Hair Shaming

There’s been a big debate over straightening young girls hair and the comments been harsh.  I’m a mom with a young daughter who has curly thick hair. I told myself, I would never put a relaxer in her hair and to keep it healthy as possible. I do the ponytail styles and twist her hair at times. (She did not like her hair braided with multiple braids)  When she was in kindergarten she asked me several times to straighten her hair and the answer was always no. Her dad also was against me straightening her hair, with fear of it not coming back to it natural state. Time went on and I did some research. I first thought it would be best to have a licensed and professional hairstylist do her hair. I searched for someone who specifically specialized in natural hair. I didn’t want to take her to a salon where they spent the whole day relaxing people hair. I wanted someone who knew the importance of taking care of natural hair. I took her in and they washed, deep conditioned, trimmed and straightened her hair. She was so happy with the outcome. She was swinging it all over the place, not that she didn’t do it before with her ponytails. I maintained her hair with daily moisturizer with natural oils and after a few weeks it was time to wash her hair. It went back to her natural hair of being curly and I twisted it back to the styles I did.

We recently moved to a predominately Caucasian area where there is about 1% of African-Americans. She is the only black girl in her class and she came home from school  one day and asked if I could straighten her hair again. My first thought was, “did someone say something to my baby”. I began to think, did she want to look like the other girls in her class who had straight hair? It was time for me to have “the talk” with her. It was going to be more than talking about hair. I was about to talk to her about different races. (We previously lived in an African-American community and her classmates were all black). I told her she didn’t have the same hair like the other girls in class and that she was African-American and our hair was a different texture. I told her that she was special and beautiful, I told her she should be different from other people and not to want to look like everyone else. I told her some kids who hair is straight, wished that their hair was curly. I tell her everyday that she’s a queen and she beautiful. I tell her it’s okay to look different. I believe if we teach our children about confidence and how to love themselves daily they will have positive self-esteem for themselves. 

I believe and we all have our own opinions, that if you decide to straighten your child hair it shouldn’t be done on a daily basis and if you do straighten it, keep it healthy. Everyone has the right to wear their hair the way they want as long as they’re taking a healthy approach to it. I recently asked her why she wanted her hair straightened? She told me”I just want to wear my hair different”. I was fine with that. She see me with different hair styles. I wear my hair natural, with braids, and wigs. Why do I change my hair? “Because I want my hair to look different and I get bored with the same hairstyle.” 

I think parents shouldn’t be hair shamed over their choices. I believe we need to teach the importance of having healthy hair. I believe it’s okay to want to change your look. 

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