Thanks again for all of the responses, I appreciate your time.
When we detangle, she washes her hair and then I slather conditioner through her hair and have her let it sit for 10 mins. Then I take a wide tooth comb (the best one I've found, having tried many, this one has wavy teeth) and start from the bottom as gently as I can. I can do it with very little pulling through the back, but it's very time consuming and I always seem to accidentally give a tug at the temple area and that sets her off. She doesn't like to sit through it.
I have tried multiple detanglers, and the only one that has worked is $20 for a tiny bottle and we still have to go through an extensive process with the comb.
Her hair is extremely thick (lots of it), but also very fine. It breaks whenever she wears the no-break elastics or scrunchies.
I have a Natural Instincts, I think we'll try that. The video about the buff is interesting.
I don't want to be one of those posters who asks a question and then doesn't listen to the advice
. But a couple of questions. If I've tried all of it and it's still a huge drama, is it reasonable for her to keep a rat's nest? She's almost 11, at what point should I not have to devote a lot of time to her hair? I've been running on the natural consequences (you won't do it yourself or willingly participate in me helping you), but she doesn't care. She was only slightly phased when a friend commented on a mat.
It seems similar to if she wanted her hair to be blue. I wouldn't want it to be blue, but it's her hair. Blue isn't permanent so the risk is low. I wouldn't want to look at her blue hair or particularly present to others as having a daughter with blue hair. But it's her hair. Substitute blue in all of the above and it's how I feel about the messy hair.
The reason I posted is that I've been trying to figure this out for quite a while, and want to respect my daughter but the tangle is bothering me (for years now). I'm not in a huge rush to resolve it right now, but was looking for feedback around strategies. I've been thinking about:
-detangle it now
-use the natural instincts
-spend 1-2 weeks brushing it for her at night to see if we can manage that (ie no fights) and hope that she likes having tidier hair consistently
-if that works, tell her that we need to make a decision in 1 or 2 weeks - either she can keep her own hair (ie willingly letting me brush it once a day or doing it herself) or we need to get a bob because the current set up is not sustainable.