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Hair care - whose decision? (10 year old)

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
DD is almost 11. She has long, straight, thick hair. Which she only brushes in the car - you know, the once over in the parts that give no resistance. As a result, it's a rat's nest most of the time. About every two weeks I have her slather conditioner on it and I work out all of the tangles (it's washed more often than this, I'm just referring to working the tangles out). Last week, I couldn't get two mats out of it at all in the time our patience would allow.

My preference is that she get it cut into a bob, which she's always been more successful at keeping tidy. She wants to grow it longer.

I don't know which course to take. On the one hand, it's her head and her business. On the other hand, if she's not able to manage this independently then maybe she needs help, and help could look like cutting it to a length that she can handle.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 51
No advice, just a story. My 21 year old daughter still remembers (and brings up) the time when she was 6 and I had the beautician cut her hair to MY preference. I have always been of the opinion that it's just hair and grows back - she was traumatized and will only allow her hair to be trimmed in millimeters. Hair is a very personal thing.

I do sympathize with you about the messy hair.
post #3 of 51
I put my foot down. You take care of it or it gets cut.

Your dd is old enough to take care of it, but IMO she is young enough to need reminders. Also she still might need help knowing how to do it correctly. Allow enough time in the morning to do it.
post #4 of 51
IMO it's her choice. Try putting conditioner in it more often. If 2 weeks is the only time all the tangles are getting out it's going to be hard. Once a week should be the longest.

You can also see if she'll let you braid it at night to help with the tangles.
post #5 of 51
She may still need help w. her hair. At 10 she really shouldnt be leaving (im guessing for school) w. out having her hair 'done'. You may need to reschedule the morning to set aside 5 mins to help her brush and fix her hair to get ready. My son is 9 and there are mornings I still need to run the brush through his head.

Instead of working against her on this, can you work with her? Fix the hair in the AM and brush it before bed?
post #6 of 51
Maybe if you leave it long but get some layers put in it woul dbe more manageable.
post #7 of 51
Why is it only getting the tangles out every 2 weeks? I'm not asking this to be judgemental or snarky, genuinely curious. My dd has hair that tangles like crazy (and curly on top of that) and she's very tender headed. We normally wash it every other night and brush it out in the shower while the conditioner's still in. That's just a requirement for her hair. I'd let your dd decide how to keep her hair styled, but definitely work on a better plan for the two of you on keeping it nice. Maybe braid it at night so mornings are just an easy brush out?
post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post
No advice, just a story. My 21 year old daughter still remembers (and brings up) the time when she was 6 and I had the beautician cut her hair to MY preference. I have always been of the opinion that it's just hair and grows back - she was traumatized and will only allow her hair to be trimmed in millimeters. Hair is a very personal thing.

I do sympathize with you about the messy hair.
I had a similar experience to your DD. My mom cut my hair short for a few years when I was 6-9. I didn't like it, but I also wasn't traumatized. I think I understood that it had to be easier to care for, b/c mom & I didn't have the patience to keep it tangle-free. Once I was 9 or 10, I started taking care of it myself, keeping it brushed, etc., and was able to grow it long again. I have alternated between long and short every few years since then.

Just wanted to share a kid's non-trauma side of a similar situation. Not to diminish your DD's trauma or anything.
post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies .

I used to be involved with her hair more often, but she's become more resistant. She doesn't want to do it. She's a very sensitive person and the process really bothers her. She pulls a lot of attitude about it and I'll confess that I've just been letting it slide.

She's a bear in the morning and it's only when she's in the car on the way to school that she realizes she's going to see her peers shortly and tries to get it together. Her current solution is a scrunchie.

I think a reasonable thing to try is the night time brushing, when she's less owly. I've been trying to get her to think of it as brush your teeth/wash your face/brush your hair but she just isn't adopting the habit. Tomorrow I'll get the tangles out and then we'll start an every night brush out.

