Hair & Beauty Magazine

Have Your Kids Inherited Your Hair Insecurities?

By Ipage @xquisite_curls
   Hello Naturalistas (and others)! There has been something on my mind for the past few days and I have to get it off of my chest.
   I am a brand new blogger, as well as being newly natural. Actually, going natural is what lead me to start blogging because I wanted to document my hair journey. I started following natural hair forums and groups online, for hair care tips and for networking purposes. I came across a particular post on Facebook that kind of irked me No, it pissed me off. The topic of the post was about doing a Big Chop on a young girl and whether or not the mother should put braids in her hair until it grows to a more "acceptable" length and to fit in with her peers.
   Here's what really grinded my gears. A majority of the comments were stating that the mother should get braids for the daughter so she can "feel pretty", "fit in", "look decent", to "protect their self-esteem". PAUSE.
   **Now before I continue, let me state that I am not a Militant Naturalite (my own phrase, LOL). I do not feel that I am more "in touch with my roots" than the next person because I'm natural, or that I hate relaxers and feel everyone with a relaxer is a sell-out. Nope. I do not care one way or the other about how people choose to do their hair.**
   Back to that Facebook post, what got to me was the message behind all of those comments: Her hair is not good enough. She isn't acceptable as she is. It's better to conform and be like everyone else. Is THAT the message we want to send our children? That they must wear fake hair or hide their real selves in order to fit into society? Children WILL internalize that message. Instead of BUILDING their self-esteem, that kind of thinking leads to insecurity and feeling less-than. They will compare themselves to others. They begin to live their lives according to how they believe people want them to be. They spend time obsessing over their perceived faults. And since this "constructive criticism" is coming from family, people who they trust beyond anything, the kids figure that it MUST be true and then will internalize it to the bone. They can sense the insecurity of their own mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins about their hair and inherit that same insecurity. That's not healthy. That's borderline mental abuse!
   I understand the obsession with hair length, but only to a point. I enjoyed my hair when it was long, and I enjoyed the variety of styles I could pull off with it. But the way people carry on about it is almost ridiculous. Having long hair does not make you a good person. Having long hair does not make you better than the next person. Having long hair doesn't make you special. Hair is a pretty accessory, long OR short, relaxed OR natural. Just like a sparkly ring or a colorful scarf. Of course you take pride in how you care for it and you want it to look its best. But at the end of the day, the length and/or style of your hair does not reflect the person you are and we shouldn't let our kids believe that it does.  
       Instead of teaching young girls and boys to be ashamed of who they are and cover themselves up, teach them that they are awesome regardless of their hairstyle or hair length! If they like relaxers, great! If they prefer natural hair, great! If they like weaves, wigs, or braids, great! Short or long, who cares? But always teach them the value of being happy with themselves and their choices, regardless of the opinions of others. Give them the building blocks to healthy self-esteem. Protecting their self-esteem will not strengthen their character. Being able to hold their heads up high because they love themselves and are secure is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids. Helping them gain the strength to stand tall against the harsh world is our job as parents.
   I'm sorry for my soapbox rant, LOL. I just feel this is a real issue in our community. I have an almost 11 month old baby girl and this topic makes me think about the ways I can help build her esteem and making sure I'm not doing anything to inadvertently help destroy it. This issue also affects our young males and I will be doing the same for my almost 3 year old son. I have to make sure I'm raising them to be strong, confident adults who are secure and content with themselves.

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