Friday, April 9, 2010

What would you do??

What if you had a daughter with beautiful curly hair; and you always made it a point to teach her to be proud of her beautiful natural texture.

One day, your daughter goes to a relatives house and is told by the relative that they want to straighten your daughters hair. Your child is then told lies like "you will like it because it will be be easier to style your hair." Or "It will be easier to take care of your hair when its straight" or  "If its straight it will be easier when its time for a trim."

Your daughter, thinking its cool and something new... goes along with the bull being feed to her and comes home with straight hair.  You of course do not want to upset your child by reacting unfavorably, but is disappointed that the relative would be so shallow and thoughtless to tell your child that - any thing other than her natural hair is beautiful.  And to also put your child's hair through a damaging process of altering its natural state. Other than cussing out the relative in response to this act... lol. What would you do?!?

24 comments:

  1. My daughter is 15 and at age 13 asked if she could have her hair straightened.I gave my okay and took her to the salon and she had straight, almost waist length hair. I think it was the length that she fell in love with and not the straight hair. My feeling was to let her experience it and not let it be a mystery. She is not interested in perms so I don't have to worry about that. The only time she asks to have it straight is for special occasions (beginning of the school year, dress-up occasions). She has been maintaining her own hair since middle school and decided September '09 to cut her hair to just below shoulder length. She said it is much easier to maintain (shampoo, etc)than the mid back to waist length.

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  2. By "straighten", do you mean "processed"? Because if "yes", then that relative needs to be told to *NEVER EVER* again make ANY major/ permanent alterations to your child's appearance without your prior consent!!! I'd be stark-raving mad. But then again, i'm not a mother, so I may be overreacting. Talk to the relative camly but firmly and instruct them never to do this again. That kind of behaviour really is just unacceptable!

    That being said, you will have to work this out with your daughter. Ask her what she thinks of her hair, and if she liked how it was before. Speak to her as you would an adult and explain the problems with processed hair: the chemicals, the upkeep, the damage. Tell her that you loved her natural hair a lot and give an example of what you loved the most about it. Say this in a way that doesn't hurt her self-esteem or make her feel like you 'hate' her new do. At the end of the day tho, know that the choice lies with her. And whatever she chooses, you will eventually have to accept it.

    Forgive the length, but I just feel passionately about the topic!

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  3. AAGGHH-I just found this blog and the first post I read hits right home. I'm definitely subbing!

    Now-this actually happened to me. My daughter has very thick and tightly coiled hair. I have never put any heat to her hair myself. She loves her puffs (she's 5) and her twists and occasionally we have conversations about straightening her hair but they rarely go beyond conversation. While on vacation this summer with my aunt, she flat ironed my daughter's hair bc as she said "she wasn't going to let my daughter walk around with the nappy sh**". My cousin called me, told me what happened and then sent me pictures. While she looked very much age appropriate (she still had ponytails, they were just longer), I was livid and I went ballistic. I threatened bodily harm and everything. LOL. I just felt like, and still feel, my aunt was totally out of line especially when I've made my wishes clear. I don't judge what anyone does with their children-hair or otherwise. I don't understand where people get the audacity!

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  4. It depends...if said transformation to hair was made through a chemical process I'd cuss the relative out and not let my child be alone with that relative for awhile... I'd also discuss some ground rules with said relative... with rule number one being RETURN MY CHILD THE WAY I GAVE HIM/HER TO YOU.

    If the hair was straightened with a hotcomb or blow dryer I think I'd be OK and wouldn't bug out. I'd still mention ground rules to the relative. I'd ask why the relative felt they needed to straighten her hair...

    In both situations I'd remind my daughter that all hair is beautiful and that one style or texture isn't better than another.

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  5. In this hypothetical situation I'm thinking that it's important educate. It may seem like common sense but most people don't REALLY understand the damage that a lot of 'traditional' methods do to our hair. This is just like any other generational difference in raising children. Some people truly don't understand why I don't let my 1.5 year old have soda?! seriously! It's about education.

    Now - were thing s real life situation that happened to me I'd probably have to go off on somebody!...and then educate

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  6. ummm I think you have permission to cuss your relatives out because that was highly disrespectful to you and your daughter. I see you are bigger person than me and taking the higher road but I think you should have a very clear talk with your relatives so that an incident like this never occurs again. whew! Can you tell this angered me. For your daughter remain calm, it's just hair, but it would be great to get her feedback and also to dymistfy any untruths she was told as to why it is "better and easier" for her to straighten her hair.

