Natural Hair, Don’t Care1: Self Esteem


Lauren Hill sporting her natural hail long before it was trendy

Recently there have been a popular trend among African American women and women of color to “go natural” especially after the movie “Good Hair” by Chris Rock premiered in 2009. I’ve decided to do a series on my natural hair journey, highlighting the deeper issues that surfaced during the process.

In February of 2011, my almost 4 year old daughter came home from school and said that most of her friends had white skin and straight blond hair and that she wanted it too. My heart skipped a beat, sunk and then rose up into my throat. My husband and I have always told our daughter how beautiful, unique and very special she was because God made her perfect. But as I began to reiterate on how beautiful her brown skin and her coiled hair was, she turned to me and said “Mommy, I know I’m beautiful and I know I’m special. Maybe my hair doesn’t have to be blonde, but I wish it was straight like your hair?” I thought about going the route of telling her that Mommy’s hair is relaxed and that when you’re older, you can have your hair relaxed also. But instead I felt a personal conviction. I knew that I was not prepared to put chemicals in my daughter’s hair and I wanted to be careful about the type of message that I was sending her about beauty and self acceptance. I simply said, “Baby, I have hair just like yours and I’m gonna stop straightening it so that we can celebrate our curly coiled hair together”.

I made up my mind that I was going to stop relaxing my hair and get reacquainted with my natural texture. When I decided to “go natural”, instead of getting a retouch, I got my hair braided. I had no idea, however, what “going natural” entailed. I was in for a rude awakening; the details of which I will talk about in part 2 of my Natural Hair; Don’t Care” series. 

While I chose to respond by going natural, I am in no way implying or suggesting that moms who choose not to go natural or even choose to relax their child’s hair is sending the wrong message. I believe that building  positive self esteem first begins with laying the foundation that we are a reflection of Christ’s image. Because issues of inferiority and low self esteem can surface at such a young age, it is imperative as mothers that  we are our daughter’s first role model. This conversation with my 4 year old reminded me that I have an awesome opportunity to be a positive example to her; to help her develop a healthy sense of her worth by immersing her with positive attention, encouraging words and exposing her to positive images that looks like her. I am also reminded that I have the responsibility of resisting the temptation of complaining about my appearance in her presence. So whether your hair is natural or straight, building positive self esteem is a step by step process that begins at home.

How do you respond to your child who wants to look like their friend? What are some ways  you help boost your child’s self esteem?

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9 thoughts on “Natural Hair, Don’t Care1: Self Esteem

  1. Collette Reid

    The kids are older now, and I don’t remember them having major issues with hair; maybe because it was permed or curled by 7th grade. Now two of them have gone natural and they are loving it. They have thick, long, healthy heads of hair. As for me, I will be relaxer queen. LOL….I remember the pain of combing my “kiya” hair (as mummy called it). I just don’t think I can deal with all that “naturalness”

    1. Hope Reid

      The effort of going natural is actually more difficult than I anticipated. For now, I’m committed, but I wouldn’t encourage someone to do it if they are having doubts. If you ever change your mind though, I have some good tips for you.LOL

  2. agapewoman

    Great post Hope, my girls are transitioning and I cut mine off. I put a relaxer on my youngest and it broke off and I’ve been transitioning her for a year and it’s grown a little. I keep her hair in braids, but I think I’m gonna have to cut the relaxer off so we can proceed with growth.

    1. Hope Reid

      Thanks Whitney. Transitioning with both relaxed and natural hair is difficult in my opinion. I tried to do it also before I had to cut it all off. Your hair looks great so I’m sure your daughter’s hair will also. Thanks for sharing.

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