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do you have people making comments about your child needing to get their hair relaxed? dd1 is african american & arab american & she has beautiful kinky hair. usually we keep it braided in the summer, but she likes the way her afro looks with a scarf in the front of it. recently, people have started telling her "it's about time for your hair to get permed now isn't it?" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: i take that as them telling her it's time to start modifying your appearance in order to assimilate...am i being too sensitive? for one thing, i can't imagine putting those chemicals on an 8 y/o's scalp. and for another, her hair is part of her cultural identity IMO. i was just wondering if this was something we were dealing with alone or if it is generally accepted to chemically process children's hair & i am being "out there" again <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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My kids have straight hair, but I would not use chemicals on them if they had really curly hair. I would probably just keep it short or something. Can you consult with a haircutter that specializes in that kind of hair? There must be another option.<br>
ETA: I was reading too fast. If SHE likes her hair the way it is, then let her keep it the way it is. I was assuming the curls were a problem with styling or upkeep. Nevermind on what I said unless she thinks she wants something different.
 

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i posted about this in the other thread but when i was a kid i was made to get my hair relaxed or just pressed before i could go to any family gatherings hosted by my mother's aunt. she didn't want my 'kinks' distracting anyone because they were so 'wild'. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br>
whoops! didn't mean to press submit yet. so i straightened my hair chemically a lot as a child. the last few times it ate away at the skin on the back of my head and that HURT!!! i had an open wound there for a long time and then there were the burns i'd get from it down the back of my neck that would weep and be all gross. i will never ever chemically straighten my kids hair. if they want it straightened they can use some sort of iron when they are older.
 

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im white in appearance (despite being mostly american indian)<br>
and ive alwasys wished i had hair like that, and i think its gorgeous, and think its ridiculous to mess with it with such horrible chemicals, especially so young <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> id try to keep her knowing her hair is beautiful, and there are plenty of things she can do to keep it different and gorgeous rather than try to alter it!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>magstphil</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7984886"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">i posted about this in the other thread but when i was a kid i was made to get my hair relaxed or just pressed before i could go to any family gatherings hosted by my mother's aunt. she didn't want my 'kinks' distracting anyone because they were so 'wild'. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br>
whoops! didn't mean to press submit yet. so i straightened my hair chemically a lot as a child. the last few times it ate away at the skin on the back of my head and that HURT!!! i had an open wound there for a long time and then there were the burns i'd get from it down the back of my neck that would weep and be all gross. i will never ever chemically straighten my kids hair. if they want it straightened they can use some sort of iron when they are older.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Maya was in her uncle's wedding a couple weeks ago & her dad took her to have it pressed the day before because "it's prettier"...that's kind of what got me thinking about this...i am sorry for you having to go through that.
 

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My dd's hair isn't really curly but people ask me all the time if *I* have tried to straighten my kinky hair.<br><br>
"Yes, it makes it straight and poofy rather than curly and poofy, I know better now" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br>
Now though...I like my hair <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My kids have straight hair (although it's quite thick, esp the boy child's), but even if it weren't, I wouldn't relax it. That's sad <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I would take offense at that remark and say something back to them about how her hair is naturally like that and there's no reason to ruin it and her scalp with a bunch of chemicals Depending on the person I might say something about the racial element.
 

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No one has ever said that to me, but the girl's friends, who all have processed hair, have mentioned it to them. My oldest DD herself begged to have her hair straightened when she got into her teens. She got tired of it being braided all the time and wanted more versatility. She had such a hard time combing it herself, it's so thick. Her hair doesn't take to perms, anyway, so now she wears it natural and occasionally straightens it with a flat iron (which takes HOURS!).<br><br>
DD 2 straightens hers with a flat iron, or she curls it into ringlets with a curling iron. Her hair is no where near as thick as her older sister's, so she never had a hard time fixing her hair in the style she chose for the day.<br><br>
Youngest dd (11) loves her hair just the way it is, and is considering dreadies.
 

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My children have striaght hair and not african american. But we are bi racial and I would never put chemicals on a child's head. If she chooses to do so as she get older that is differnt but putting a "socially correct" hair style or anything else is sad and telling our kids they need to fit into the "white" culture. We should embrace every culture for the different beauties they have!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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I have boys but if I ever have a girl there is a chance her hair would be afro thick (I'm black/white, dh is black). They boys both rock fros themselves and I LOVE it as do most people who see them. They both have thick, curly hair, curlier and thicker than mine (curly) but straighter than dh's. However, it makes me sad to think that if I have a girl who has super curly/thick hair she'd have "bad" hair. If I do ever have a girl though, I won't be straightening it no matter the type. An older teenager may choose to straighten their hair (though I'd advise against chemical straightening as it takes a LONG time to grow out the effects, esp. if done badly) but no way will I straighten a child's hair.
 

