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How old, how high?

High heels in middle school? OK or no way?

In this day and age, when Michael Kors makes heels for kindergartners, it may seem like a quaint question, but we're dealing with it in my house.

I've given in to low platforms, but you give them a wedge and they want to take a stiletto.

My latest 13-year-old vs. mom match is over whether 3- to 4-inch heels are appropriate with her Christmas dress.

I've held strong to a "no" because I'm already expending most of my energy on fighting her penchant for micro-mini dresses, and it's exhausting to multi-task more than one teen debate at a time.

"But mom," she wails. "I'm not a flats kind of girl."

Other than locking her in the bathroom with a copy of Our Bodies Ourselves, I'm not sure what to do.

I've told her that high heels are crippling for her back and feet. I've told her how they're too sexual and she's too young.

I keep waiting for the sky-high fad to fade, but women's shoes only seem to get steeper and more outrageous. It's impossible to even find anything fashionable under 3 inches.

In the age of extreme footwear, my arguments seem irrational to a girl who desperately wants to grow up and sees other young women in Miami tottering around in 6-inch torture devices that make the agonies of corsets and foot binding seem like child's play.

"If not now then when?" she wants to know.

It's a question I've been unable to answer. But I need to think fast. Eighth grade prom is in six months.