Yesterday I shared how I made a huge mistake with my daughter’s hair. In a nutshell, I practically shellacked her hair with gel during the week to accommodate her daily swimming at summer camp. Unfortunately, by Friday her hair was a cemented, shriveled mass that was difficult to comb. When I suggested that my daughter wear her swim cap, she dissolved into tears and admitted that she didn’t wear it because she didn’t want to be teased. What in the world is a parent to do? How do you parent at such a sensitive moment?
Now, some folks may think that what I’m about to share is bad parenting; however, I think it’s important that we prepare our children for reality. No, not dash their innocence but help them understand that life is not all Disney and Chuck E. Cheese’s. We explained that Chase’s hair is unique in that while it loves water, it is best if her hair is combed out BEFORE it dries. This is different than the hair of the other children’s hair. She exclaimed, “That’s not fair! I want straight hair like them!” Wow, I feel you baby because I went through the same thing when I was young girl. However, I had to explain that as a little Black girl her hair will never be naturally straight because God blessed her with kinky, coily hair. The look on her face was classic, “Mommy that is bull. This is not a blessing.”
My husband and I then both shared with our daughter that teasing is inevitable. It’s not nice, it’s unfortunate, but everyone is teased about something. I was teased for my big feet (size 10 pre-pregnancy, size 10.5 – 11 post-pregnancy), my height (just under 6 feet), my long slim face you name it! Yes, we will intervene if teasing creates a hostile environment and we will NOT tolerate bullying; however, teasing is pretty much a part of life. We want our children to develop sufficient resilience and coping mechanisms to overcome such experiences.
So after all was said and done, what did I do? Well, I whipped out my phone and booked the first hair braiding appointment I could get! Braids can help protect the hair when swimming. I can’t wait to tell you all about our African hair braiding experience. What an adventure! J