We've previously tried silk pillows and braids, but she hates the process of braiding.
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

Instead of working against her on this, can you work with her? Fix the hair in the AM and brush it before bed?
That's why I posted, because I want to work with her and respect her as a person, but she's just really resistant to anything to do with her hair.

The reason it's 2 weeks is that that's as often as I can usually get her to let me detangle it. She's become REALLY, REALLY resistant to dealing with it, which is what's leading to the state it's in.
post #11 of 51
Mothercake, we agree. Getting a forced or "wrong" haircut doesn't have to be a traumatizing experience, and for 9 out of 10 of us, it isn't. It's that 10th person you really have to worry about!

What I resorted to was that No more Tangles spray they market for little kids. She sprayed and got the tangles out, so no one had to touch her hair but her. She battled her hair first, before she ate breakfast and got dressed, so her hair had plenty of time to dry. If hats had been allowed at school she would have worn them every day rather than bother with her fine, static-ey, knotted up hair!
post #12 of 51
I think that you can either insist that she cut her hair short, or insist that she accept your help in learning to take care of her hair. Taking proper care of her hair is a reasonable expectation to have of an 10 year old. Taking proper care of long hair by herself might not be.

If the process is painful, maybe you/she aren't going about it the right way. (It depends on her type of hair). I don't know if you've ever had long hair; for many types of long hair, the only ok thing is a wide toothed comb, starting from the bottom and very very slowly working your way up. that means, comb an inch, or less, then comb up another inch. If the comb gets caught, start lower. Go slow. the comb should not be getting caught or yanked through. Each tangle should be gently teased out. When the hair is combed out, depending on her hair type, you could consider a brush. Not until then, or it will hurt and damage the hair.

Some types of hair can handle many different brushes, but really only after the tangles have been combed out. If she has tangly hair, it can't handle being combed from the top, or even the middle. It will cause breakage and look horrible.

Honestly, I say that the best bet is brushing it at night, bunning or braiding it, then it should be easy to deal with in the morning. Have you talked about why she doesn't like braiding, and maybe what you can do to change that? Do you braid tight and it pulls? Do you braid loose and it's poofy and irritating? A braid or bun will protect her hair from breakage, and keep it tangle free. You wouldn't beleive the amount of tangledness some people (me, and others I'm sure) can get with a single night of sleep.

I remember no more tangles worked wonders when my mom used to deal with our long tangly hair as kids. I think the same results can be had by diluting conditioner with water and putting it in a spray bottle.
post #13 of 51
Perhaps a trim and a consultation with a hairdresser? 1 inch off the bottom, plus all the hairdresser's tips on care of long hair might help? Then when you go back in 2 months, she can decide if she wants to continue with her long hair plan or try something else.
My hair's pretty fine and can tangle. I use a big toothed comb in the shower with the conditioner to detangle. It works much better than anything else I've tried. I even found a comb with a hooked handle that's made for the shower.
I get worse tangles if I braid the hair - it really snarls up at the nape of my neck. I use a Buff - Link to Site - I wear it tubed all the way down my hair and it helps a ton. Another solution is to ponytail it and put a scrunchie every 3-4" down the pony tail. It's hard to play without getting snarls.
One final thought - something like Natural Instincts hair dye might help. It comes in clear, coats the hair shaft, and washes out after 28 shampoos. It can coat the hair and make it less snarly.
post #14 of 51
I have had this issue with my DD and it's maddening. Thick fine hair that tangles so easily!
On one hand, yes. It's her hair. On the other, personal hygiene and simple grooming are not too much to ask. I wanted to set it up so it wouldn't be overwhelming for her keep her hair neat but still allow her choice on the length. (My mom made me wear my hair really short my whole childhood and I hated her for it.)
Our stylist helped out by having DD brush her hair and then the two agreed that she would cut it to the length that her arm could reach. That made it much easier to brush. Also, as goofy as it sounds, she recommended a satin pillow case. It doesn't tangle hair at night as much as cotton ones.
I asked our stylist for solutions but didn't ask her to have a specific outcome..i.e. "convince her to cut it short"
post #15 of 51
Thread Starter 
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.
post #16 of 51
I agree with a pp who suggested layers! My dd hair is think and fine and the layering takes out a lot of weight without losing length. It is so mush easier to comb and it looks great!
post #17 of 51
Quote:
We've previously tried silk pillows and braids, but she hates the process of braiding.
are you french braiding or just braiding the long part? It should take no more than 5 mintues to braid her hair. It doesn't have to be neat, just controlled.

