Hair Nightmares

As parents we want our children to be happy and healthy, we want what is best for our kids, but sometimes situations arise and we are at a loss as to what to do. We all make mistakes, no one is perfect. We all need guidance and resources at some point. I strive to provide guidance when it comes to hair care through information, stories, tips, and how to’s. A mother recently came to me for some advice on her daughters’ relaxed hair, I asked for permission to share her story on the blog, in hopes of reaching out to others who have problems with their children and their hair.

Lilli in the AM Oct 2003_2

My willful daughter, Patrice, is 9 years old. She is one feisty, fiery red-head! We have hair nightmares!  She is so stubborn! She also has ADHD and Anxiety so she is super impulsive (cuts her own hair when she is bored) and worries nonstop about how she looks (even though she does silly stuff like cut her own hair!) When she was a toddler she would let me comb her hair out and braid it or twist it.

Lilli in the AM Oct 2003_2

Then she got older and started screaming and wiggling so much that I couldn’t hold her still enough to do anything. Her hair was so course that I couldn’t even get a comb through it. She was miserable. She hated her hair and begged to have straight hair. I read so many books to her about natural hair, tried to help her say “I love my Hair.” We got picture books full of styles she could choose from, but she still just couldn’t stand to look at herself. Our stylist is white with mixed kids and she trained under a black stylist. When they decided Patrice was old enough, they relaxed her hair. She hasn’t been natural ever since. She was 6 years old, when she got her first relaxer.

Now she is in a stage of freaking out any time I try to do anything to her hair. She won’t let me help brush it, she won’t let me put any product in it. She’s been seeing a lot of breakage as a result. We are just starting to get to a point where she’s letting me put some “slimy stuff” (as she calls it) in her hair again because I keep telling her that if she doesn’t she won’t have any hair left! She has an answer for that too–she says, “I’ll just cut it all off then and start growing my ‘fro back!”

Just last month I told our stylist that Patrice was talking about going back to natural. I need to look into options on how to make the transition go smoothly. I ordered all of the products you posted on your blog for after-swimming care and if she doesn’t let me put them in this summer, she might not have any relaxed hair left–it will all just break off and we can start over. That’s not how she wants to look, but it is what will happen if she doesn’t let me help her take care of her hair. Our bee mine luscious moisturizer just came in the mail yesterday. We also got her a satin pillow case since she refuses to sleep in a cap. She loves the pillow now and there was a difference in her hair right away–fewer knots! She says she is sure she wants to go back to natural, so I’ll be looking for more info.

 

I want to sincerely thank Jen for sharing her daughters hair story with us all. Is there anyone out there with a similar story? Can you provide any information, links, or tips for making the transition from relaxed to natural? Any advice to ensure that Patrice will stick to her decision to go back to natural and start to love and embrace her curls? Any tips for making hair time more enjoyable? Please add your comments below!

 

Do you have any “hair nightmares” you would like advice, information or tips on? Would you like to share your story in hopes of reaching out and inspiring others? Contact me for more details.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Shay says:

    i mean this is the nicest way possible, i really do. but for the life of me i can't understand how a child refuses to “let you” take care of them even if it's just their hair?

    as harsh as it may seem, my children don't have a choice in certain matters. i don't rule with an iron fist, but if i know something is not good for them, i'm not going to do it, no matter how much they scream and complain.

    i think just because the stylist has mixed children and was “trained under a black stylist” doesn't mean they know “biracial hair”. biracial hair comes in all different shades, textures, and curl patterns. i think to really understand biracial hair you have to work with a broad range of hair types of all different races.

    maybe i sometimes get slightly offended by things like this because i'm biracial myself. =/

    but, with that being said, i'd recommend you check out curlynikki.com and up top you can see transitioners and “big chops”. there's also a forum, curlynikkiforums.com with a section for transitioning. from what i've read, moisture is the key and it's not always an easy process. from what i understand, sometimes the relaxed hair has a mind of it's own and can sometimes mat up from the 2 different textures.

    i hope she has a smooth transition because she's got a lot working for her. she's a beautiful little girl and her color is TO DIE FOR! the fact that she doesn't want to see her hair break off is a good sign. best of luck to you guys!

  2. Michelle G says:

    Such a beautiful girl…I really hope that her mom and her can find some common ground where she can take care of her hair. As a mother of a child with ADHD I understand all too well the challenges she faces with how things feel to her daughter, my son is almost an adult and still struggles with the way things feel. I can only pray that things get better for both of them across the board.

