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Curly Nikki

You’ve Got Mail- Reader Chronicles

By January 27th, 202117 Comments

You've Got Mail- Reader Chronicles

by Tammy Goodson of Curlychics

The relationship between women and their hair is a complex one. It is linked to self esteem, and to some it is a powerful indicator of identity as well as a major physical attribute. As such it is a very personal and touchy topic. This dynamic is particularly interesting because it involves an impressionable young child and an outside influence. Check out this scenario.

Dear CC,

I’m recently divorced and my ex husband and I have a 6 year old daughter. Dealing with a divorce is difficult enough but dealing with your child being around “daddy’s new girlfriend” is another thing. This woman, who I’ve only met a few times, decides to tell my daughter that her hair is “so nappy” and that her mother needs to “slap a perm in her hair!” Now imagine the look on my face when my daughter recites this to me. A few things go through my head:

1. This b*&%H said what?! *takes off earrings* and
2. How dare this chick talk to my child in this manner!
I have since calmed down but want to know your opinion on this. I am transitioning myself and to be honest, sometimes I have mixed feelings about the whole natural thing. My daughter has never had a relaxer.

My Response:

Dear Frustrated Mom,

It sounds like a few things need to happen:

1. Sit down with your daughter and talk to her about what has taken place. Explain to her that she and her hair are gorgeous and that sometimes people say unkind things about things they don’t understand. Reiterate to her that not everyone can appreciate true natural beauty and that’s what both she and mommy have. This is about as detailed as I would go with a 6 year old but you know your daughter’s level of comprehension and can discern if more is necessary. Follow up with plenty of hugs and kisses to reinforce positive feelings! These types of comments are hurtful to an adult so imagine the possible effects on a small child.

2. Talk to your ex about the comment. It is important that the two of you are on the same page regarding how to handle issues that arise with YOUR daughter. You and he are the decision makers in her life and anyone who undermines that is not worthy of being in either one of their lives. Parenting is difficult enough, especially from two different households, yet alone trying to build relationships with new partners. I would impress upon him to remind the new girlfriend to remain respectful of you and your daughter and learn to censor herself when it comes to conversations with your daughter. Particularly if it is something condemning her mother.

3. If you feel it necessary to speak to her directly, which depends on a lot of other factors which I’m not sure about from your email, then do so. Politely but firmly explain to her that the comments concerning your daughter’s hair were hurtful to her and disrespectful to you. Explain that you would appreciate future concerns to be directed at her father and or you and not your daughter.

I personally do not feel it is necessary to go into explaining your daughter’s hair and your choice to not relax her hair. It’s really none of her business and not something that you have to justify to her or anyone for that matter. I also do not feel you have to come “at her” to get your point across. If this woman is going to be around your child, it would be helpful for all involved to get along but at the same time, let her know to STAY IN HER LANE. Hopefully she is mature enough to hear you and will respect what you are saying and this will be nipped in the bud. Good Luck!

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook


  • Rebwar says:

    In addition to the author's advice, I think it's important to make sure that the 6 year old knows that NO ONE is allowed to alter her hair (relaxer, wash, style, etc.) without her Mother's consent. The child needs to know that it's OK to say NO. Unless a “hair related action” is expressly approved by Mom – her hair is off limits.

    The Mother should set this expectation with her daughter – and should also verbalize it (repeatedly, if necessary) to all of the child’s care-givers. This way Mom's message should not be misinterpreted by anyone. Besides reinforcing "Mom's rule", this can also help strengthen the child's resolve to say NO to those who might attempt to manipulate her into letting them "do" her hair. The young lady will not only be aware of her Mom’s expectations, she’ll also know that her Mom supports her and gives her permission to say NO to anyone who may try this tactic.

    (Obviously, Mom and Dad need to be 'on the same page' for this plan to work best.)

