I Let My 9 Year Old Child Dye Her Hair Blue

Is there any doubt that we parent our children in reaction to how we were parented? Or that we strive to create new hang-ups for our children that are at least a departure from the idiosyncrasies we personally posses? So it is with this introduction that I admit I scheduled an appointment for my 9 YO daughter to get her hair dyed with blue stripes and my 11 YO an hombre.

The reasons I let them dye their hair are several, and fairly uncomplicated:

(1) They wanted to have their hair colored, and asked nicely.

(2) Hair is a big deal. I’ve always hated my hair. It’s too thin, too fine and grows a half inch every leap year. I bet I would have prayed for that stupid hairif I had to go through chemotherapy and lost it all.

(3) I want things for my children that I didn’t have growing up. I am not, nor have I ever been, adventurous with my hair. Without a strong foundation, hair confidence grows like an untended weed. I want to give my children the chance for their hair confidence to grow like a bamboo stalk, only less invasive and predatory.

(4) It is incumbent upon our generation to end the cycle of hair violence to women. The women in my family have a long heritage of tortured hair styles. There were awful stints where I slept with huge pink foam rollers that made my hair look like Chaka from Land of the Lost no matter how I styled it. Pin curls. Berets. Headbands. Ponytails. Braids. Nothing helped. No amount of aqua net could mask the thin that was/is my hair. Mothers from Toddlers and Tiaras would weep to see my baby pictures.

My hair never responded predictably to curling or straightening irons. Hot rollers gave me split ends. Mostly, during my primary and secondary education years, my hair looked like I’d been mugged. Then there was that tragic period I started perming my hair in high school. Perms were a gateway drug to worse haircuts in college. My sister dyed her own hair once in high school and she looked like a rusty orangutan for a month. Not a cute monkey, but a vicious, ill-tempered primate. My mother changed her hairstyle every time we bought a new Buick. You’d be surprised how long you could keep an American car running on ethyl gasoline in the 70’s. The average length of Buick ownership in my family was twelve years. Mom migrated from a beehive to a wiglet to a more “natural” beauty shop hairdo every dozen years and never did color.

(5) You people with perfect hair? Piss off!

(6) The real reason I welcomed them to do whatever they wanted to their hair is because it’s hair. If my children feel like they’ve expressed their individuality through any means that isn’t illegal, permanent and/or stupid, I will count myself lucky.