Q&A: T(w)eens and Leg Shaving


Brooke Norton writes, "I remember my mother giving me an electric razor with safety guards that did next to nothing."

J.W. writes, “Has anyone yet dealt with their t(w)een aged daughters wanting to shave their legs? My 13yo daughter has recently asked if she could. At what age do you allow a responsible girl to shave her legs? And how do you address the self-image issues that surrounds this topic with them? Any advice from parents who have already gone through this ‘rites of passage’ with their daughters?”

  • Jody Hadden writes, “My daughter is eleven and is already shaving/waxing. I think it depends on how fast they develop. Mine definitely needed to start. We talked and I showed her how. Shes a lot less self conscience about wearing shorts and tank tops now. She was embarrassed before and it was hurting her self esteem.”
  • Amy Meltzer writes, “I still remember the battle with my own mother around the same age. She said no, I did it anyway. I’m likely to say yes when my daughter asks, even as I continue to point out the many examples of women we know (including mama, from time to time) who either don’t shave, or rarely shave. I hope my daughter will grow up to have evolved ideas about femininity, but forcing them on her before she is ready won’t accomplish that.”
  • Tricia Love Walsh writes, “My conundrum is actually coming from the other direction… My 13 year old has not started shaving and has not mentioned an interest in it. Sometimes I wonder if I should encourage it (worrying that she may look unattractive to peers) or if I should just leave it alone since a woman really has every right to not shave. If I suggest shaving would I be shoving her into that ridiculous American sexy woman ideal?”
  • Annie Bob DeCoteau writes, “My daughter just started this summer. She just turned 12. I told her for now we just need to do below the knee. Her hair is very blond. But she has been asking since winter. I think I would have let it go if she didn’t ask. It wasn’t too too bad. Maybe you should ask her her feelings on it. If she doesn’t care then don’t push it. It’s most important how she feels about herself.”
  • Carrie St John writes, “If she asks, why not? Such a tricky age. Peers. Desires to fit in. So much more going on in her life than the right to choose and parent/adult ideas of femininity as mentioned above. Why not let her try? Is it better to impose ideas or let her figure it put? Seems simple.”
  • Brooke Norton writes, “I remember my mother giving me an electric razor with safety guards that did next to nothing.”
  • Glenda Spurling writes, “I remember when this topic came up in our home. but my daughter has two homes… one household said not until she gets her period, ours said why keep her from growing up. We let her at the age of 13. The world of girls is an unbelievable world… I recommend every parent reading: The Wonder of Girls. We want our children to stay little and young but watching them grow up and embracing it will create a better relationship for everyone. We are raising children to be healthy adults who we hope will make good choices for themselves. Let them get there, safely and reasonably, and they will want you to be there with them the whole way through.”
  • Laura Lucchesi writes, “Show them how! Or they will do it anyway! If they come to you, it’s because they really want to know more about it. Peer pressure can be a real reason, would you rather they do it with some other child?”
  • Judy Pancoast writes, “Our daughter is a dancer who began to be embarrassed by the increasingly dark hair on her legs at age 11. Rather than stick to some pre-set idea about the age at which this should happen we got her a razor and showed her how to use it. It’s not really that big a deal. At 17 she is still a sweet girl who said to me the other day, “I can’t believe I have to start looking at colleges. I feel like I’m still 14!”. So don’t make a big “rite of passage” thing about it and everything will be cool.”
  • Dana Wilde writes, “I think just keep a lighthearted open dialogue about it, encouraging her to articulate what she thinks about it and why she wants to do it. It’s also key to honestly explore and process any of your own issues/judgments ahead of time, so that you can really be present and helpful for her. I’d let her “try it out” to see whether she likes it/doesn’t like it, checking in to see if she has any misunderstandings about it as anything other than a personal style choice that you can pick up and drop whenever you feel like it. The most important thing is generally treating her in a way that reflects her value/goodness/intelligence AND having a variety of different female role models around her who have healthy relationships with their own bodies/choices/happiness/r​elationships. I don’t have a teenage girl, but I was one.”

[Photo credit: (ccl) Todd Ehlers]

One Comment on “Q&A: T(w)eens and Leg Shaving

  1. Let your children be themselves and experience what they want/need to experience. Try to notice what you are with yourself as you observe/share and care.

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