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What I Tell My Daughter About Her Hair

by Alexandra

reality

September 5, 2013

What I Tell My Daughter About Her Hair

It’s her distinguishing feature. Something that sets her apart from her crowd of sisters. A compliment getter almost every day…well an attention grabber at least. It’s blonde and curly and wild. It’s unruly. And noticeable. And people tend to love it or …

Women stop me in the grocery store, at church, and reach out their hand to touch the halo of curls and frizz. Some in disbelief that something so beautiful could exist right in front of them. And others in astonishment that parents would allow such craziness in public. I know the second types from their comments. Their suggestions on product (Seriously? She’s four!), on when to brush and when to not (wet vs. dry) and of their stories of some other child whose mother had “a hard time controlling her hair” as if once every twenty years you run across such a parent (not so subtle there). Sometimes I think these strangers forget she can hear. She’s always standing right in front of us. And usually I think they forget I DON’T CARE!! (Oh wait, they don’t KNOW me, so how could they forget that?)

When we’ve tried to tell her that her hair looks “crazy”, as a way of saying, you want it to look nice, and combed and acceptable. You don’t want to stand out too much because …well …we’re not really sure why except that we’re prone to conformity. Her response is simply, “I want trazy hair!” Arms crossed, ready for a fight. In a sense, you can’t convince me crazy is not good. I like my hair the way it is. End of story.

And so we go with trazy hair. Because she’s right it is completely her. And why would we want to tell her to be anything less than who she is? I don’t want to overstate here, but when we tell her she needs to conform in the hair management department, what are we saying about her? Don’t draw attention to yourself. Change this part of you so you don’t stand out. Tone it down. Tone YOU down. There is something about girls and “wild” that makes us adults nervous. And I don’t want her to begin the self-quieting now. Research tells me she’ll likely be fighting that tendency, or at least that messaging, the rest of her life.

And quite frankly at our house we choose our battles and hair is not at the top of the list. Those dealing with respect, character and obedience are. I don’t have enough time or energy to wrestle her down to snap a barrette into her curls that she’ll only take out 2.6 seconds later. I realize there is a touch of obedience there, but I’m not much of a high maintenance mom in that way. No big hair bows on my girls or matching dresses, or pressed anything. I realize it’s an easier battle for me to give up than many moms to start with. I just save my armor for the stuff I really care about.

But most importantly we let the hair go au natural because Gracie is right. Why shouldn’t her hair be crazy? Why shouldn’t we celebrate what makes her unique and stand out in a crowd? Why fight her on something that seems so surface when she’ll have the rest of her life to be fighting those battles of imposed beauty expectations?

I’m not as progressive as I sound. I want my girls to behave and be nice. And the reason I’ve even needed to think so deeply about hair is because despite my best efforts I care what other people think about my kids, about my mothering. So all of this is really for me. To remind me, the mom, that each girl is uniquely created by the one who knows her best with purposes for her. Wild and crazy and all.

So after a little self-talk on my part and Gracelynn’s stubbornness making itself known through crossed arms and hiding in her room from the hairbrush wielding parents, these are the things I tell her about her hair. Because really she is absorbing these hair-connected messages about her very self.

Your hair is …

                beautiful.

                wild.

                like no one else’s.

                completely you.

                and completely wonderful.

 

 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Alexandra Kuykendall is the author, The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir. While she spends most of her days washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma, she manages to snatch minutes here and there to write about the quest for purpose in it all.

Related topics: Alexandra, Beauty, Parenting

Share your thoughts

You go Moms who celebrate who God alone made your children to be! To Him be the glory for crazy hair!

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My Grace to is also wild and has the curly brown hair. Thank you for sharing it is also one of the battles I try not to wage everyday.

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Beautiful Gracie! Oh, Alex, I love your mama heart and your thoughtfulness about the messages you are sending to your girl. You are choosing the good fight, friend!

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I love your stand for her self image building and self confidence building! As a curly fluffy frizzy haired person myself, I can say from experience it is a road many have been on and not found the right perspective. From hours of thinning trimming straightening with harsh chemicals knots matts peanut butter and combing and even having to cut many knots out, I can say that finally there was a perspective to embrace the curly hair. And a strategy that helped me to find the healthy embrace for my curly head. I found it in a book called "Curly Girl" and it was the encouragement that I needed. Props for starting your little one out with the right perspective! It's so much harder to find that perspective for yourself! Curly Girl, btw, isn't a guide on how to take the curl out of the girl, it's how to teach the girl to love her curl, and some tips and tricks for keeping those beautiful curls detangled healthy pain-free happy and CURLY! Love those beautiful curls!

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I love this! It's nice to know we Moms of Wild Girls aren't alone! My middle daughter, Eleanor, is 3 and has thick, long, curly, unruly hair that she refuses to let me brush. She likes it curly and crazy, and that's OK with me. I get lots of compliments about it, mostly women who are jealous because we women are ever "grass is greener" creatures aren't we?, and also the "why is it so messy?" comments. I let them go. It's just so intrinsically ELEANOR that I don't want to change it! I hope that her hair stays curly and crazy forever so that she, too, can be crazy, sweet, wild, and unpredictable her whole life. It's who she is - who God made her - and she's amazing.

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Love this story. My daughter also has crazy hair, in fact, it inspired me to write my first children's picture book "Princess Crazy Hair" available on Amazon Kindle. Check it out. Your daughter might enjoy it :) http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_14?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=princess%20crazy%20hair&sprefix=princess+crazy%2Caps%2C221

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We, too, applaud crazy hair. My daughter's hair used to have corkscrews of all sizes and tightness. Ringlets would ripple in all directions, her crown of chaos. I. LOVED. IT. I had no idea what to do with it, but I loved it. She's older now. the curls have tamed themselves into predictable waves with a few scatted temple twists here and there. I know what to do with it now, but, man ... I miss the crazy.

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YES! We love CRAZY hair at our house! We always let her choose - crazy or ponytail. We all need a little uninhibited crazy sometimes. :)

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Awesome! There are some times when children need to learn to fall in line (behavior comes to mind!), and others where they should be allowed to be who they are. That hair is beautiful, and good for her for embracing it! "You are perfect just as you are" is the message that we parents need to send to our kids, especially our little girls. :)

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LOVE the trazy hair! :) My daughter has stick straight very fine baby hair. She's six and in first grade. Try telling a little girl that she looks better with a short pageboy when all their friends have long long long hair. :( If hers gets below her chin it doesn't look the best!

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It reminds me of a children's book - Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron. The story is deeply rooted in culture and history but the moral is the same. God made that hair exactly how he wanted it and he is rarely wrong :) Teach her to love that hair - it makes her unique.

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She's adorable. My two year old has similar hair, it has a mind of its own and I am in awe of it. I call her my little dusa (medusa). She hates anything holding it back and I'm lucky if she stays still long enough to brush it. Your picture looked so much like her I had to read.

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My husband and I both have VERY curly hair and we assume that our 4 month old little girl will eventually grow out some curls. I can remember the countless number of women who have approached me over the years and said "your hair is beautiful! I bet you hate it." Why, no, actually, I do not hate it. God knew exactly what He was doing when he gave me those curls.

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