My daughter wants dreads--Any advice?
Dreads in the Family
So, since I've started letting my hair do its own thing my daughter has become interested in doing the same.
First off, I've always had naturally thick, wavy hair that clumps together into sections and tangles easily. I remember being a kid and my Grandma would tug and tear through my hair trying to get it to be silky and smooth, leaving my scalp radiating with pain and me with a migraine. Needless to say it was traumatizing, and I just never understood why it had to be like that. Why I couldn't just let my hair be. When I decided to let my hair dread this was one of my biggest motivators. I've just never been the kind of person that wanted to style their hair. I mean I've tried. As wild as my hair is, I'd spent a good time of life trying to find a style that worked with it. My hair does horrible with product, though. Gels, dyes, flat irons, curling irons--nothing ever worked. I'd just end up frying my hair or having it gunked up, feeling frustrated that I didn't have the same fine silky hair it seemed like was 'in'. With the point I'm at now, I finally had to realize that I didn't care any more. When it comes to my daughter I, of course, I pretty much look at it the same way. I don't understand putting gunk in my hair or hers. I don't understand really styling it unless it's something she wants. Otherwise I just feel like I'm treating her like some kind of doll. Like I'm spoofing her up to kind of gain myself attention. I used to do that with her clothes, but any more as long as it isn't too insane I just let her pick out what she thinks she'll be comfortable in. I don't want her to grow up thinking being beautiful is about chemicals, pain, and perfectionism. It's the same thing with her hair. If she wants me to put it up a certain way, awesome. If she wants it cut a certain way, whatever. All I really care about is functionality and her happiness--and it's been awesome seeing what kind of style she has.
That said, my daughter, Lydian, and I are pretty close. She's about 2 months shy of 6-years-old, and we have always talked to each other pretty openly. When my daughter asked "Why don't you brush your hair any more?" or "Why do you have tangles?"--I pretty much threw it out there for her exactly the way I felt about the whole thing. I don't feel like it. I don't want to worry about it, and as long as it's clean--who cares? Although I tried speeding the whole thing up, I decided to just forget my hair exists save the whole hygiene factor and I'm a thousand times happier for it (which I also told her about). I remember the last night before I stopped brushing her hair she asked why I had tangles, and I told her, then she said "I want tangles, too". I explained to her she wouldn't have straight 'regular' hair any more. She'd have clumps like I do. She said "I want clumps. See? I already got one" and picked up a loopy little tangle out of her bangs. "WooOOooo! It's a WILD one!" she said, laughing and admiring it. Then she said some day she'd have a lot of them, all over the place, and I told her to think about it and we'd talk about it the next day.
Day 2--no brushing, she's still game. We look at pictures of other kids that have dreads and she isn't put off at all. She's actually discussing their styles with me. I still have to keep in mind, though, she's about 6. Kids are fickle. They don't really, truly know what they want. I explain to her that there will be a point where the tangles are going to be harder and harder to get out if she wants to turn back. I tell her whenever she wants to turn back to just let me know. She's cool with it. She's a pretty cavalier kid, and we go about everything like ....well like it's any old day. It's just hair is the way I see it, but I notice at this point I'm getting nervous about whether or not she's going to end up okay with this.
Day 3--today, she has a mass of tangles in the back of her head she's ecstatic about. Pretty large, pretty noticeable, and I'm starting to get nervous. I drop her off at school and I start to worry if the teachers will think something, if other kids are going to say something. She's just started Kindergarten two weeks ago and I still get damn near ill when I drop her off at school. We live in hive-mind, Gossipville, Bible-belt, Nowhere. I've been here since I was 5-years-old, and it has been my goal to get out for as long as I can remember. Granted, over the years things have changed, we still have a bit of a cultural Berlin wall around the place, and I'm still nervous as sin when I send my daughter to school just because I remember what it was like when I went.
So I guess at this point that's really it. I'm nervous. I'm worried about what to expect, how to handle these things when they come up, etc. I don't have any friends who are parents, and certainly not anyone with a child who's growing dreads. I'm keeping communication open with her as far as making sure she's still interested in growing dreads out, and the fun thing is it's something we're doing together. I'm just worried about ...social snags and anything else anyone can prepare me for. Any advice anyone can throw my way, anything anyone can tell me to talk to her about or anything I need to prepare myself or her for I could really use. In a way, I really think I just need another parent's perspective generally.
Thanks for reading, though
updated by @Shinako Agogo: 01/13/15 09:34:37PM