When I was fifteen, my most rebellious deed was getting a perm. My mother warned me against it.
‘You’ll look like a poodle,’ she said, eyebrows raised.
I went ahead and got it done anyway. The fumes and acid solution alone should have killed me.
Mum was wrong. I didn’t look like a poodle; I looked like a lion – with a fuzzy, dried out mane. It was beyond awful. (Photo above – not an actual pic of me. Mine is more hideous.)
At the time I had long hair…a week later, a pixie cut. For the next two years, I didn’t want to leave the house. I still don’t think my dad’s recovered.
Thankfully, Mum refrained from saying ‘I told you so.’
Now, I have my own teenagers.
A few years ago, my then 14-year-old son walked into the house one afternoon sporting a huge diamond (fake) earring. I continued cooking the spaghetti bolognaise. I think it was three days before the upkeep got to him and he took it out.
A couple of weeks ago Mia, now 14, had her hair dyed purple. I think it looks amazing.
Yesterday afternoon I sat with her while she got more piercings in her ears, 2 x helix and a daith (not death!).
She already had the standard lobe x 2 and a tragus – although she is stretching one of the lobes in both ears…
I could feel the pain of the needles going through her ear cartilage. I can still feel it. Whilst we were there, Mia tried to convince me to get my ears pierced. No way!
I have no problem with colour or piercings, though on the drive home she did murmur something about a lip piercing which caused me to bite my own lips.
But really, I don’t see the issue with self expression. It’s only hair and a few piercings. It’s not like she got a full back tattoo. (I have thoughts about that form of personal expression and freedom, but hey, there’s nothing I can do when she turns 18.)
I figure she’ll eventually get bored with me saying ‘Yeah, sure. Go ahead and do it.’
At least that’s the hope.
Where do you draw the line with self expression for teenagers?