  3. Kandy says:

    Here is my advice,
    Her hair is breaking because she is not allowing you to properly care for it. Relaxed hair needs plenty of moisture and a proper balance of protein, in order for her hair to grow. If she is not letting you add products to her hair, and she is not letting you comb her hair. It will just continue to fall/break off. Now, even if she is natural she still needs a proper balance of moisture and protein. The situation will still be the same. What would be the difference?
    I normally recommend children staying and being natural. But with your situation, I would keep a relaxer. ONLY, because if she doesn't allow you to put moisturizer or comb her hair, now that it's relaxed. I can imagine the struggle to not only add moisture, and protein, to natural hair, but you would have to add the longer process of detangling. Which from what you said, I don't think she will tolerate that. My daughter is natural, and it is more time consuming than having relaxed hair. Here are the steps I use for her hair.
    1.)I finger detangle with her hair coated in conditioner,
    2.) Next, I detangle with a wide tooth comb.
    3.) Then I detangle with a finer tooth comb.
    4.) I add a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer.
    5.) Next, I add a oil like coconut.
    6.) Finally, I either band or braid her hair to stop it from tangling.
    Now, I do steps 2-6 daily!
    Now, here is my little sisters relaxed regimen,(I also care for her hair.)
    1.) Detangle with a wide tooth comb.
    2.) Comb with a finer tooth comb.
    3.) Add a moisturizer.
    4.) Wrap her hair at night, or just have her sleep on a satin pillowcase.
    *5.) Every few days I add coconut oil to stop dryness. And once every few months she gets a touch-up relaxer.
    As you can see, there was less to do, even though chemicals aren't healthy, and Im pro-natural/healthy. I'm honestly looking at your situation as if I was in your shoes. My younger sister who is relaxed has autism, and my nephew does too. My brother has ADD/ADHD and schizophrenia. So I know firsthand how difficult it is to get kids with mental disabilities to do something they don't want too. I would try the reward system and I would reward her with a lolipop or something she enjoys whenever she let's me do her hair. Or put on her favorite movie, or let her enjoy her snack while you try to add your hair products. I wish you all the best in your decision!
    Kandy
    http://kandylandkurls.blogspot.com

  4. Thanks so much ladies for providing your insight! I hope we can help Jenn and Patrice through their hair journey!

  5. @Shay-first, thanks for mentioning curlynikki.com! I checked it out and there is a lot of great info there! I also wanted to tell you more about how my daughter acts when I try to help with her hair: she is violent. She hits, kicks, and punches me. She has put holes in the wall and thrown things at her siblings. I have had to literally drag her to school while she kicks and screams because she is so upset about me touching her head that she refuses to go. We have tried so many things to help her (that's a whole other story, unrelated to hair.) In my opinion, it is not a fight that is worth having every day. It is hard to watch such a beautiful girl turn into that violent person. To me, it's more important that she still be someone who wants to hug and love her family than she be someone with perfect hair. I hope someday we get it all together so that she can be happy & loving AND have healthy hair!

    @Michelle G THANK YOU! It means so much to me to know that there are other people out there who know how hard it can be.

    @Kandy THANK YOU! You are the first person to say it might be okay to keep on relaxing her hair IF she doesn't let me help her take care of it. I know it's not as healthy for her, but until now it has been the only way we have been able to make it through each day. I really appreciate you sharing your routine and your ideas for making hair time easier. I will try to put a new daily routine and reward system together so that she will always know what to expect and what she will get out of it. Things are easier now that school is out for summer and maybe we can get the routine to stick during the school year, too.

  6. Jen says:

    @Shay-first, thanks for mentioning curlynikki.com! I checked it out and there is a lot of great info there! I also wanted to tell you more about how my daughter acts when I try to help with her hair: she is violent. She hits, kicks, and punches me. She has put holes in the wall and thrown things at her siblings. I have had to literally drag her to school while she kicks and screams because she is so upset about me touching her head that she refuses to go. We have tried so many things to help her (that's a whole other story, unrelated to hair.) In my opinion, it is not a fight that is worth having every day. It is hard to watch such a beautiful girl turn into that violent person. To me, it's more important that she still be someone who wants to hug and love her family than she be someone with perfect hair. I hope someday we get it all together so that she can be happy & loving AND have healthy hair!@Michelle G THANK YOU! It means so much to me to know that there are other people out there who know how hard it can be. @Kandy THANK YOU! You are the first person to say it might be okay to keep on relaxing her hair IF she doesn't let me help her take care of it. I know it's not as healthy for her, but until now it has been the only way we have been able to make it through each day. I really appreciate you sharing your routine and your ideas for making hair time easier. I will try to put a new daily routine and reward system together so that she will always know what to expect and what she will get out of it. Things are easier now that school is out for summer and maybe we can get the routine to stick during the school year, too.