  • Jeannette says:

    Tammy…great advice! I find it sad that the Fathers new girlfriend said such mean things to that little girl and I'm glad that the ex-wife handled this situation with maturity and tact. Divorces are already hard enough, arguing with the new girlfriend/boyfriend or ex won't make it any better. I'm seeing someone who has a child with his ex and I would NEVER disrespect the child or the ex-wife. As a matter of fact, I adore his child like I adore my own nieces/nephews and I like his ex-wife, think she's a wonderful person but I do think that people need to be aware of the things that come out of their mouths, especially when talking to children. Again, great advice Tammy! 🙂

  • Jeannette says:

    @Anonymous 9:35pm…you are so right…My Bad :).

  • Anonymous says:

    Some of the commenters seem to think this is Nikki's advice. I believe the advice is coming from Tammy Goodson of Curlychics, who wrote the article.

  • Anonymous says:

    SMDH as hard as I can. I say do what Nikki says to do, talk to your daughter and then talk to your ex. It is important that the BOTH of YOU (your ex and yourself) are the important factors in your daughter's life and your input is the one that she hears and know that counts. How dare that woman say those things, and if your ex is not offended he should be and hopefully he also talk with your daughter and tell how very beautiful her and her hair is. My ex's fiancee told my son he is lucky that his father does all that he does because there are some kids whose fathers are not present and does nothing for them. I was steaming and he made it worse saying she was coming from a place of being a single parent who didn't get any help from the her ex husband with their kids. I had to let him know what she and her kids went through had nothing to do with me and mine (ours). She started some mess once telling him I was hurting my son by giving him allergy and asthma medicines that the doctor prescribed, she told him I'm giving him too much medicine. Now he's been with the same doctor since birth and they have all of his records, they know all of the medications he is on and how they interact with each other. She had him convinced that I was killing our son so I told them to take him to the doctor themselves and see what they say about what he's taking and why. She also said that I sent him to his house with dirty clothes, I am not the type my whites are that true white not dingy white. I couldn't wait for him to come home so that I could see exactly what they were talking about now I'm very clean and organized and I take care in washing our clothes. I see the pants and there was nothing wrong with them, he saw there was nothing wrong with them so now we don't have these conversations anymore. She wants to be the best woman he's ever had so in order to be that she has to say I'm not being a good mother which is untrue. My family knows this, my friends know this and his family knows it and he use to but he forgets himself until I point things out and ask so what are you talking about. I'm not on speaking terms with her since she told my son that, until they are married I only deal with him because it is always something and at this point I'm not with him and I'm not trying to be with him so I let them be but I correct any misconceptions as they come up.

  • Jami says:

    I sooo agree with: "You and he are the decision makers in her life and anyone who undermines that is not worthy of being in either one of their lives." This is what it all goes back to. The girlfriend should have said NOTHING to the little girl but only to the father. But if the father was not going to tell the mother anonymously as if it was his own thought (which is another article) but says "girlfriend said….," which is very likely, then the girlfriend should probably keep it to herself unless she is bold and mature enuf to talk to the mother directly and not have any go-between.

    I do NOT agree with: "If you feel it necessary to speak to her directly…then do so," "It’s really none of her business" and "let her know to STAY IN HER LANE". With the first statement, you did qualify it, but since the girlfriend was wrong in the First place to say what she did to whom she said it to, I would not under any circumstances advise some kind of reply and keep the ball rolling on something sooo wrong in the first place. I would tell my ex-husband and keep it moving. It is only the first infraction, from what can be gleaned from the letter, but if it's not, still I wouldn't honor such a diss directly. The 2nd and 3rd statements are so childish, in my opinion. People are going to do and say what they want including getting all up in yours, and you can tell them what you think about them saying it in the First place but it has already been said and these two statements are not going to keep it from happening again. Yes, there are consequences to saying and doing what you want. In regard to words, it is possible that people will shut you out of their lives. In my opinion, positive feedback and criticism are REQUIRED at all times when a child is involved in someone's life even if it's not their child. It takes a village to raise one, and if you want someone to not only blindly honor your decisions concerning a child in your custody and support your authority but to also understand the decisions you should welcome feedback And if it does not involve a child but something comes to one's attention, one can find a "non-rude" way to say what is on their mind.

    Does this mean that sometimes you probably should just not say certain things b/c no matter how you say it the "what" is just rude and uncalled for? Sure. But I think the tack should be at discussing the motivation behind what and how something was said, which is always the essence of words and actions: the underlying intention (however, an intention that is both unspoken and unacted upon are reallly not important to get to the bottom of, in my opinion, which I've witnessed aaaaallooooot of people do, jus sayin).


