Hair is a big part of how your child sees herself, and a big part of how others see her too. “What’s the big deal?” you may be thinking, “It’s just hair.”
But the truth is, it is more than that. When you can’t help your child with her hair, or when you try to change it, these are the messages you may be sending: “You are different, and we don’t understand you.” “You aren’t good enough the way you are.” “You need to change who you are in order to fit in with our family.”
When you can help your child to embrace her hair, you can help her to feel secure and happy, both as a part of your family and as a part of their larger culture.
Appropriate hair care is related to healthy self-esteem. It's important to your child's overall health. It provides them with a connection to their cultural heritage and a sense of security in the uniqueness and beauty of their hair. It also provides opportunities to connect with adults of color who can teach them to care for and love their hair.
The goal is to have your child love her hair. If you haven't seen Sesame Street's “I Love My Hair” yet, check it out on YouTube. The viral video of a brown Muppet singing, "I really, really, really love my hair” was inspired by the child of a writer and puppeteer on the show. Adopted from Ethiopia, she started playing with Barbie and decided she wanted long blond hair and hated her own hair. This dad really wanted his child to see images that looked like her who loved the hair that they have and he made a wonderful song that has helped many little girls realize the beauty of their natural hair.
You can help your child to love herhair by following these tips:
- Always give positive feedback to your child about her hair.
- Continue to gain knowledge and experience about your child's hair.
- Have sketches, paintings, or photos of African-Americans with natural hair around your home.
- Read hair-related story books to your child. These are books available for adults and children on African-American natural hair care at the public library.
- Expose yourself and your family to African-American cultural events and festivals in the summer. You are more likely to see a variety of hairstyles on children and adults at these events.
From AdoptionLearningPartners.org course “Braids, Curls, Twists and Twirls.”