Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What kind of mother lets her kid get purple hair?

Remember Eve's Halloween costume?



The makeup was temporary. The purple streaks in her hair were not.

I know, it's not that surprising. I let my son get freak hair for hockey playoffs. It's the kind of thing that I generally waffle on briefly, agree to, and then worry about. Not the thing itself necessarily, but what it says about my parenting. Am I too permissive? Am I setting a dangerous precedent? Am I letting my desire to be cool supplant my need to set boundaries?



I don't think so. First of all, even though having unusual colours in one's hair is sometimes associated with other unsavoury behaviours, it's basically an arbitrary association. My kids know that I expect them to do their homework, treat other people with respect, eat mostly healthy food and fetch me chocolate whenever I snap my fingers - purple streaks and red fauxhawks don't change that.

I don't automatically agree to everything they ask for. I consider why they're asking and what the cost is. Dying their hair cost more than a regular haircut. However, Eve, unlike me at her age, actually has a sense of style, and I enjoy giving her the opportunity to explore it. I had gotten her a couple of blonde highlights for a fun surprise a few months before and she was thrilled. After she had them for a while, she tentatively asked if it was possible to dye hair other colours, and I suspected what she was hinting at. I knew that Angus would enjoy the experience of doing something fun and unusual for playoffs with his hockey teammates, and I knew Eve would be in transports of ecstasy if I let her dye her hair purple. I don't spoil my kids and I don't give them a lot of things with no occasion, but sometimes I do like doing something nice for them for no other reason than to make them happy. They were both extremely and exuberantly grateful.



I did have one or two other parents tell me they would never let their kids do something similar, but they were in the minority and they weren't disapproving or mean about it. My parents thought it was fantastic, which is a pretty good indication that we're not dealing with anything too alternative or cutting-edge.

How will I handle this type of thing as they grow older? When it might affect how employers view them? I'm not sure. When I see teen-agers with piercings or shocking hairstyles, I try not to let it predispose me to judging them negatively - I wait to see what their speech and behaviour says about them. I would hope people would do the same for my children, but I realize that might be a bit naive. For now, most of the people they say already know them and like them, and the few strangers who have commented have been positive.

Then I read an article - in the Globe and Mail, I think - about how to dissuade young girls from dressing too revealingly. Among the suggestions were helping them to find other ways to express themselves creatively, such as -- wait for it -- an unusual hairstyle.

What do you know - when I wasn't even looking for it, nationally syndicated validation landed right on my computer screen.

What kind of mother lets this happen?




A good one, I hope.

12 comments:

Nicole said...

I think that's cool. Hair - it's not a big deal, right? There are many, many other issues. And until Eve is actively seeking employment, there is really no big issue here. My own mother was a real be-atch when it came to hair and fashion for me, and so those resulted in huge fights. Was it worth it? 13 year old me loved to wear black. I still love to wear black. Makeup, hair, clothes - no biggie (unless obscene or something, but you know what I'm saying).

StephLove said...

She's darling in purple.

Magpie said...

I love this. I first dyed my hair for my mother's funerral. Blue streak. Better that she's starting now v

Mary Lynn said...

One time in university I was walking with a friend when we saw some teenager with blue hair, which I thought looked pretty cool. My friend, however, railed on and on about how no kid of hers was ever going to dye his hair colours like that! I didn't get what the big deal was then and I still don't. It's hair...it'll grow out. Why not have fun with it?

I think Eve looks fab!

harriet glynn said...

Agree! Gawd out society is conformist enough already (especially girl culture!). Let the kids have a little fun y'all!

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

God knows that I'm all for freedom of hair expression. I liked the faux-hawk and I like the purple streaks too.

Nan | Wrath Of Mom said...

I won't judge your kids based on hair colour, if you don't judge my kids based on their hair length. Deal? And now I'm going to track down that Globe and Mail article and send a copy to all the assholes who judge my son for having shoulder length hair.

hodgepodgeandstrawberries said...

Hair is one thing I refuse to fight with my kids about. I mean, it's HAIR - nothing you do to it is permanent.

I think you're an awesome mom who knows when to pick her battles. So important. I mean, is a few purple streaks really the hill you want to die on?

Julie said...

OMG I want Eve's hair! It's looks awe.some. I am very much of the mind of as long as you are pulling in good grades, are doing extra-curriculars and aren't getting suspended for beating the not out of some kid or snorting coke you can do what ever you like with your hair. even get pierced. it's all good. i would draw the line at dressing provocatively. though i might want to see how the jellybean would do that. ;)

rock on eve!

NoisyBluebird said...

A friend of mine is a hairstylist and she does pink highlights in her daughters hair. It's cute, it's just color and I love it! I think it's good to help them find their style and learn how to express it without going over the top. She's a dramatic little girl, good for you for encouraging her nature!

Gwen said...

Too cool! I would totally let my children have colourful streaks...if only to upset my mother! :)

Lynn said...

I love the streaks, and Eve looks really cool. My plan is to try to have an open mind when it comes to my kids' desires for their hair and clothes - they say that you should let your kids control this part of their lives, at least.

When I was growing up I had two girl cousins who were goths, they had full-on purple and green hair and wore all-black all the time with things like spiked dog collars for accessories. They were quite the talk of the family and eventually were kind of shunned by the more straightlaced among us. So I kind of fear the family scandal - but I'll try to be accomodating!