Quote:
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.
The conditioner does NOT have to be left in for 10 minutes. Have her wash her hair(make sure ALL the shampoo is getting out). Put conditioner in her hair & rinse it out. The rinsing of it will help move it through. Sitting in a tub(and getting cold) to have the hair worked through would suck & I'd hate it too.

The reason it takes so long is becuase it's being left so long between de-tangling. On average we loose 100 hairs a day, if the hair is not being de-tangled then alot of those hairs are stuck in her tangled hair making around 1000 extra hairs tangled up amongst the hair that is still attached to the head.

Are the sides of her hair as tangly? If not it will be easier to start at the sides & work your way to the back.
Quote:
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.
what do you fear of the blue hair? Do you think people will think badly of YOU for having a dd with blue hair? Is it a reflection of you? It's her hair & therefore it's about her, not about you. She is the one who has to deal with the peer fallout of going to school with messy hair AND she is realizing that(combing it in the car & just putting a scrunchy in it).

What I would do(and what I do with my 9yo dd who has curly long hair she doesn't like to comb) is Sunday night I de-tangle. It is up to her the rest of the week to comb it. Sunday night we redo it. The problem with my dd's hair is it's much curlier UNDER her hair & she doesn't like to comb that hair so she mostly combs the sides & the top layer of the back.

If she gets sick of it she'll either A) take care of it more often or B) cut it off. Until then de-tangle it more often & let her deal with it.
post #18 of 51
Quote:
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.
My 9 y.o. daughter didn't care, either. And so I DID give up. And the rat at the base of her neck got huge: 4 inches wide and 2 inches thick? I was holding my breath. Waiting with faith. I was a very self conscious mom about it, but I managed to keep quiet. Well, there was that time I just had to explain to my girlfriend that I was actually aware that dd had a huge rat's nest at the base of her neck, but that I was choosing to do nothing about it. Dd finally got so uncomfortable she agreed to let me cut it out (11 y.o.). We got her a nice hair cut to blend in the chopped locks and she's taken excellent care of her hair ever since. She's 15 y.o.

I have a theory that my daughter was going through an important transition from unselfconscious, genderless childhood to more observant, responsible womanhood. I think she was rebelling a little bit, not wanting to have to 'deal' with it quite yet. I sympathize. It's scary and nerve wracking.

Quote:
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.
I think whatever you choose to do you need to do it with kindness and genuine respect for her. I first tried a half-hearted commitment to 'natural consequences' but then couldn't help but make little frustrated comments to daughter (and dh) about her hair. She didn't take any better care of her hair, and I just got angrier.

I tried again and committed to truly holding my tongue. I had to separate myself from her a bit. And I had to be really patient, because it took longer than I'd hoped. But like I said, dd finally got uncomfortable. When the decision was completely in her hands the whole process went much smoother.

And I believe, I hope, I strengthened our relationship.
post #19 of 51
What about what it says in the book "How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk"?

It suggests sitting down with your daughter with a paper and pen. Saying something like, "Let's try to think of some solutions to our hair situation." And then whatever suggestion she comes up with write it down. Write yours down too. Then go through each idea together and find one that works.

It's a great book. I might not be describing that correctly. Maybe you can check it out at the library? Or maybe someone else who owns it can elaborate/correct me on that problem solving method.
post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
are you french braiding or just braiding the long part? It should take no more than 5 mintues to braid her hair. It doesn't have to be neat, just controlled.
I agree with this- braiding can be super quick. I think 1 single braid could easily only take about 1-2 minutes.
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