The list of seven deadly sins doesn’t include the wearing of earrings. However, when Leah Sanchez was 15, her strict father forbade her to have her ears pierced.

“My father thought it was almost a sin,” the Tulare resident recalls. “He didn’t want me doing anything to my body.”

Sanchez saw things differently.

“I wanted to wear earrings,” she says. “I was a teen and thought I should be allowed to wear them.”

So one day, Sanchez’s godmother took her to have her ears pierced.

“My dad got mad at me and my nina (godmother),” she says. “(But) after a while, he didn’t think it was a big deal.”

Parents have questioned the attire and hair choices of their offspring since the first Neanderthal teen decided a discarded dinosaur bone would look cool in her hair.

Maybe, as Sanchez’s father discovered, it’s not a big deal. It’s a teen thing, according to an article at the Web site “A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years” covers changes parents are likely to face.

“If teenagers want to dye their hair, paint their fingernails black or wear funky clothes, it may be worth thinking twice before you object,” the article states. “Teens want to shock their parents, and it’s a lot better to let them do something temporary and harmless; leave the objections to things that really matter, like tobacco, drugs and alcohol.”

This all sounds very enlightened and civilized until your kid wants to do these things. Recently, our daughter Natalie told us she wanted to have the ends of her brown hair dyed red.

My reaction: “I’m not paying for it.”

It’s an Aguirre thing. The women in my family – going back at least three generations – are sticklers for healthy, nice-looking hair, not two-tone tresses. I didn’t think it was a good idea for Natalie, who turns 15 in November, to start coloring her hair.

Natalie was ready with rebuttals.

“You dye your hair,” she said.

“Yes, to cover the gray hair you have given me. Plus, I didn’t start at 14.”

“It’s temporary. It will wash out before school starts,” Natalie said.

“You can if your dad pays for it,” I said.

I really didn’t think my husband would shell out the potential $75-plus for the dye job. This is the man who won’t pay the extra $9 to have his hair shampooed and conditioned.

Not only did he pay $110, he called the salon to book the appointment on a Sunday. A reader I told this story to replied, “She’s daddy’s little girl, isn’t she?”


Boys have their own problems with parents wanting to call the shots when it comes to their looks.

Ken Malikowski, 53, of Madera, Calif., remembers his father forbidding him to wear Levi’s jeans. His parents bought the Sears brand instead.

“My dad thought Levi’s were too hippie,” Malikowski says. “I also wanted to wear eyeglasses that looked like the kind John Lennon used to wear. I could only wear big, black glasses.”

By his senior year in high school, Ken was able to buy his own pair of Levi’s.

“My first pair cost $4.95,” he says. “I thought they looked better. By that time, I was graduating from high school, and my dad let it go.”

I once layered my hair (also known as a shag, circa late ’70s) without my mom’s permission. She got mad at me in English – and Spanish.

Sanchez, 38, says she’ll have no problem if her daughter, Analeah, now 9, wants to color her hair when she’s a teenager in high school.

“My philosophy is hair will grow back and we can fix the color,” she says. “That’s easier than fixing a pierced body part.”