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  8. She is such a beautiful little girl! I totally understand struggling with a child with ADHD- my son has it too! But, I also dont give him or my daughter a choice about caring for their hair. Luckily, with my son I can just cut his hair if he ever rufuses to let me take care of it though. Sometimes C doesnt want her hair done either, but she either sits still and cooperates, or she wont have privelages like going outside to play, video games, movies or whatever until she does sit and cooperate with me to get her hair done. To a lot of people (especially my family) that seems mean, but honestly, you cant give a child a choice when it comes to their care and appearance. It would be like not making them take a bath when they throw a fit (in my opinion) My advice, and I hope this sweet little girls mother sees this, is to just keep insisting- give her rewards or bribe her if you have to, and when you do get anything done, be sure to make a really big deal about it! Start simple, with just a ponytail or 2 pigtails, and she will end up liking her hair done when she starts getting all those compliments and feels good about her hair. I had a friend with a biracial daughter who HATED even having her hair touched! But when she saw all the pretty ways my daughter, C wore her hair and all the compliments she got, she finally came around to letting me do her hair. Just make sure to be patient and gentle and you'll get there! :)

  9. @ Kandy, wow. You are amazing! That's a lot of hair and extenuating circumstances to deal with, you're like a hair warrior, kudos to you! And Jen, I'm really feeling for you. You must be so frustrated yet you understand the importance of proper hair care and you know you can't just sweep it under the rug. I don't have any experiene with ADHD or autism like Kandy. But I do have a little girl who doesn't always want to get haer hair combed. Pretty much like Shay I can just put my foot down with her and that'll be that. I just commend you for trying continously to help your daughter with her hair. And I think I agree with Kandy, that in this situation maybe the relaxer was a good call and alot easier on everyone, you know since natural hair is so much more work than relaxed hair. Since she doesn't like you applying product to her hair, do you think she would put in on by herself. Maybe if you modeled for her on your own hair what she needs to do, do you think she could or would be able to mimic in her own hair? Normally I'd think 9 is too young to care for her own hair. But it should be a little easier since it's relaxed, and if she's willing. My heart really goes out to you. I hope things improve for you both soon. I think Patrice's hair is so pretty :)

  10. @ Kandy, wow. You are amazing! That's a lot of hair and extenuating circumstances to deal with, you're like a hair warrior, kudos to you! And Jen, I'm really feeling for you. You must be so frustrated yet you understand the importance of proper hair care and you know you can't just sweep it under the rug. I don't have any experiene with ADHD or autism like Kandy. But I do have a little girl who doesn't always want to get haer hair combed. Pretty much like Shay I can just put my foot down with her and that'll be that. I just commend you for trying continously to help your daughter with her hair. And I think I agree with Kandy, that in this situation maybe the relaxer was a good call and alot easier on everyone, you know since natural hair is so much more work than relaxed hair. Since she doesn't like you applying product to her hair, do you think she would put in on by herself. Maybe if you modeled for her on your own hair what she needs to do, do you think she could or would be able to mimic in her own hair? Normally I'd think 9 is too young to care for her own hair. But it should be a little easier since it's relaxed, and if she's willing. My heart really goes out to you. I hope things improve for you both soon. I think Patrice's hair is so pretty :)

  11. oomph. says:

    so hard, the pressures on kids these days. i remember wanting the same things as a kid…what i didn't have! my hair was straight with a slight wave, i wanted it curly. my friends with curly hair wanted theirs straight! now i love my natural waves. i'm sure her natural curls are beautiful! hope that she will eventually realize this!

    found and following thru the hop :)
    rockoomph.blogspot.com

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  1. [...] of breakage. We asked fellow Multicultural Familia contributor, Brooke, for some help on her blog Untrained Hair Mom. We got some ideas about products to use for moisture and some styles to try. Unfortunately, [...]

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