Teaching My Girls To Love Their Natural Hair: From My Childhood To Theirs

Hair is a big thing for girls, and even some boys. It’s our crown, our biggest accessory. A bad hair day can make or break some days. When I was younger, I remember my little sister and I would take t-shirts, during our playtime in the house, and wear them on our heads to make it like our hair was really long; it was like our make-believe wig. Under that make-believe wig was most likely four pony tails or a bunch of braids done by our mom. Even though my mom raised us to love every part of ourselves, I still longed to have straight hair, as mine was naturally curly, and it would take me years of not whole heartily appreciating my curls, one relaxer, and hundreds of flat iron sessions for me to appreciate my natural tresses.

As the mother of two curly hair girls, I didn’t realize how difficult it was to raise them to love their hair. I see my oldest daughter doing the same thing I did at her age in regards to hair, but she was going off what she saw me do to my hair, such as flat ironing it, and not wearing it naturally in front of her as much. She would ask me often to “flat down” her hair for her like mine and that’s when I realized I needed to be an example for her. So instead of flat-ironing her hair, I started wearing my natural hair more. And when I do wear my hair straight and she complements it, I make sure to tell her I want her curls.

Fun during our wash day! We try to have fun on this day, but our wash day actually happens in the tub!

Here are some other tips I’ve gathered from my experience on getting my daughter to love her natural curls:

Make wash day fun: I know for us, our once a week wash day of our heads can be tedious. From washing to conditioning to detangling to styling, it could literally take all day, so for us we call it “girls day.” We watch a movie, sometimes we bake cookies or ooey gooey cake, we snack, and we talk. I even let her do my hair which she loves!

Be gentle: I remember getting my hair combed as a child from this one particular person, and my scalp was literally throbbing when they were done. I wanted to cry the whole time and thought in my head, maybe if my hair wasn’t so curly I wouldn’t have this experience. But it, in fact, wasn’t my hair that was the problem, it was the person combing my hair and their lack of proper products for my hair type. Fast forward to now, I realize that if it’s painful to a child it could deter them so I try my best to be gentle when combing my girls’ hair and make the time as pleasant as possible. I love Paul Mitchell Kids Taming Spray for all of our curls.

Representation: In today’s world, representation is a word I hear often, but it is really important for children to see a version of themselves represented. There are countless books, toys, and so on that can give kids the representation they need. Hairlove is a short animated film that I personally love that focuses on curly head kiddies.

Be mindful of your words: I had to learn this the hard way. I would catch myself saying my hair was ‘nappy’ while I was combing it, and my daughter would ask while I was doing her hair if I though hers was ‘nappy.’ Be cautious of how you refer to their hair, try to remain as positive as possible, even with your own hair no matter your hair texture.

Be the positive image of hair love they need: No matter if your hair is curly or straight or wavy, be the image of self love your curly kids could look up to. This could be difficult for parents who do not share the same hair texture as their kids, but if your child sees you loving yourself they will soak it in and recreate that within themselves.

2 generations: My mom braiding my four year olds hair

I would always hear the adults and kids saying, “oh, such and such has good hair” while looking in the direction of someone with silky, not as curly, hair. But what is good hair? Good hair to me is healthy hair, hair that is loved by the person that it grows out of is good hair. No matter the type it could be curly, tight curls, coily, straight, whatever. You are royalty and your hair is your crown, you should rock it as such.

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Monique is a life long resident of Slidell, LA and mom of two little girls Elie (4) and Eden (1). An aspiring educator, millennial, 20 something, unexpectedly single, mom of two who’s raising girls all while still trying to find herself. She is admen about changing the stigma of being a single mother all while helping other single mothers like herself, and mothers in general, because at the end of the day she feels we are all mothers no matter what our household entails. She loves coffee, McDonald’s Sweet Tea (light ice please), and will try almost any food out there, and most importantly spending time with her daughters.

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