  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Nikki. Had a hair situation with my ex-husband's new girlfriend (who later became his wife) handled it by sternly talking to him about it. I let him know why it was unacceptable. The truth is the husband may not know what was said or he may not have seen as being offensive, who knows. But anyway I talked to my ex-husband and let him know that I strongly suggest that he sit his new woman down and talk to her about the issue making sure she doesn't cross the line again. I told him that if he didn't "handle it" the next time I will have a stern talk with her. Needless to say, he "handled it">>>CY1023

  • Jeannette says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Jeannette says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Candace4life says:

    So sad that little girl should be having fun and not worrying about this stuff at this age. It was definitely wrong of the new g/f to say such mean stuff to her. Humph, if that would have been my child, I would have called the ex hubby and cussed him out. Then I would have got a family member to babysit my child, while I went over to his house and berated him someone, and if the new g/f happened to be over there as well. Then I would have let her arse have it as well, don't mess with a mama and her cub and thick you won't come out unscathed. Sometimes turning the other cheek and being nice is ok, but when you come at my child who is 6yrs old that's a no no.. All I can say is just let your beautiful little girl know that her hair is perfect the way it is, and that's all that matters.

  • NaturallyME says:

    This shows pure ignorance on the "new girl's" part. As a black woman, she of all people should understand that our hair is something we value. To tell this to a child is upsetting to me b/c at such a young age, she is and will be influenced by a lot of what she hears and/or sees. I agree that the mother needs to sit down with her daughter and make sure she understands that her hair does not make her regardless of the state its in – natural or permed, and that she is beautiful inside and out. Then confront the father about this statement made to his daughter. If he allows the "new girl" to speak to his daughter in such a manner, then what kind of example is he setting?? Lastly, but very much so important, set the "new girl" straight!! She needs to respect the mother, the daughter, and whatever she decides to do with her daughter's hair!!!

  • Jay-Jay says:

    LOL…..I'm totally with Anon @ 11:53

    My family members have said stuff like that to my daughter and I've checked them like there was no tomorrow….lol They haven't said anything about her hair to her or around me again. It irks me how someone can say stuff like that to ANYONE, child or an adult. I mean even if someone feels like they look polished, there's always something someone may not like about your look. So check yourself baby.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes i agree with sonya. If that "new" girlfriend is already so harsh now and she just stepped in the picture. What else would she say or do? Believe me when I was nine years old my stepmother gave me my first perm. Now she never said damn that girls hair is nappy but she was probably thinking it. I traveled from md to nc natural and came back with a perm. My mom was so mad but there was nothing she could do to reverse it. My hair broke off badly because my mom did not have the funds to keep up with 6-8 week touchups.

  • Anonymous says:

    Good advice.

  • Sonya says:

    LOL!@ Anonymous. Ditto everything you said. I'll add this, though. Not only were the girlfriend's comments unacceptable and hurtful, but they were hostile. I am a mother and a step-mother, and if that were my six-year old baby, she would return to my house until that woman left her Daddy's house. You can't un-ring a bell. That girlfriend's hostile comments are indicative of much deeper hostility that is irrevocable. Parent's need to choose mates who can, at least, "pretend" to love their children.

  • Anonymous says:

    Absolutely not! I would have been half ready to whoop that lady's a$$ talkin to my child like that and I don't even have children lol. That's unacceptable. I bet she didn't say it in front of the dad and if she did say it in front him and he didn't correct her, Daddy needs a nice a$$ whoopin as well. I think the advice given was great but sheeeeesh idk if I could be as calm about the situation. It goes beyond hair at that point. That woman is basically telling the little girl that she isn't as pretty and needs to change something/be ashamed of her appearance and you just don't project that kind of negative energy on kids.

  • Annabel says:

    This made me so sad. I don't know the person nor the situation, but no responsible and humane adult should go around blurting things like that to a young impressionable child. Wonderful tips, I hope that through dialogue this type of thing won't happen again.

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