My Daughter's Hair

my-daughters-hair-image

Lately, my daughter has been on a "…I'm going to wash my own hair…" routine. My initial thoughts when this began was frustration and concern because afterwards, I found myself having to fix it later (or the next day) after it had already dried - with no conditioner.  To be honest, I didn't mind so much in the beginning because it generally occurred over a weekend and there was time/opportunity to correct it. Oh, but the night (school night) she washed it in the shower without my knowledge…sigh!

As a black woman, traditionally I've maintained my daughter's hair much like mine was maintained as a child - with braids.  Not only did it allow for easy maintenance throughout the week, but it kept a cute (presentable) look to the world.  This method worked well up until the last couple of years.  My daughter has repeatedly shown interest in washing her own hair, much like her friends.

What I've learned in this is that I haven't done my part in showing my daughter the steps from start/finish.  Each time she made this request, I found myself writing it off - giving the same excuse as I was given by people in my life growing up, "…your hair is not like theirs…"  For many of us, this referred to our black hair care and all that comes with it to maintain, especially for our little girls.




I acknowledge that there are differences in hair/hair care and this is something that's important for my daughter to learn and understand.  But, I'm also learning as a parent, that it's equally as important for me to nurture my child's interest in her own hair care extending beyond, "Mommy will do it…"

My friends and I have much in common, especially the Mom friends I have with daughters. But to see our cultural differences in how we teach our daughters about hair care is amazing.  When I talk with a couple of my Caucasian Mom friends with daughters, they teach their girls how to wash their own hair - just as routine as brushing their own teeth.

As I see my daughter discovering her independence, it's amazing because in her eyes, this is a journey that she's clearly wanting to travel.  To see her so confused when she's finished and it doesn't look like when "Mommy does it"…or as I alluded to earlier, the look on her face when she thinks I'm angry because she 'messed up her hair'…breaks my heart and I need that to change.

So, I made a promise to both myself and my daughter that I'll take the time to show her. I can only think that I objected to this in the beginning because of my personal conditioning, but I now know better.  I think it's important for her to know her own hair and how to wash/condition it the right way. By the way, I can get something out of it too…meaning, once she begins learning to do it correctly, it can serve as a preparatory stage before she sits with me for styling. I just hope this all will make me better prepared to enter into the phase when she's wanting to style her own hair ;-)

I can't be the only Mom out there with their daughter and hair care obstacles? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

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11 Comments :

  1. Good piece! You're right, you've got to start that foundation now so she can begin building a hair care regime that's best for her. Things are so much better for our brown girls now as there are SO many resources out to help along the journey. Great read! :)
    New friend visiting from SITS :)

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    1. Yeah, each week she gets better…we still have a long way to go, but we know it's important. I look forward to more SITS chat.

      Thanks for visiting!

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  2. This is a great post because I have African-inspired hair as I call it. I am Dominican so my hair isn't fully kinky but it is definitely wavy/curly so it was very hard to grow up almost feeling like your hair is "wrong." I had some guidance from my sisters on how to wash my hair but they definitely styled it. Until this day, I feel completely uncomfortable with my natural hair (when it's dried, when it's wet it's OK). I'm starting to learn how to naturally style my hair and appreciate it a bit. Hopefully, your daughter will learn to love her hair and style it gracefully without damaging its integrity. :) Best of luck this is why I'm happy I have a boy!! :) Have a great one Danielle! -Iva

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    1. That's my hope for my daughter too…much like you it's ok when it's wet…it's when it dries. But we're working through it. I've emphasized the importance of conditioning…especially right after the wash to detangle. She's getting better.

      You have a great one too! And thanks for visiting!

      -Danielle

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  3. I remember those days as a child. My mother would just do it to avoid a head of unruly tangles.
    As I learned along the way, she ignited my passion for hair care. I'm now a licensed cosmetologist and am going through the phase of my 7 yr. old daughter wanting to take on her own hair care.
    Have you tried a leave-in conditioner? Maybe that will help your daughter remember to condition as well as make the detangling easier.
    Stopping by from the SITS Tribe! :-)

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    1. Thanks for the tip Grace! One of the first things I'm trying to teach her is about leave-in conditioner…LOL! And who knows, maybe I may spark something in her about hair care similar to you…we'll have to see.

      I look forward to learning about all of my tribe members…thanks for visiting!

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  4. Thanks for the tip Grace! One of the first things I'm trying to teach her is about leave-in conditioner…LOL! And who knows, maybe I may spark something in her about hair care similar to you…we'll have to see.

    I look forward to learning about all of my tribe members…thanks for visiting!

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  5. My hair isn't course or unruly, it's just VERY curly and as a kid I couldn't brush, comb, or tame it on my own. I wrote my hair in a ponytail with those ponytail holders for years! My first ever haircut came at 12, by my mom, from then on I did it all myself.

    It was weird because as soon as it was cut I simply parted it, combed each side and finger chimed it together. Why didn't I think of that before!?

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I know, sometimes I wonder why didn't I just start to show her earlier on just the basics…but I started and I guess that is what matters most. I'm telling you, girls/women - we have it hard with the upkeep, right?

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  6. You're not the only one. My Mama and I went through that. Part of the problem was that she had very straight hair and always wanted curly, so she loved playing in my hair and didn't want to give that up. The other problem was that she and my father were overly concerned with my appearance and wanted my hair done certain ways and didn't want me messing it up...much like what you're going through. I didn't help the situation when I went behind their backs and did my own hair: I once got one of my mother's curlers stuck in my hair and cut it out along with a huge chunk of hair right in front while she was sleeping; I tried to do braided pigtails and did one higher than the other, so I thought my hair was uneven and chopped three inches of one half of my head of hair off (when I tried to re-part and braid it and couldn't figure out why it was all uneven, I woke my mother up to do it...uh, I got a brush to the head for that one). At any rate, you get my point. LOL! This is a great bonding time for you and your daughter as you teach her how to care for her hair. Have fun!

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    1. Regina, your story made me smile and LOL!

      I'm very thankful that we haven't had an incident (knock on wood) where she felt she needed to use the scissors. I hope it stays that way :-)

      We're definitely making strides as she gets older. She's gotten so much better now with washing/conditioning her own hair. She still asks for help, but she's so much further now.

      I'm giving a little by embracing her input to how she'd like her hair done, but we haven't fully ventured into styling on her own. We have a few years yet for that.

      Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll be back soon!

      -Danielle

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