When I was a child I always wanted long and flowing hair. I loved to play dress up and put on my wigs from Halloween and pretend that I was a princess. I wore braids most of the time and every now and again my mom would relax my hair with every young black girl’s favorite, Just For Me kit.
I never really felt self-conscious about my hair until I developed a bald spot in eighth grade after a bad relaxer and using too much gel. My hair was probably to my shoulders, a decent length compared to many of my struggling friends. So when that bald spot happened and I had to side swoop my bangs for a few months until it grew back, I knew I had to ditch the relaxer and go natural. My mom went natural around the same time and started to rock twists and straw sets. She never talked about hair being good or bad. You had what God gave you and you learned to work with it.
I cringe every time I hear someone use the term “good hair”– a degrading statement used far too often in the black community. To me, “good hair” is healthy hair that grows and is an expression of who you are. As black women, our hair is our crown and an extension of who we are: queens, mothers, our ancestors and God. That’s what I plan on telling my daughter. Take the time out to teach your daughters how to love and care for their natural hair. Instill the confidence in them that they are beautiful and to wear their crown proudly with a few tips to help:
- Mirror affirmations – Stand your daughter in the mirror and point out to her how beautiful she is and how beautiful her hair is. Use descriptive words like “your curls are soft and pretty”, “your hair is long and thick”, “you have hair just like your grandmother who was a special woman”.
- Picture perfect – Take pictures with your daughter of silly hairstyles you both can create with your hair. Show your daughter versatility and creativity with her hair. Save the pictures in a scrap book or frame in her bedroom to show quality time with mom she will remember.
- Hair care tots – Let your child touch, feel and do their own hair. Show them how to use a comb on their hair, apply product and style their hair. Let them get familiar with their tresses and ow to properly care for it. They’ll love the independence!
Do you have any tips or advice for teaching your child how to love their hair? What do you do with your little ones at home?