5 Reasons Why I Paint my Sons' Nails

June 27, 2017 15:38


My boys are seven and four, and I paint their nails.

Since my eldest isn’t allowed polish on his fingers in school, we stick to the toes, but they are painted nonetheless. I am not one to keep a meticulous manicure, so the polish only comes out occasionally. But when it does? “Can you do my toes? Can I have nail polish, too?” They are thrilled to pick colors and feel special.

I don’t force my boys (or even ask them) to paint their nails, but it is something they want to do. And I say “yes”, for a few very good reasons.

1. To Build Intimacy and Connections

We've all been there; as your hairstylist cuts your hair, you find yourself chatting. There is something inherently comfortable about being physically taken care of. We soften. We open up.

This closeness is exactly what grows when I paint my sons’ nails. No one is in a hurry, and I take care of them. All of my attention is focused intently on the task, and they feel special. I am close with my children, but I know that as they get older, the divide between us may grow, and these fleeting moments of intimacy will be harder to come by. 



2. To Let Them Experience True Freedom of Expression

Ah, the freedom of childhood! At no other time in your life is it okay to go to the grocery store dressed as a dinosaur. Children are in a magical place where they don’t think about what other people will say or how they’ll react to seeing a tiny dinosaur in the produce section.

If my child wants to wear dresses, superhero co stumes, and paint their nails - so be it. It shouldn’t matter if they are male or female. I know they only have a little while longer until they start to notice that not everyone behaves the same way, and that some people may judge them for their appearance. They are happy - what’s the harm of a little nail polish? 

3. To Have Fun

Kids like color. Playdough. Painting. Crayons. Construction paper. Streamers. Legos. Balloons. Rainbows! To a child, the world is literally full of chaos and rainbows. If you don’t believe me, ask a toddler to pick out their own clothes. I guarantee it will involve at least three patterns and three competing color palettes.

Color is lively, fun and expressive, just like kids are Why not embrace this stage of wonder wholeheartedly?

4. To Say “Yes”

Parenthood seems to be a gauntlet of questions, and most answers to them seem to be “NO”. No, you can’t paint the cat. No, you can’t jump on the couch. No, you can’t throw Hotwheels at your sister.

Sometimes, we just need to say “yes”. Maybe not about the painting the cat, but about those small, harmless things that will make them smile and create quality bonding time.


5. To Start Conversations

My eldest son is in martial arts, and it didn’t even occur to me that his toenails were painted, until I saw one of his classmates pointing out the polish. All I could think was “Oh, no! My seven-year old is being picked on by a twelve-year old… I should have known better than to leave the polish on!”

After class, I tried to nonchalantly ask what he and the boy were talking about. “Oh, he just liked my toenails, that’s all,” he said. Then he launched into a whole other topic, and left that one behind.

I didn’t know what to think. I was guilty of making my own assumptions, and was embarrassed for having pigeon-holed the other kids in his class. This time, the conversation I had was with myself, realizing I don’t give kids enough credit for being so open minded.

The first time my son asked me to paint his nails, I said “yes” without even thinking. And, for all of the reasons listed above, I think I will go ahead and continue to say “yes”, too. What about you? Do you think painting boys’ nails is a big deal these days?


More Reading on Painting Boys Nails:

 I Painted My Son's Fingernails. So What? from Baby Side Burns

Why I Paint My Son's Nails and Why You Shouldn't Care from Elephant Journal

Why I will Continue to Paint My Son's Nails from Wire & Honey 

Who Says Manicures are Only for Girls from NY Daily News

Boys and Nail Polish - It's Just a Little Color from Dirty Diaper Laundry 

My Son's Nail Polish Isn't a Political Statement from She Knows 

Nail Polish for Boys? from Baby Gizmo

Choices by Blunt Moms


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