How Young is Too Young?

By: Danielle Eldredge Email
By: Danielle Eldredge Email

Tallahassee, Fl--2/2/12

Beauty in a bottle. Sex appeal in a tube. Confidence in a container.
Pick your potion ladies, here's your liquid courage.

"We are more focused on physical beauty than most parts of the world," said psychologist Cheri Rainey.

And it seems it's starting at an earlier age than ever before.
"I would say as young as 10 or 11 coming in to have waxing services done and hair color services done," said salon receptionist Jennifer Mckenzie.

"I had a big spa day a couple of weeks ago, the moms brought their girls and they were like 4 and 5 and they got little pedicures and they got little manicures and they got little half treatments you know," said salon owner Mary Fannin.

Beauty professionals aren't the only ones noticing the increase in pre-pubescent pampering.

"People dye their hair and wear double piercing and things like that," said middle-school student Mckenzie Yoakam.

"I've seen it change from last year to this year and I've seen them try to like look more mature then how really old they are," said middle-school student Tatum Coker.

But when it comes to beauty in a bottle...how young is too young?...
Tracy Lynn weighed in on the topic on our facebook page-- "14 and younger is too young for makeup."

Heather May says, "16 with moderation and only on occasion...kids need to be kids..."

It seems the push to have girls grow up faster is everywhere. Just take a look at this lingerie line by french designer Jours Apres Lunes. It's specifically geared toward girls ages 4 through 12.

"I think it can be dangerous. As young women are developing, especially in america, but in other countries too, they are not looking within for their own wisdom," said Rainey.

Psychologists say this "sex sells" approach to tweens can be a serious problem. They explain that girls need to develop and appreciate their inner strength before they turn to outward validation. They should hold off on the magic potions until they realize the true magic lies within.

"You won't have to be dying your hair, but if you want to, you'll be doing it just for fun. And if you want to dye it pink, you'll also do that. But you won't dye it pink because you're trying to fit in. You won't do a nose ring because it makes a statement to the world. you'll do it because you love the nose ring," said Rainey.

She says it all starts at home.When you're spending time together, promote positive role models. Point out successful women who are admired for what they do-- not what they look like. Help her explore her talents and interests. Discovering passions builds a sense of self. And most importantly...lead the way. Practice what you preach.

"In order to teach that, and consistently encourage that, you also want to do it for yourself," said Rainey.


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