I’m feeling this so much right now… I was on the young side for my class. I was bullied relentlessly for just about everything from as young as I could remember. My clothes were wrong. My hair was wrong. I wasn’t all that smart or talented at much of anything. I didn’t have any friends. I was awkard. My family never really seemed to comprehend that my social problems were abnormal or anything to be concerned with. But as a 10-year-old in 6th grade, and a fair-skinned child with dark hair, a boy noticed and remarked on my pubic hair showing through my bathing suit at the pool that summer... Although I tried my best to shake it off (it was related to the sexual part of my body, I could NOT talk to my family about this), when I got into school that fall, kids noticed my hairy legs and didn’t have a problem teasing me about it. When I came to mom about my hairy legs garnering derision from class mates, it was no better than the lame responses she gave to my complaints about kids teasing everything else about me. Her only argument: “When you start shaving your legs, you will have to keep shaving them all the time. It’s very expensive and a huge hassle. You need to enjoy time without that hassle as long as you can. Enjoy your childhood, and stop trying to grow up so fast!”
Anyway, needless to say, while my mom did her best, overall she was kind of terrible. It was only a few months into 6th grade, during the hours I was home alone after school (I was a latchkey kid), I took matters into my own hands. I shaved both of my legs myself, and thought Mom wouldn’t notice (because she really wasn’t around all that much anyway). But I forgot to drain the bathtub that day, and the evidence of my covert depilatory activitites were discovered by my Father, in the form of a wild pattern stuck to the sides of the bathtub. “Linda, what the hell? Come look at this. Something weird is going on in the bathtub!”
I confessed my leg-hair treachery. My Mother cried, yelled, screamed. And all I can remember was screaming back that the kids were torturing me and that I had no choice.
The point of this all is that… my mother really could have used a better argument for not shaving… feminism? Money? (razors are expensive and we were pretty poor). But ultimately, her refusal to address the bullying, throughout my childhood, led to the lack of trust and respect I had for her (or her opinions and decisions), thereby giving me no guilt about shaving behind her back and hoping not to get caught. And that pattern persisted into my teen years.
Show your children unconditional love, protection, respect, and support, or risk their flippand disregard for your authority.