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  7. Like Tiara, I think I would totally threaten bodily harm, while cussing them out! Lol. That is just straight up disrespectful because the majority of the time, its not about the relative not knowing about the damaging affects of relaxers and more about the relative just not giving a damn because they lack the capacity to respect lifestyles and beliefs that differ from their own. Its one thing to view nappy hair as bad hair, and a totally different thing to then take said nappy hair and alter it, because, it what? Bothers you too much? Oh hell to the no! Lol. The vasaline would be coming out and the earrings would be coming off. If this kind of thing arises, I would hope that it would be a case of straightening by flat iron, because its hard to come back from a relaxer, especially if your child has long thick hair. You'd have to cut the permed hair off and start all over again to get back to being natural. Devastating!

    I recently viewed a video about a real life account of a relative putting a perm in a child's hair without the mother's consent. Check it out to see how it affected the child!

    http://beadsbraidsbeyond.blogspot.com/2010/04/first-relaxer-at-9-months-old.html

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  8. I think the relative should be tactfully put into place. How disrespectful to you and your daughter. This was out of bound. I think it is better to tell this person how you feel about her doing this so she will not do it again.

    Veronica

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  9. If it was straightened with a chemical there'll be a confrontation between me and relative. My daughter will not be allowed to be alone with them for quite some time. Meanwhile, we would grow the hair out. I can no longer plead ignorance when it comes to relaxing. I know too much now to allow dangerous chemicals on my child's scalp. If i'ts just flat ironed, I'd still have words, and lay down the law to make sure my wishes are respected. I'd try to explain to my daughter the damage that can be done, but to me flat ironing/hot combing isn't in the same league as a perm and is not the end of the world. It can revert back to it's natural state.

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  10. This post really strikes a nerve. I was that child and I remember wanting straight hair because of a relative. I then went from getting my hair pressed to a relaxer, something my mom was heartbroken to do but she did it because I was so certain I needed one. Keep telling her she is beautiful the way she is. Stay strong as others will try to fool her. Continue to show her positive role models with natural hair.
    Definitely have a very long conversation with the relative and let them know they are not to touch your child's hair again or even talk to them about hair. And finally, pray for your relatives and others who do not understand the power and grace of our natural beauty.

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  11. Oh. Hell. To the. Naw!

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  12. Hello this is off topic but I was checking out your website and I loved it. I have to make a website for my organization and I don't have a clue as to how to get started? Was it difficult to make? Also did you start from a template from another site? If you could just give me some basic information I would really appreciate it.

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  13. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the new layout!!!!!!!!!!!

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  14. Relatives are for visits, not unauthorized cosmetological consultations, no matter how much "experience" they have! I have made it very plain that my children's appearance should be the same as when I dropped them off unless it is a wardrobe change because of a BIG mess. No hair alterations, and since my children are still little, they rarely get dropped off at any relatives near me at this time because I, frankly, don't trust everyone to respect our lifestyle. We've already had an unrelated incident where a family member decided to feed my vegan-all-her-life child dairy ice cream, from which she suffered symptoms of for two days after, because she's four and was told that it was a good thing, much like the situation with the relative saying straight hair was better.

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  15. my kids used to go over their grandmother's(his mother) house every other weekend. and every other weekend this woman felt it necessary to undo the style i did in my child's hair while she was there. now, i didnt mind her washing her hair, but i did mind the fact that she was blowdrying it. i dont blowdry my hair because I feel it's not only unnecessary but also harmful, so why would i do it to my child's hair? and it made me even more upset that she was doing it because it looked to "nappy" or "niggerish"(she's married to a white man and she now took it upon herself to be white, as well. that's how she refers to other black people now.) when i realized what she was doing, i kindly called her and asked her to please stop blowdrying her hair. she asked me why! what!!!! because she's my child, so what i say goes. she stopped for awhile but than it started back up AGAIN a few months later. i had to kindly ask her to stop AGAIN. we no longer live in florida(that's where they are) so i dont have to worry about that anymore. but i honestly believe that if we stayed down there, i would have gone to pick up my kids one day and my child would have had a perm. i dont know what i would have done then...

