Son wants "Shiny Hair" :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-02-2009, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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After stressing for a year about my daughters self image issues (just posted on another thread about this), my son hit with me a wammy the other night when he started to cry b/c he wants "shiny hair"- My children are bi-racial black/European, and are absolutely beautiful (I know- I'm biased ). My son is 8, and is a very smart, sensitive boy. We transferred the children to a private school last year because we live in a pretty rough area. We thought the transition was going well, but I noticed that my son has started talking and acting differently. Not bad or anything, just not like himself. I asked him the other night why he is acting differently, and he burst out crying! He said that he wanted shiny hair, and that he didn't want to be the only brown boy in his class (there are a few other black or bi-racial kids in his school, but not many at all. He is the only non-white child in his class of 30). I understand that he doesn't really want just "shiny hair", I think its his way of processing not being white. We're very close, and he's close to my brother, etc., so I know he couldn't say that he didn't want to be black...and he knows that his father is white so he didn't want to hurt him either. He's just all mixed up and it breaks my heart! Does anyone have any advice?
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#2 of 6 Old 12-04-2009, 03:45 AM
 
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No advice, but did want to offer a .
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#3 of 6 Old 12-10-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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So normal. He'll get over this. It isn't a race issue, it's a "I want to be like someone else" issue. If it wasn't this, it'd be that he wants a kid's retainer, or he wants to talk like another kid.

We often make these issues race related because of our own hang ups. I'm an African American mom with biracial children and I've noticed how I project my own issues on to little things. Yes, Anglo featured are hyped as "favored" in the mainstream media but that isn't always the case.

Let kids be kids. The new generation of children are far more color-blind than we are. Say "Yes, his hair sure is shiny! So what do you want for dinner?" Don't make it a big deal and overpraise or they'll wonder what you are up to and if there is really something to worry about.
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#4 of 6 Old 12-10-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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I was the only black girl in my class (and city, it seemed) very often. It's made me seek diversity...which is why we moved to Montreal! I know it's difficult but he'll be OK.
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#5 of 6 Old 12-10-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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I agree with MayasMother that kids do want to be like the other kids around them often regardless of what it is. But I still think here could be some racial identity issues wrapped up in it well though. I know my son is not sure where he belongs at times, and I hear this a lot from multi-ethnic/cultural families, parents and kids.

My 8 year old sister is going through similar issues, and we call it the "me toos." wants what everyone else has, and she wants to act, look and talk like her friends.

I try to counteract the thoughts by talking about my son's (and my sister's) traits positively and as unique special features. I explain that they are part of his parents, and he is just like us--but a special mix. How he is perfect because of who he is. I constantly send these messages to him, and he seems to be more comfortable being who he is rather than wanting to be like people around him for the most part. It's not a perfect solution, but it does mitigate the issue at times.

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#6 of 6 Old 12-12-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayasMother View Post
Say "Yes, his hair sure is shiny! So what do you want for dinner?" Don't make it a big deal and overpraise or they'll wonder what you are up to and if there is really something to worry about.
I agree with MayasMother...just give him some gentle reassurance of how wonderful he is and don't put too much focus on it. It's normal for children of that age to question appearance of others and wonder why people are different.

Keep being the loving and concerned mother that you are and he will grow up to be a self assured wonderful young man

Ginny - single, homeschooling, cosleeping, AP, WAHM to 4 precious kidos - DS17, DS16, DD8, DS4
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