inform our daughters about what it means to be beautiful and attractive—these beauty ideals are often narrow & unachievable. Girls have to find a balance between conforming to the norms of their peers in order to feel a sense of belonging, while also finding their authentic selves.
Watch Alyson’s video on how moms can help their daughters navigate these challenging times, so they are able to develop a positive relationship with their body and skin.
Tips for Mom:
When moms and daughters have close and healthy relationships, daughters are more likely to seek out their mom for support and openly discuss how they are feeling about their changing bodies. This gives moms the chance to offer advice about how to feel confident and happy in our own skin.
Moms should discuss that the definition of beauty is fluid—beauty ideals are always changing across cultures & generations. For instance, full eyebrows are on-trend now, but thinner eyebrows may be more desirable in the future. Our daughters should not feel any one standard of beauty is the "norm".
Mothers should emphasize that our appearance is only one small part of how we value ourselves and others. Our self-worth is comprised of many aspects, and we should focus on the importance of other characteristics such as being kind, honest, open-minded, independent, ambitious, etc.
Mothers are also role models to their children and unwittingly shape their daughters' attitudes through their actions & behaviours. Thus, it is important that you pay close attention to how you project your own relationship to your looks—do you have the right relationship with your body and beauty?
It is important to normalize some amount of dissatisfaction with our looks and that our physical appearance is one component of how we can be creative in expressing our individuality. However, moms should help their daughters understand that this dissatisfaction should not get in the way of their happiness or hurt their self-confidence.
Once moms have discussed beauty ideals with their daughters, and encouraged them to make independent choices governed by their own decisions (not societal or peer expectations), then your daughter is ready to make an informed decision about whether or not she wants to shave.
If the decision is "Yes!", moms should continue the conversation about how best to shave. Moms play a critical role in educating their daughters on how to shave to avoid cuts, ingrown hairs, rashes, and more.
Look for a brand that offers great products for your daughter’s first shave and is committed to inclusive representation of women. Venus offers tips on how to approach a first shave and is also committed to celebrating all skin, on all body parts, of all women.
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