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  16. Unfortunately it doesn't matter what you may tell your relative(s), some of them will go against your wishes simply because (insert reasons here). I don't think my child will see her relative if that happened to me until she was old enough & mature enough to handle the visitations because ultimately that relative is tearing down your child's self esteem. It will really affect her if she has same age cousins or other relatives there commenting negatively about her hair too. There is enough peer pressure & bullying at school, neighborhood, playground, etc., & having to deal with it on the homefront too..NO WAY!!! Yeah, the relative will only see her around me from now on (especially if she's been given prior warnings).

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  17. Girl, if she came back and it was permed, I'd lose it. But if it was just pressed, I'd feel better but not happy. Your relative had no right to alter your child's hair in any way and it was a violation of your parental rights. I would certainly let them know how I feel and tell them how disappointed you are, do they know about this blog for goodness sake?!!

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  18. If it were permed, I would cut it all off and let her have a twa. I would also have a cuss out with the relative and see what legal action I could take for putting chemicals on a minors head. If it were straightened non chemically, I would wash my baby's hair so it would revert to its true and beautiful state. I would also start looking for books, posters, etc. that show beautiful natural black hair to my child and encourage her natural beauty especially since she will be under attack from a family member.

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  19. My in laws know me as a pretty quiet person but if this ever happened to my daughter they would not know what hit them! Thankfully, they know to ask first if they can do something to my daughter's hair but unfortunately they do not refrain from saying in front of my 3 year old daughter that she did not get the good hair.

    I'm white and my daughter has 4a hair. All I have ever heard is that I will have so much trouble, I should just straighten it, etc. I try to keep my daughter from hearing this because I think her curls are beautiful and it is my mission to make sure she loves her natural hair. It is becoming a bit more difficult now because my son was born with straight hair so all we hear now is "he got the hair you wish she would have gotten, and he should have gotten her hair." That irks me to no end and I always try to stop that talk, but even my husband gets in on it.

    I have gone to great lengths to learn how to care for my daughter's hair and spend a lot of time on it. I would flip if this happened to me!

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  20. While getting my roots twisted at the same salon, my aunt in the other seat over from me began to chastize me about my locs. She then went on to tell her hairdresser, "Girl if I ever decide to lock my hair, shoot me."

    As a guy I recognize that I got to escape this process of being encouraged by relatives to tranquilize my lively, breathing hair into dead weight, but seeing the pressure that my relatives inflict on themselves and one another is really troubling. That's why I'd be JUST as pissed as the rest of you if my daughter came home after my aunt murdered her precious napps. I'm an activist too. I don't mess around.

    And as a vegetarian, I totally appreciate the similarities between feeding a child meat and instilling in them the addiction for straight, flowing hair.

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  21. Some women want kids to have the same issues as they do. People teach little girls to have low self esteem because they themselves have it. Not only is it wrong but kids don't need to worry about their hair, straight or nappy Why can't they be kids and have fun, they can worry about hair when they are women, trying to find a job or a man or when they want to.

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  22. That is despicable.I got upset on my niece's behalf because my mother put in tight cornrow extensions in her hair.There's no way I'd take this lying down.Either they stop with the talk or they don't see my child.Oy, the ignorance we have to deal with.

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  23. I wonder what they hair looks like. My, my, my, it's just wrong to voice your opinions to a child. Especially, if your opinion goes against the parents upbringing and training. On top of that, they could have done damage to her hair. I'm glad my parents did raise me to be so trusting of relatives and friends. People do strange things. Asking the parents if they wouldn't mind it if they straightened their daughter's hair is too much like right. You have to teach your child to speak up. When you're sweet and quiet, people think they can do whatever to you. I'm not blaming the young girl. I know from experience that if something isn't right you don't have to go though with it. Children need to learn that lesson.

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  24. My husband was active duty military and we move to GA from Tx and left our 3 year old with my mother while we secured housing. Well when we went to pick my mother and my child from the airport , surprise , my baby's hair was processed! I almost had my other child in the airport. I ask who put chemicals in her hair and I was told her birth father did it over Easter break and when i called him he said my mother did it! Well, lets just say my mother came only visit when me or my husband can watch her and as for her birth father well he don't see her anyway so he's no threat. She is now 7 years old and her hair is arm pit lenght when flat iron buts that for special times only! Please do not let people put toxins in your child's head unless they plan to help you keep it up with money and real salon visits.

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