DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a 5-year-old daughter, and one of the things that we love to do together is to go to the nail salon. We get matching manicure-pedicures. It is so much fun and a way for us to bond. My husband hates this. He says that it is dangerous for me to allow my daughter to have toxic products used on her hands and skin. He has gone on and on about how the beauty industry is unregulated and we should not be putting paint onto our daughter’s tender nails. He totally killed the fun of our experience, but I can’t ignore him. How can I keep up this tradition in a healthier manner? -- Beauty Queen, Washington, D.C.
DEAR BEAUTY QUEEN: Your husband is not wrong about the lack of regulation in the beauty industry. It is also true that some nail polish can be toxic. The good news is that there is non-toxic polish on the market made especially for children. Many companies make nontoxic nail polish in bright colors specifically for children. There are also nontoxic nail polish removers. Take your own remover and color to the salon so that your daughter can be safe and still enjoy this bonding moment with you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a teenage daughter who is about to go away to college. I have noticed that she wears clothing that is too revealing, in my view. She wears a lot of sheer clothing, high midriffs and low-rise pants. I know a lot of girls wear these clothes, but hers always seem extreme. Her shorts tend to be the tightest and shortest. Everything seems to be exaggerated on her. She doesn’t listen to me when I suggest that her attire isn’t appropriate for certain environments. She does have a cousin who is close to her and me. Do you think it would be OK for me to ask her cousin to talk to her? -- Scantily Clad Teen, Rochester, New York
DEAR SCANTILY CLAD TEEN: Do you know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Now is the time for you to engage the village. If your daughter refuses to listen to you, call on her cousin. You have to start by asking the cousin what she thinks about your daughter’s attire and whether she agrees with you. If she does share your opinion, ask her to share her thoughts with your daughter. It will be important for her to hear from a peer what her clothing projects to others, including potential employers or dates. If there are other teens or young adults you can get to talk to her, line them up.
Since your daughter does still live at home under your roof, you can also draw the line on what you think is too scandalous. You can tell her that certain outfits are off limits and cannot leave the house. She will get mad, but hopefully she will also get the message.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)