My soon-to-be 12 year old stared at me yesterday, eyes caked with liner and mascara, and asked me if she would be allowed to wear make up in junior high. She starts junior high in 4 months. And I should also mention that when I say "staring at me", I mean looking down on me when standing toe to toe. Was she really asking me to give her permission to do something in the future that she has already done in the past? What does this mean? That deep down she respects my opinion? Or that she has figured out a way to out-smart me by making me think she respects my opinion, when in fact, she will continue to assume my answer was YES even though it was a loud & clear NO? And what is the real harm in letting an almost 12 year old wear eye liner and mascara? I'll share my opinion (assuming I'm entitled to one). My almost 12 year old stands over 5 feet, 3 inches tall. My almost 12 years old wears a B36 bra. My almost 12 year old looks, sounds and acts years beyond her age. My almost 12 year old is growing up too fast! My reply was three-fold, trying to leave as little damage in the Taco Bell as possible. #1) "I didn't start wearing make up until I was 27". Instant fail! A head tilt, a hand on the hip, and a good ol' fashioned rolling of the eyes. Ok, moving on .... #2) "How about if I catch you wearing it again before you start junior high, you wont be allowed to wear it until next year?" My strategy of answering a question with a question while adding threat potentially causing enough fear and frusteration to leave the previous near-altercation for a new, less complicated one. Fail! Not as misearably though (either the strategy worked and the fear had been planted or because she was saying "yeah, that will happen" in her almost 12 year old mind). #3) "Your allowance does not pay enough to buy cosmetics at Sephora". Pass! Her reply, "I can get 2 eyeliners at Wal Mart for, like, a buck". So, it's settled, my almost 12 year old will be wearing light coloured eye liner and mascara to start junior high. My almost 12 year olds successful negotiations made her very happy... until approximately 3 hours later when her next request was for me to think about letting her get her lip pierced. Fearing what the reply NO morphs most children into and not having the enegy to go over the negotiation process at 10 at night, I told her we would discuss that when she's an almost 16 year old.