As I was visiting one of the many natural hair sites I frequent, I came across a picture of a beautiful nine year old girl. She had just big chopped and was smiling from ear to ear. She seemed to “own” that hair style and her confidence was shining through. I was so proud of her for doing what many adults can’t seem to bring themselves to do. As happy as I was for her, in the back of my mind I kept hearing that little voice say, “not my baby.”
My daughter, Lauren, is nine years old as well. She is the sun to my moon and has me wrapped around her little finger. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her- except let her cut her hair. She is currently transitioning after having relaxed hair for four years. I put a relaxer in her hair to make it more presentable (so I thought at the time) and to make her hair more manageable, which was more beneficial for me. Well, since I big chopped on September 5, 2012 and have learned how to take care of my natural hair, I’ve decided to bring her on this journey with me as well.
So far, the transition has been great. However, she has been asking me to cut her hair so it can be like mine. At first I thought; “why not”? If I cut her hair, it would be easier for me to maintain. But again, that would be for my own benefit. I then begin to think about what it would be like for her at school if we cut her hair. Having a career in education, I know first-hand how cruel kids can be. So my motherly instincts kicked in and I told her no. I explained to her that when she is a little older, we can discuss it again but for now her hair was staying as is. I didn’t offer any rationale for my denial; I just told her I no- point, blank, period. I really didn’t think about whether or not it was fair to her. I just want to shield her from unnecessary cruelty and telling her no was my way of doing so.
At her age, telling her she couldn’t cut her hair wasn’t the end of the world. In my opinion, she’s more concerned about the singing group One Direction than she is about cutting her hair. I just hope that I am not sending her mixed messages. As she gets older, I don’t want her to agonize over cutting her hair to please those around her. I want her to be able to make decisions about her hair based on her feelings. I will continue to teach her to love herself and her hair but as for the big chop right now; the answer is no.