As a child, having unruly curly hair on a tender head was quite challenging. Like many girls, I pitched a fit at the sight of a brush or comb. Yet through all my tears my mother would somehow manage to whip my hair into submission. My older sister’s hair was relaxed, long and beautiful. That’s the hair I wanted. But to my disdain the only styles my mother would allow me were:
- Chunky twist
- Braided pigtails
- Or the occasional blowout
When I was old enough to start (trying) to style my own hair, I started to appreciate the effort my mother put into maintaining it. Detangling was a nightmare. I can recall the many times I would storm out the bathroom in angry tears, with a brush lodged in my tresses.
One of my more memorable mishaps was when I managed to gunk up my curls with a huge wad of bubble gum. Thinking I was saving my candy supply, I went to sleep with it in my mouth. By morning (because I’ve sleep tossed since my conception) I woke up looking like the victim of some vicious prank. Pink stringy “Bubblicious Strawberry Splash Bubble Gum” was everywhere. I’m not sure what my mother’s initial reaction was because the next thing I remember; I was being doused in vegetable oil.
On another occasion, when my mother left me to manage my hair, I chose to keep it twisted in a low bun. Nothing fancy but I looked decent. (I was a shy tomboy and didn’t like the attention my hair attracted) I would wash it, condition it, and then tie it in a bun. Seems fine right? Wrong. I skipped the vital step of detangling my hair. I skipped it for days. By the time my mother noticed what I was doing it was too late. My hair had meshed into one large dreadlock. My devoted mother and older sister spent the rest of the night picking out my hair with safety pins. I learned quickly after that and I am happy to say my hair survived as well.
So let’s talk about your little angel. In this article we are going to address three key points, which will help her accept her hair.
These main points are:
1. Exposé her to positive role models
2. Acknowledge her challenges
3. Help her develop a low maintenance hair routine around the hairstyles she likes.
Step 1: Exposé Her to Positive Role Models
No matter how old your princess is she needs a hero, a role model that she can aspire to be and relate to. Sometimes this person is a fictional character sometimes they are historical figures. Who ever it may be, all little girls need to see older/cooler versions of themselves in someone or something else. Most children feel uncomfortable with attributes that make them stand out. And although having an “original look” is vogue, it can be detrimental for a child. When children have no one in their lives (peers or others) that look like them, they instinctively want to emulate those around them.
Step 2: Acknowledge Her Challenges
Think back to your earliest memories of your hair. We’ve all had bouts of insecurities and no matter how much friends or family would try to complement us, we still had wavering doubts. Depending on how old your daughter is, if she’s old enough to voice her concerns (whine) she is old enough to be acknowledged. Listen to her. Let her list out everything she doesn’t like about her hair (or anything else for that matter) and don’t try to argue by telling her hair is beautiful. At this moment she doesn’t feel beautiful and you disagreeing may only seem like your dismissing the way she feels. Yes even the toddlers have emotional depth. Let her know you understand her feelings by sharing a similar trial. It is imperative that you acknowledge her feelings without trying to convince her.
Step 3: Developing a Routine
While it may seem futile to negotiate with a 4 year old, the rewards can be splendid. Now that you know how she feels and she feels validated, finding a happy medium is possible. Look over the hairstyles that she is comfortable with and then the ones that you like. Try to find any that overlap and go with those. If you want her to wear more flamboyant styles don’t force them. As she grows to accept her hair and learn how to maintain it, she will become more comfortable trying new looks. But if you try to make her get used to certain styles too soon, it may make her feel very self-conscious. Thus doing more harm then good. Save the ultra fancy looks for family/ school portraits or big events. I hated some of the puffy looks my mother would inflict upon me, but was able to endure it for special occasions.
Once you have her staple hairstyles picked out, build a routine around maintaining those looks. Inevitably she will get tired of them and want to try something new. When she is old enough you may or may not have to consider the option of getting her a perm. I am glad that my mother made me hang on until I could make an informed decision. And having a predictable timetable i.e. shampoo and re-twist once a week will enable your darling girl to discover the splendor that is her hair.
- Has your daughter ever asked for a perm?
- What are some of they ways you encourage your daughter to love her hair?
- What are some of the roadblocks you have had when working with your daughter’s hair?
- Is there any advice you would like to share with young/ future moms?