Hair seems to be the topic of conversation this week. Regardless of who I’m talking with, someone makes a hair comment or tells their funny, ridiculous story.
Why is it that we get so emotional about hair? And what is really going on beneath the surface? (pun intended. 🙂 )
Early in the week a friend asked me where I got my hair cut. I was sporting a new sassy hairstyle — she obviously liked it and started talking about her own hair and how drab it made her feel. Hmm…
Observation: We “feel” passionate about our hair. Hair gives us an “identity”.
Hope you will stay with me here, because this really has a point in the parenting realm.
The next day I was sitting with two women doing a video conference. The first thing we all did as we saw our reflection in the camera monitor was fix our hair. And, I’ll admit, look side-to-side to make sure the other person didn’t outdo us. I’ll even go as far as admitting that the small voice inside me was going “I wish I could have hair like hers”.
Observation: Yes, “vanity” is within all of us. We want to “look” and “live up to” whatever we’ve defined as the best.
Now let’s translate this to our teens. After all, in a lot of ways they are no different from us. The want to “look” their best as they have defined it. The want to “live up to” their definition of being accepted. They “feel” passionate about defining who they are and they’ll use hair to do it. Call it “vanity” or pride or self-discovery — yet it is part of determining who they are as they mature into adulthood.
And all those things are also true of us when it comes to our kids. We think that how our kids “look” defines us. We want them to “live up to” our definition of acceptance. And we “feel” passionate about our definition of who we want our kids to be — and it includes their looks — their hair.
Graduation pictures are coming up soon for a lot of seniors and I’m hearing the stories:
- She wants pink hair! What can I do?
- There is no way I’m letting him get a Mohawk!
- It’s jet black and he looks like a thug. His friends don’t want to hang out with him anymore. I’m embarrassed to be seen with him.
And I’ll say it again.
“What’s beneath the surface?”
What is going on with your teen relation-ally?
What are they feeling?
Why is the hair so important to them?
Why is their hair so important to you?
My guess is–it’s not about the hair at all.
Could it be that it is about vanity and pride within us? Ouch!
I pulled out my high school yearbook a few years ago. After the dust cleared I looked at the senior pictures. What did our family laugh about?
And as I look through the mounds of pictures that I’ve been sorting to put into albums, the ones that get chosen are the ones that define my kids at one point in time.
- My son with the gross orange blond hair as he stood by his friend in the Florida sunshine.
- My son with the huge fro because the entire drum line decided to grow their hair out. He was the only one whose band hat would no longer sit appropriately on his head.
- My daughter with curls that couldn’t be tamed all because everyone was sporting a perm.
- My son the skinhead because that’s what swimmers do.
My suggestion to moms is simple, “don’t worry about the hair”. The hair can be changed tomorrow.
Instead, focus on what is underneath the surface — the feelings, insecurities, and the wanting to fit in. Build the relationship over the conflict. Validate the emotion and sit in their space connecting over what is important to them — not you.
And 10, 25, and even 30 years from now as you look back over those senior pictures, you’ll have a story to tell about that one point in time…
Where it was all about the hair.
And if you’ve focused on what is beneath the surface, you’ll laugh about it together.
Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things.
“Let go…and Let God”,