This question was posted in one of my many FB hair groups? It made me think. I have had instances where I’ve had to tell my daughter’s father not to let anyone add heat to my daughter’s hair for any reason and by no means is he to allow someone to relax her hair. I am very specific with the “dos and do nots” of my daughter’s hair care. As a matter of fact, I am so adamant about it that I usually braid her hair up before she leaves me for any extended amount of time just to assure no one messes with her hair.
She is old enough now to understand what she has to do to maintain her hair while it is in extensions/protective styles so she keeps her product line on deck at all times. She knows that she has to shampoo her hair after getting out of a pool, follow it up with a leave-in conditioner, light oil and she has a daily moisturizer. I had to drill this into her head because her father’s family all have relaxers. They even have that….you’re only pretty if….. (you know the rest) syndrome.
But to answer the question of what would I do if someone relaxed her hair without my permission – I WOULD SNAP! Press charges if possible for assault, risk of injury to a minor, attempted scalp burn, attempted murder/manslaughter (for the many disorders/diseases relaxers have been found to cause in woman of color), cruelty to children, stolen identity…..ALL OF THE ABOVE!
It is my stance as her mother to let my daughter know that she is perfect in her own skin, to teach her the beauty of her hair as God gave it to her, show her how to manage it and cultivate it…AND TO KNOW THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BAD AND/OR UNMANAGEABLE HAIR. I have told her that no matter what people say to her with regards to beauty and her natural hair, she is to look in the mirror and always recognize the beauty in herself. I teach her to be confident in her skin; to not follow the norm and to set her own standards of beauty for herself; to take pride in her appearance, keep her hair groomed and healthy, love her hair, style her hair in a way that reflects who she is as an individual. When confusion sets in and she is looking to identify herself with someone else, she is to look to other beautiful natural women. Best of all, my baby girl doesn’t believe the hype when she hears people say that you are only pretty if you have long straight hair.
I wish someone would relax my daughter’s hair. They will have hell on their hands. She just recently made the decision to wear locs. I am so proud of my 11-year old for making that decision on her own. One day she may make the decision to relax her hair (I pray she doesn’t) but if she does, it won’t be because she lacks self-confidence, doubts her beauty, or because she follows the norm.
I just asked her what she would do if her grandmother or anyone else tried to relax her hair and she said “I will tell them not to. I don’t care how mad they get or what they say. I don’t want that mess in my hair.” Her mother’s child she is.