Hair is one of a woman’s most valuable assets. From how long it cascades down her back to how it’s styled, hair becomes a daily obsession that makes a statement to passersby. Teen girls know a thing or two about making statements. During high school, they work diligently to establish their existence in the massive universe in which we live.
One of the quickest ways to establish identity is through their strands, but many have been following years of strict executive orders on how to maintain their tresses… from the CEOs in their lives — MOM and DAD.
As a stepparent of a 15 year-old, I’m very protective of how outsiders perceive her, but I never want to discourage her from being creative or expressing herself. So, unlike her father, I stood by her side as she made the decision to go natural. After 11 years of chemical processing, it was about time that her scalp and hair cuticles got a needed break from the creamy crack. “But I’m not a fan of natural hair,” says her dad…
That was a hard pill to swallow (especially since I was inspired to go natural too). I knew from that moment on, this was going to be a challenge, but one worth struggling for. My inner voice told me that he really felt deeply about his taste for long, straight hair, but I also sensed that he wasn’t going to stand in our way of doing something that would make us happy. So one hairstyle at a time, we have both been on a mission to prove that our kinky/coily hair (which is very versatile) can be and IS beautiful.
I commend any young woman who wants to embrace ALL that is her. At a time when fitting in becomes the norm, standing out is a brave step towards building self-esteem. 2011 marked a year where my website, TeenDiariesOnline.com, challenged teenage girls to love their hair and treat it with care. To my surprise, so many high-schoolers and college students were already on a journey towards healthy, natural hair. Is this a fad? Or are young girls more confident now than I was in the ’90s? Well, the answers to these questions and more seems to lie right under our noses on the worlwide web. Curly girls across the globe have created an online community that uplifts and unites women who are on a natural journey.
With video hair tutorials, product recommendations, tumblr pages filled with CURLspiration, and advice from popular hair bloggers (like Curly Nikki, MopTopMaven, and Kimmaytube), girls don’t feel alone while making a “permanent” transition to natural. The more they get involve with the secret swapping society, the more confident they feel in the way they were created: race, skin complexion, hair texture and all.
In the words of Lady Gaga:
I’m beautiful in my way,
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
“My daughter wants to go natural, but I’ve never liked natural hairstyles. She looks so much more beautiful with straight, relaxed hair. Besides, I’m confident that she can’t manage her hair in it’s kinky state. It was difficult for me to do it and that’s why she is relaxed now.” —Janice, 42
MY ADVICE: It’s okay to be resistant to change. Your feelings towards natural hair didn’t build up overnight so it may take years for you to fully embrace your daughter’s decision to let her kinky curls make their debut. But what you must realize is that your support to accept this change (which isn’t as daunting as her wanting a belly piercing, blue hair, or a tattoo) will be the ultimate boost to her self-esteem during these questionable years of her life. If you dislike many of the natural hairstyles that you see in magazines or in real life, help your child research natural styles that you deem appropriate for different settings (school, church, work, family nights out, etc.).
Think about this: your child is asking your permission to not add harsh chemicals (that cost you money) to her body. Asking permission shows maturity, being concerned about her health is a sign of self-love, and saving you money is a WIN WIN WIN 🙂 Also, wanting to go natural serves as a huge compliment to you as well because she wants to accept herself the way that YOU created her. Through trial and error, you’ve learned how to treat her colds, bandage her boo boos, and make her favorite meal. So why not educate yourself on natural haircare and help her learn how to properly care for her strands. You can browse the internet, take a hair-class, or talk to a natural hairstylist for tips. During this process, you will not only gain an understanding of what you were doing incorrectly in the past, but you will draw a closer bond with your child and may begin to feel differently about your teen’s decision. Whether she chooses to continue her natural hair journey or get a relaxer, she will appreciate (and remember) the time you invested. Support = Love
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