Sitting together on the couch in our living room, my thirteen year old daughter turned to me and with that puppy dog look in her eyes, began “.” And then paused. I knew that she was trying to conjure up a magical way to ask me about something she knew I wouldn’t be too happy about. “Yes…..” I responded.

“Well, remember when I tried to lighten my hair and create natural highlights with the lemon juice and it didn’t work?” Yes, I did remember helping her whisk up a mixture of lemon juice and some other baking ingredients apparently designed to create blonde highlights. “Well, now some of my friends have found this amazing new product that washes out in a few weeks. You know that Jenna’s mother wouldn’t let her use anything that was bad for her and she’s allowed. Can I use it too?”

Sadly for my daughter, my position hadn’t changed. I repeated the same old tired explanation about how I didn’t want her wrecking her beautiful hair, how there would come a day when she wished she didn’t have to colour the grey and how I wasn’t comfortable with the chemicals in the dye being absorbed through her skin.

Still, being the persistent child she is, she continued. “Mom, YOLO!” “Yo what?” I
asked. “YOLO. You Only Live Once, mom. You’ve got to live each day as if it was your last and not sweat the small stuff. You always say that I should wait to experience these kinds of things until I am older, but what happens if I don’t live until the age you want me to wait until? How would you feel then?”
Woah! That hit me like a ton of bricks. What if she really didn’t? I didn’t even want to go there in my head, but how guilty would I feel then for making my beautiful child wait for simple things that would bring her joy? How would I feel for denying her wish? Then I snapped out of it. Whether intentional or not, her approach was undeniably manipulative. And I told her so.

“Chloe,” I said “I give you credit for finding creative ways to get me to do what you want so badly to do, but your tactic is manipulation at its best. Of course I might want to rethink my position when you put it that way. However, I also have to live by what I believe in today, so I’m sorry to disappoint you but my decision is still NO NO!”

She didn’t say much after that. I think she realized that if I wasn’t going to change my mind after hearing the YOLO argument, this was a battle she was going to have to give up – for a few months, at least.