When I first began my hair journey, I was considering going natural, but for what reason other than a "style", I didn't have one.
- I didn't hate myself
- I saw growing long healthy relaxed hair was possible
- I did not have a daughter looking up to me.
Well every since I found out that Paisley was a girl, I went back and forth contemplating whether or not I should transition. Hearing naturals say that they transitioned for their daughters, to teach them to love their hair, it is admirable. After all, who wants their child to have self esteem issues? What mother wouldn't give the world for their child, much less their hair.
So what was stopping me? Well mostly the fact that transitioning is HARD...I would never BC, and long term transitioning is just plain old hard if you can't commit to protective styles. So with every relapse to the texlax/relaxer I would try to make myself feel better by trying to convince myself that my hair has no reflection upon her self esteem.
My husband said it best "Just explain to her that she can't do what grown ups do." In saying that my choice to relax my hair or wear it straight, is a decision that I can knowledgeably make as an adult, she can not.
Although that made a lot of sense, I couldn't help but think, "When she looks up at mommy, she will see beauty. She will look up to me, want to look like me...I do matter in her perception of what is beautiful!"
That thought haunted me like a ghost.....UNTIL,
until, I put that thought along with my husband's statement: "She will look up to me, want to look like me. BUT she can not do things that grown ups do."
When she looks up to me, she won't just see straight hair, she will see high heels, she will see make up, and a wine glass :-)
If I were natural, she would want to wear lipstick like mommy, wear high heels like mommy, things that mommy chooses to wear, just like mommy chooses to straighten her hair. Paisley can not yet make those same choices.
However, I do still matter in her perception of what is beautiful, I can and will still have an impact on how she will feel about her own hair.
As parents we have to always be conscious of the things that we say and attitude that we project to any aspect of our kids lives, they pick up on that and gravitate to those same attitudes. We are all they know, we are their truth, of course they adopt our beliefs, thoughts and even opinions.
I was relaxed by my mom at like 4 or 5...have no recollection of my natural hair type, or even what it was like to get it combed, but I always grew up thinking that I had "bad" or unmanageable hair. To this day, I battle myself telling myself that I must be a 4B, for my mom to have relaxed it, even though my new growth looks close to those that are 4A....it is just engraved in my brain that I have "real ni**a hair...."yes that is what was said to me as a child.
So my point in saying all of that is that if you display a positive attitude about your children's hair, they too, will see it in a positive light.
- Propery comb/manipulate it.
- Use proper hair utensils designed for their hair type.
Use head bands or ponytail holders that will not easily tangle.
- Develop a set regimen to maintain manageability.
- DON'T CALL IT NAPPY!
My aunt will say to them "Ohh you got some nappy a$$ hair", or to me...in front of them.
One day my oldest asked me why is his hair so nappy. He has a high top cut or whatever it is called, and it has to be picked out every morning. When he asked me that, I felt bad. He is my son, to me he is perfect...and I want him to see that in himself, so to contribute any part of himself a negative, just plain old hurt me.
I explained to him right then and there that his hair was not nappy, that it was just really curly, and sometimes the curls can get snagged on the comb or pick and that is why we have to take our time picking it out.
I can't say that he has mentioned it since then, but I hope I shut out any negative thoughts about himself and/or his hair.
- Listen to your child and their hair.
If there are styles that they tend to dislike, even if you like it mom, perhaps your child doesn't see it as being so complementive.
If you are combing and your child is jumping, clutching, or tensing up, you need a new method. It hurts...stop reevaluate your techniques!
As I mentioned earlier do not have "One size fits all products." If using one product seems to make their hair hard or dry, ditch it, and try a different a product.
Bottom line: Whether relaxed or natural, if you love your daughters hair, they will love it as well, you teach them to be proud and they will.!
Are you relaxed? Natural? How does your daughter respond to your hair? How have you helped or hindered the process?