Curly Hair is Beautiful Too! How Everyday Conversations Become Life Lessons in Our House.

by Melanie Edwards on July 6, 2010 · 43 comments

in Parenting

Girl with Curly Hair

Baby girl: “Daddy, you need a haircut.”
Husband: “Do I?”
Baby girl: “Yes, but not too much. Just a little off the top. You don’t want to be bald because then people would laugh at you.”
Husband (after some laughter): “Well baby, I don’t really care if people laugh at me. If they laugh at me because I’m bald, then they’re not good people, right?
Baby girl: “Right.”
Husband (to me): “Man, every conversation these days turns into some great life lesson, doesn’t it?”
Me: “Yeah. sigh…

And, it’s true. There seems to be no shortage of conversations we’re having with our 4-year-old these days that turns into some greater message or life lesson.

If she says anything about curly hair, there we are reinforcing the idea that “curly hair is so beautiful!” If we’re talking colors, once again, my husband and I pipe in like a PSA ad to say, “Don’t forget black! Black is such a pretty color.”

To some of you, this may seem a bit unnecessary or even extreme. Why do we continually have to say these things? Why not just let her live her little 4-year-old life, right? But, the truth is that when you’re raising a multicultural child, you have to constantly look out for signs and provide the proper message to your kid. She is surrounded by dolls, ads, friends, and other images that are not like her, so it’s up to her father and I to surround her with images and messages that are like her and remind her that she too should be admired.

Beautiful Woman of Color

Photo by Rashod Taylor

And, it’s not just the media we’re up against. Even family members can be culprits – without really recognizing the side effect. Just a few weeks ago, my own mother said, “Ay no! That will make her hair more curly!” when my husband said he wants to braid (corn row) my daughter’s hair. Once again, there we were saying, “There’s nothing wrong with curly hair!” It’s even difficult for me at times, to be sure I’m sending the right message to her. I have to catch myself from saying things like, “I like my hair better straight,” since I don’t want her to perceive that straight is necessarily better.

It can get exhausting at times to always be thinking about what you’re saying/doing/watching and whether or not it will affect your impressionable 4-year-old’s self-esteem. This is even more true if you’re in what’s considered the “minority” group of society.

In a way, though, all of these conversations are also helping me to feel better about my own self. Who knew that by trying to ensure my daughter grows up confident, in turn, I would help myself feel a little more confident in a body I’ve known for 30 years?

Additional thoughts of mine on multiculturalism:

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cuponeando July 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I know what you mean as I watch and have to be very mindful of what I say when I'm with my 5yo niece. Loved reading that you are more confident now while parenting a confident child.

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2 modernmami July 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

I guess you start believing what you say to them. Kinda cool, actually.

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3 Ana L. Flores July 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Oh, yes! Children are teaching us something about ourselves every single moment of the day. Agreed.
And, curly hair is gorgeous!!!! :D

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4 modernmami July 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

True. I just thought it was interesting to hear myself say things over and over to her and it somehow starts sinking in to me too.

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5 elsa odette July 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm

well, you can't raise her to be a confident kid unless she sees that she got a confident mami :)

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6 modernmami July 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

I guess it's coming along. I say enough things to her that it's like I'm saying them to myself.

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7 Sra.Lopez July 7, 2010 at 10:07 am

I loved this one :)

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8 modernmami July 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

awww…thanks so much!

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9 Eren Mckay July 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm

When I was a little girl my dream was having curly hair. My hair was so straight that the hair barrettes would slip off my head. I even prayed and asked God for curly hair. After I had my first son, my hair became wavy and curly- woohoo! Maybe the hormones from my pregnancy made my hair curly- I don't know. I love curly hair. I think every opportunity that we have we should use to teach our children the beauty of our differences.
I love that you and your hubby do that.
Blessings ,
Eren

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10 modernmami July 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Isn't it funny how we always want what we don't have? We try hard to show these things to her. It's important, in our case, because others will definitely notice our differences – whether we tell her or not.

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11 Rachel White July 7, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Great post. I can totally relate this area. I have curly hair and I have to condition it daily for its to be manageable. I love my curly hair. I also love it when I straighten it. Not that its “better” but I see myself saving a lot more time in the morning! LOL :)

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12 modernmami July 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm

heh I too wish it wasn't so much work to keep the curls manageable.

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13 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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14 modernmami July 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I received this comment via twitter from @LauraSpencerOne and felt I had to share with all (with her permission of course). Here’s what she said:nn”I have to constantly reinforce positive image for my girl. Society rarely does see, reflect or respect her beauty.”

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15 modernmami July 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I received this comment via twitter from @LauraSpencerOne and felt I had to share with all (with her permission of course). Here's what she said:

“I have to constantly reinforce positive image for my girl. Society rarely does see, reflect or respect her beauty.”

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16 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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17 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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18 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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19 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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20 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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21 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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22 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

Reply

23 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

Reply

24 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

Reply

25 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

Reply

26 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

Reply

27 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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28 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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29 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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30 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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31 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

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32 Rachel White July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

Reply

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