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Teens test parents' limit with wild styles

By Al Varela

Dear Al: My daughter is in middle school and is feeling peer pressure to pierce her tongue, dye her hair and wear freakish makeup to conform to a "clickish" look. I just want her to be her beautiful self. What do I do?

One's youth is a time for discovering who you are and sometimes peer pressure can have a negative impact on the choices young people make.

Some people are perfectly happy to have an alternative appearance, but I think it is important for you and your daughter to have a frank and open discussion about one's appearance and the effect it can have on her life.

You need to make it clear to your daughter that you don't approve of such a radical appearance. At the same time it is important that you listen to your daughter and find out what is prompting her to consider what some people might consider to be inappropriate.

I know from my nieces and nephews that the middle school years are difficult ones as they try to discover who they are on the inside and on the outside. It is a time when peer pressure is at its strongest and hormones are just beginning to kick in.

Many people who opt for a radical appearance eventually tire of it and return to a more "normal" look.

By the time kids reach those middle school years they should already to familiar with good daily hair and skin care rituals. Remind your daughter that trading in a time-proven formula of proper grooming for such a perilous whim can have long-lasting negative effects. You both need to trust that the foundation you have laid down will overpower these fleeting fads.

Instead, trying some glitter eyeliner, dark lipstick or a powder cream foundation can be a way that you can allow her to have "her look" without being too bizarre.

In the hair department, maybe it's time for her to try a new hair cut - maybe going from long to short, straight to curly, perhaps cutting some bangs, or getting creative with some of those darling hair accessories available today.

The bottom line is that your daughter is struggling to create her identity. With your guidance and support she may soon find that she has an array of options available.

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