Help A Curl Out

Anonymous wrote us with the following:

I REALLY need some advice y’all. 

For my daughter’s birthday last month , I allowed her to book her first hair appointment for a press and curl. My daughter’s paternal grandparents made such a fuss over her hair and offered to start sending her to the salon regularly because, “She’s at that age where she should be going regularly to get it done”. After explaining to her that I didn’t want her hair to be pressed regularly she stated how pretty she and her pop-pop thought she looked with her hair pressed. I don’t think it was intentional or that she meant any harm by it. I’m used to the older generation not liking kinky hair. But every time my daughter comes home I feel like I have to reprogram her all over again when it comes to her hair!

My daughter has recently been on a “healthy hair” movement with the goal of gaining some length and came home last week upset because her grandmother told her that 100% Black Girls can’t grow long hair!

How can I address this issue without being disrespectful?

 

Any one been through or currently going through this?

Thoughts? Suggestions? Help this Mama out.

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6 thoughts on “Help A Curl Out

  1. Wow. I am sorry to hear that you are facing this ‘generation gap’ in thinking. Your daughter is lucky to have so much love and concern for her well being – from you and her well-meaning grandparents. My suggestion would be for you to have a private conversation with her grandparents, and with a tone of love and respect for them and their thoughts about hair. I would then tell them that your ideas about your daughter’s hair care and what message you are attempting to send her through this care (self love for the way she came into this world, unaltered) is extremely important to you and her. Tell them that you appreciate the historical context of where they are coming from, but things have progressed. The world has a broader definition of what is appropriate, well groomed and acceptable than what may have occurred in their lifetimes and that you are not putting your daughter at risk of lack of opportunities by NOT straightening her hair. At the end of the day, this is what the older generation worries about the most.

    Then, SHOW them what you mean. Show them that grooming practices don’t need to mean a ‘press n curl’. Show them by letting them watch and participate in your child’s grooming sessions and by showing them images/blogs/videos of all the beautiful naturals on the internet. Unfortunately, as much as this is about ‘programming’ your daughter for self love/acceptance, it is also about helping grandparents ‘unplug from the matrix’ they have accepted for so long.
    I grant that this is a very delicate issue and must be handled in a way that will not make them feel offended, rejected, etc. Your feelings and thoughts about how you want to raise your child, however , must also be respected.
    If the above does not work, then you may want to simply ask/insist that they do not discuss hair related issues or do anything to your daughter’s hair when she visits with them.
    I wish you the best of luck!

  2. I can only imagine how discomforting this situation is for especially since the relationship they have is one that is going to impact who your daughter is, yet you are the mother. You ultimately will have the final say and If you have to gently remind them each and every time your wishes, respectfully, then do so. Invite them over for dinner and talk with them kindly and acknowledge that though they are trying to “help”, you will not budge on it.
    Also before you do so, speak with her father so he’s aware of the situation. People love but sometimes go about it the wrong way, be gentle, persistent, yet firm. In time they will mellow or completely stop bringing up the subject.

  3. You know the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? I think this is a fair way to sum up what you can expect when it comes to most Grandparents. Remember, you’re a child in their eyes who doesn’t know as much about life as they do. You simply don’t have as much life experience as they do, so although you may feel a certain way, they KNOW better. It’s even worse that you’re having this issue with your in-laws. In my experience, I can talk things out with my parents. I’m not shy to tell them how I feel. Although they may not agree with my views, especially when it comes to my daughter and how I choose to raise her, they respect them because they know I’ll keep my distance if they don’t. My in-laws are very pushy, and I find myself holding back on saying what I feel just to keep the peace. This is where we make our own lives miserable!

    No one should be making your child feel insecure, and it’s terrible that her grandparents are the ones doing it, even if they’re not doing it intentionally. I think you should speak with them honestly and respectfully about the effect that they’re having on your daughters self esteem. Try to make them understand that they’re making her feel like she has to alter herself in order to be pretty and how damaging that can be to a young girl. Maybe share blogs and youtube videos tailored to natural hair. Naptural85, mahoganycurls, lovelyanneka, and iknowlee are all wonderful examples that a black girl CAN grow their hair.
    If her hair is usually in an out style when she visits them, maybe braid it up instead so that it doesn’t look a “mess” to them.
    You should probably have your husband talk to them about it too. He is their son after all, and he may be able to help them understand things in a way you can’t. The beauty of that is he probably won’t be as concerned with sparing feelings as you are, and be more likely to tell it like it is.

    If none of that works, maybe cutting back on how much time she spends with them is an option? People respond to actions a lot better than words. They may be more willing to adjust their behavior if they realize that the behavior is the reason why they’re not getting to spend as much time with their grandchild.
    Also, and not to scare you, but I know of a few cases of grandmothers taking their granddaughters for their first perm without mom knowing. I don’t know if your MIL would do something like that, but it’s worth keeping in the back of your mind because it does happen. So it might help to casually discuss the dangers of chemical relaxers with her to see where she stands on the issue.
    Good luck Mama!

  4. I just saw this article: http://www.kisforkinky.com/carole-adele-williams-type-4-natural-hair-inspiration-interview/
    and it mentions this book My Hair Grows Up http://www.amazon.com/Hair-Grows-Dr-Kari-Williams/dp/188921003X. Should be a good read for a little girl
    My response on curynikki.com: Personally I don’t think there will be a nice way to put your foot down on this but you need to put your foot down and get her father involved. Both of you will need to be together on this for your daughter’s sake. Let them know you don’t want her hair pressed and to stop allowing her to believe that she must do this in order for her hair to grow and for her to be pretty. My grandmother is from that same era and was the same when I grew dreadlocks, and she still is with my loose hair. Every time she sees my hair out (which it is 90% of the time) she comments about it.

    Also let your daughter know they grew up in a different time and to let them know that she likes her hair natural and it can grow… this may need to be a group discussion.

  5. There’s really no nice way to tell grandma to mind her business, but a simple…”Your views on my daughters hair are YOURS only, please don’t inflict your opinions onto her while she is still in this young malleable stage.”

    Followed by a…”We may disagree on how she should style it, but we can agree that your comments left her upset, she came home bothered by the statement you made and that is completely unacceptable. I will continue to style her hair as she and I both see fit, with the goal of keeping her hair healthy first.”

    And that’s it!!

  6. PS: Pleaseeee post more often chicas! I miss your commentary!

    If you ladies need guest posters I’d be honored to help.

    - Sincerely a follower of Around the Way Curls since y’all were A Curls BF!




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