Express Herself

Hair is one of the many ways our children express themselves

If you have a daughter in your home then I'm sure you're all too familiar with how hard it is to find the balance between allowing her to express herself with her appearance and not following into the over-aged and mostly inappropriate teenage trends. Many teenage girls in today's society have embraced trends and styles that I honestly do not approve of, along with most mothers that I know. They wear clothes that are too tight, that show off too much of their bodies and are just plain skanky. Not to say that there are not teenage girls who have found a good balance, but the overwhelming population has found that sex is appealing on a teenager. I beg to differ.

The larger problem is our younger girls are seeing these trends and dying to be just like these girls. They see it on tv shows and in movies, they see it in stores. Walmart--the dreaded store which I refuse to shop in--has even put out a line of makeup for young girls, apparently encouraging them to grow up faster then they should. I find the whole thing as disgusting at Walmart itself.

So what do you do when your daughter expresses the desire to be like these teenagers, especially when it comes from an innocent girl in elementary school, and how do you find a balance?

Our daughter is just 8 and while that may seem very young she definitely has a need to be her own person and express her own personal tastes, and we certainly encourage her to do so within the boundaries of proper parental judgment and oversight. There is not a whole lot I say no to in regards to her appearance and not because I think she has the right to look any way she chooses but because unless it is inappropriate, why would I choose to fight her on it. For example she will often come into my room in the morning with her shirt pulled tight and tied up in the back. However, she will have a tank top on under that shirt and even if the top shirt is pulled up to where you could see her midriff the tank top covers her skin. I think it is a silly trend and when teenagers do this they are not covering their skin and they are trying to be sexy but when an 8-year-old does it she is just trying to be cool. On the other hand, last summer when she came in wearing her knee high boots and short shorts, I most certainly made her turn around and go change. I wouldn't have minded the shorts had she had on tennis shoes or sandals but not when she is trying to look like a sexy teenager.

One of the newer trends amongst girls is getting feathers in their hair. No not like they did in the 70's where they attached these huge feather clips. These feathers are thin and hair like. They are attached to your hair by a tiny metal clamp and they stay in for about 7-8 weeks. You can get them in natural colors or bright greens, pinks and blues, there are multiple choices.

I have seen feathers showing up in girls hair all over the place lately and it never crossed my mind that our daughter would want them. Boy was I wrong. This past week it happened to come up in a conversation we were having and she expressed her utter and complete desire to get them. Honestly, I felt a little bad that with all of my friend's teenagers getting them and I never thought our daughter would want them as well.

Other than the sex boundaries I have with style the only rule we have in our household regarding styles and fashions is you have to be presentable. If our boys want to grow their hair out, I am not going to argue with them. I will ask them to keep it trimmed around their ears and neck line and continue to keep it nice looking but other than that, fine--again, we believe it is healthy for them to be who they are, even if it is just a passing trend or phase. If any of them decide to color their hair blue, well I will let them know it is not my favorite but if their grades are good and they can look respectable when we are out, then I have no problem. Remember people, hair color, cut, length can all be changed so if they are good kids and have good grades, they deserve to express themselves in a reasonable manner. It is not permanent and it is a way to let our children express their rebellion and tastes without harming anyone or anything.  I believe this is very minor when compared to the trends of piercing and tattooing that is taking place at all ages theses days. It is not like I am going to pierce our daughters ears for a second time and change her look permanently.

So when our little girl said she wanted to have feathers, I thought why not. I made an appointment and took her to have it done. She was beaming with total excitement. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw her this excited to have something done.

When we sat down with our hairdresser, Carissa, we still had a little negotiating to do. She explained to us the prcess as well as care (which entailed treating them just like hair and they would last 7-8 weeks) then she pulled out her display for our girl to make a choice. She of course wanted as many as I would allow. Carissa said that they insert them in groups of three and that normally girls do 3 to 9 in their hair. I expressed to our daughter that I thought 3 was plenty and she was so happy to be getting them that she did not have a problem with the number. Then she started picking the colors out. She wanted all bright blue ones "maybe a pink or green would be fun too" she said. I tried redirecting her and pointing her to the more natural colors but she kept insisting that she wanted the bright ones.

As a compromise, we agreed that she would choose two natural-colored feathers and one blue feather. I thought that by giving her one brightly colored feather it would make her happy plus I could live with the fact that a single blue one does not stand out that much or change her appearance.

Here she is feathers intact. I would love for you all to have seen her beautiful smiling face and the excitement in her eyes but I just do not feel right about sharing pictures of our children on this site. But as you can see, the feathers are simple and very minor in the overall scheme of expressing yourself. I could have been dealing with a more major request--thank God our kids are still not teenagers and we aren't having to deal with that just yet.

Now I would like to pose these questions to you:

  • What kinds of trends do you have to fight with your children about?
  • Do you give a little or do you fight them on everything?
  • How far do you let your children go with expressing themselves and do you have rules regarding those items?

I am looking forward to all of your input.

Carrie Dahle

Writer ~ Day to Day Woman


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