Hi Dr. Meg,
First off, thank you for your work. I have read many of your books, subscribed to The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids, and am a faithful reader of your blog. A couple of years ago, we even did some one-on-one phone consultations with you.
I am writing to you about my eight-year-old daughter. My sweet, smart, strong-willed eight-year-old daughter. Being her father is the greatest gift (along with my son) I have ever been given. But it also scares the bejeebus out of me on a daily basis.
I could pick your brain for hours, but this is a question about teaching modesty and trying to protect her from the greater forces of society – the forces that want her to grow up much faster than she should.
The current issue is my daughter wants two things: to get her ears pierced and to be able to wear a bikini.
I have thus far said “no” to both. My wife says I’m making a big deal about nothing. She makes the point that many of her friends have both and by saying “no” we are making something a “big deal” and “wrong” when it otherwise would have been an innocent thing in our daughter’s mind.
My point is that, first, there is no need for an eight-year-old to have her ears pierced and wear a bikini. She has plenty of time for those things. But, even more important, I believe it is critical for us to start now on the idea that just because she wants something and just because other kids are allowed to do something or wear something, in our house we have a certain set of standards and that’s that.
I think it’s dangerous to wait until she is 16 to set that precedent.
So how do I explain this idea to my wife? And more importantly, how do I explain it to my daughter?