Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Three Year Old Asked For Pink Hair

I've had dark brown hair for years. Last summer I got blonde highlights in my hair. Enter three year old hair envy. All she spoke about for weeks were hair colors, different hair cuts and styles, who had the shiniest hair. Then came, "I want pink hair."

"Oh okay," I responded, not giving it too much thought. I figured it was like that toy she saw on an end cap at Target. One that would quickly fade from her mind. I didn't think it was a big deal. She seemed satisfied with my answer and we moved on from the subject of hair to nail polish.

My three and a half year old is far more girly than I've ever been. She wears party dresses to bed, has a meltdown when her nail polish wears off, and has been asking for her own MAC lipstick "in the purple shade" for the last year. She's my girly girl who tries to keep up with the boys and refuses to brush her hair. I wasn't surprised she mentioned pink hair, it is her favorite color after all.

The next evening we had the TV on and a commercial showed a woman with bright pink hair. Elizabeth's face lit up and she exclaimed "that's the hair I want mom! That's it!" On and on she went about her "new pink hair" that she was going to get.

"When do you think I can get it? Maybe Saturday?" she asked innocently.

I wasn't sure how to handle this. She was dead set on getting her pink hair. I had strong feelings that a child so young shouldn't be getting anything done to their hair other than a cut. For some reason I had told myself that no child of mine would be getting anything done to their hair until they were old enough to make a good decision for themselves. Obviously I had no idea what kind of kids I would have.

I realized I had a very important stance to take. I could put my foot down and tell her no way, show her who was in charge. But that's not my style of parenting. I could let her do it and then have to deal with a massive meltdown when/if she wants it out of her right after getting it done. When my daughter spoke to others about her love of pink hair and how she was going to get pink hair, I was met with eye rolls, people who told me to "realize you're the parent not her," and that she's too young to make important decisions.

Those just fueled me. How can I teach her how to make those important decisions? How can I teach her how to live with those consequences of the decisions she makes? I realize she's only three, but she's not dumb. Couldn't this be a good lesson that teaches her the consequences of her decisions and actions? Yet I still had my reservations.

The chemicals used to dye hair (especially the specialty colors such as pink) can be strong. What if she has a reaction to the chemicals? What happens if she hates her new hair? She is only three and can't quite grasp a lot of concepts, such as patience for letting hair grow out. I spoke at length to numerous hair dressers. I researched and then researched more. I spoke to anyone I could about it, even if I was met with disgust that I would even consider letting my daughter "do that!"

So what did I decide?

I decided to compromise. I want my daughter to know I trust her and listen to her. I also want her to know that I look out for her and try to make the best decisions while listening to her wants and needs.  My daughter got her pink hair. It's just not dyed like she had in mind.

After my extensive research, I decided she was too young for dying hair. If ever there's a meltdown issue in question, I avoid it like the plague. I was far too worried that she would ask for her pink hair to come out as soon as it was. Instead, I ordered her clip in hair extensions in all different colors. She wants bright orange hair one day? We've got it ready. She wants red in her hair for two minutes (and literally, two minutes only)? It's there and just as easily removable.

This easy compromise made us both happy for the time being. I have no issues with her wearing them out of the house because she's so proud of "her new hair." The bonus to this is the looks on (some) people's faces when we walk into the grocery store and she's sporting blue, green, and neon yellow hair is priceless. Years ago, I didn't foresee pink hair in my parenting future. I would have been categorized in with those people who gave looks to the other parents for letting their children have neon colored hair. Sometimes as parents we have to get over our own hang ups and thoughts of how things would go. Sometimes we need to put our foot down (and know when that needs to be done) and other times we need to compromise. Especially when it comes to pink hair happiness.