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, hair styles, and 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 meltdowns 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 following 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!” She went on and on 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, tell her no way, and 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 if/when she wants it out right after getting it done. When my daughter spoke to others about her love of pink hair and how she was going to get it, 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 about considering letting my daughter do that!
So what did I decide?
I decided to compromise. I wanted my daughter to know that I trust her, 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 getting her hair dyed. If there’s ever a meltdown issue in question, I’d 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.” Nonetheless, the looks on some people’s faces when we walk into the grocery store sporting blue, green, and neon yellow hair is priceless. A few years ago, I didn’t foresee pink hair in my parenting future. I would have been categorized in with those people who gave judgmental looks at other parents for allowing their children to 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.