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Ugh! I don't have children yet but, never, ever would I put a chemical in my child's hair. I think it sends the wrong message about beauty not to mention the potential damaging effects it has on one's scalp and overall health. I got "perms" early on in life to tame my "naps" and I paid the high price of losing my hair as well as changing its natural texture. As I got older, I learned that my hair was, in fact, too soft for straightening--too late for the damage was done. I suffered for the sake of "fitting in" and trying to emulate others idea of beauty.<br>
I am certain your baby is beautiful as is!!
 

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DD has really curly hair and I would never think of straighting it. She is 4 right now she will say from time to time that she wishes she had my hair. I tell her that her hair is beautiful and that I wish I had hair like hers. Then she will tell me that I'm not allowed to have hair like hers<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I'm sure if anyone tried to say that I need to have her hair straighted I'd tell them to go bite one. I always try to leave her hair down or in pigtails to show off her curls.<br><br>
If you DD likes her hair the way it is then she should be allowed to keep it so. Maybe if you can take her to a store what has lots of hair products and let her choose something pretty to put in her hair to help show off what she has, or help her fix it the way she likes it.
 

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When my dd (12) was little, she had long ringlets that went down her back; now her hair has curled up tight and barely brushes her shoulders. I hear comments all the time about my son (7) having the "good" hair--he has wild curls that my in-laws wish we'd keep cut. Or, people will comment on his hair first, and my daughter's hair as a polite afterthought. To me, her hair is beautiful; I love the tight curls as much as I loved the ringlets. She's learning to care for it and to style it *with* the curl instead of against it.<br><br>
There's another multiracial family a few houses down, and my daughter used to hang out with their daughter, until the differences in our values were simply too much (everyone who is not an ultra-conservative Christian republican is evil and is going to hell...). Interestingly, right at the time that those conflicts exploded, the other little girl (then 12) got colored contacts and started straightening her hair and tried to tell my daughter that she needed to straighten her hair, too, because the curls were ugly.
 

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send them to miss jessie's for some curly pudding <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.
 

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I am not about to put those horrible chemicals in my beautiful DD's hair! No way! When she is old enough, I will have to let her decide for herself, but until she is of age, we will just keep it braided, or free <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/afro.jpg" style="border:0px solid;" title="afro"> . She is SO pretty any way we do it, there is no need to destroy her hair and scalp to fit someone else's definition of beauty. And I am going to make sure she knows that.
 

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My grandmother has made the comment before about my D's super curly hair that I should straighten it so people can see how long it really is, as if I care. I hate when people make comments like that. I do not think it's right to completely change the structure of their hair for appearances sake. Once you do that it will never be the same so that choose to wait until the child can make it on his or her own, IMO. She quickly said I could just take a curling iron and blow dyer to it, she's five give it a break.If she wants to take a dryer to it when she can do it on her own fine, I think it would take me hours so it won't be me plus I don't see the need, I love her hair.
 

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Question from an outsider. When I see a small child with obviously treated hair it makes me sad for all the reasons sited here. But what about cornrows? I see girls as young as 18 months with dozens and dozens of tight braids and I wonder... what does that do to the hair, the scalp, the follicles? And how on earth do you keep a child so young still long enough to do that? And again... what message does it teach that little girl?
 

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In our experience, when cornrows are done right, keeping some sort of conditioner in while braiding and keeping ends trimmed, it's actually been pretty good for dd's hair. They stay in for a long time so there's not as much daily combing/brushing; it's also very easy to keep moisture in the hair and scalp. I'm not sure I understand what you mean about what kind of message it sends? Certainly not the same message sent when hair is processed and permed and straightened.<br><br>
My daughter would have to sit still a little long while her hair was being braided, but it meant less time on her hair in the days that followed. She also enjoyed that long stretch of time with her Nana, the woman who babysat her when I was still teaching. Even when she was two years old, they would talk and sing and giggle--she never complained about it, even when she got older. I'm thinking about starting to get it done again for the summer. My daughter swims and she shoves her hair back into a ponytail and that's far more damaging than braids.
 

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Message; Similiar as above in that it's not okay to simply leave the hair alone. That it shouldn't be big, it should be close in to the head. Also the larger message to girls of all races that beauty standards are worth sacrificing hours of your life to.
 
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