Self expression or it’s only hair

Maya wanted to dye one section of her hair blue.    This seemed a very reasonable request, and today, after one failed attempt using a dye that claimed you didn’t need to lighten the hair first (you do), we achieved the level of blue-ness she was looking for:

Pretty cool, huh?

Most parents think I’m crazy for ‘allowing’ her to dye her hair.   I’ve been listening to their expressions of amazement for over a week and I really don’t get it.  I mean, it’s just HAIR.   It’s not a tattoo or something equally permanent.  (I’m not saying she couldn’t get a tattoo, but we’d probably have a longer conversation about it beforehand.)   Hair grows out.   The more I listened to parents objections- some of whom said it was fine for Maya and then when their own child said, “Oooh, can I do it too?”  said, “No” without even pausing for breath – the more I imagined how the ‘no you can’t’ conversation would have gone in our house:

Maya:   Can I dye a section of my hair blue?

Me:  You mean temporary dye?

Maya:  No, permanent.

Me:  Absolutely not!

Maya:   Why?

Me:  Because, well, what if you don’t like it?

Maya:   It’ll grow out eventually.

Me:  No, sorry.   Can’t do it.

Maya:  Why?

Me:   Well, because (insert another lame excuse here)

Maya:  (At this point I would be getting the ‘look’.)

Me:    I just don’t want you to.

Maya:   But it’s MY hair!

And you know what, she’d be right.   She is right. It is her hair.  It’s not my hair.  I don’t own the rights to it by virtue of being her mother.   What are parents so afraid of?   How much control do they need in order to feel…what?   Parental?

The thing is, that kind of ‘control’ is going to backfire.    It sends all the wrong messages and in the long run nothing can be gained from it.

On the other hand, since Maya has been privy to the astonishment of other parents at my enthusiasm for her choice to dye her hair, I now rank, in her opinion,  among the coolest Moms on the planet.

That’s a ranking I’ll gladly accept.

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