PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL (WFLA) — “Unicorn hair,” hair that’s dyed with multiple bright colors, is huge with tweens and teens. A search on YouTube turns up dozens of tutorials from professional stylists or, more often, bloggers.
Recently, a professional hairstylist from Panama City Beach, FL, who often colors clients’ hair in bright colors, was inundated with haters, and supporters, after posting photos on Instagram of her six-year-old daughter with multi-colored hair. The mom, Mary Thomaston, pointed out the child’s hair was dyed with color that washes out, and does not contain chemicals. She also says she contacted her daughter’s school for approval before coloring her daughter’s hair.
The question of balancing what your child wants, in this case colored hair, with what you think is best, can trouble a lot of parents. But the solution may be as easy as asking the right questions, says Child Psychologist Dr. Steve O’Brien. He says how you respond to your kids’ requests to express their creativity can have a lasting impact on your relationship with them.
“It’s important not to come back with an immediate yes or no,” O’Brien says. “You miss an opportunity to learn more about your kid if you simply come right out with those nos.”
Dr. O’Brien says even if the idea of blue, pink or green hair makes you cringe, you should take the opportunity to understand your child’s motivations.
“It’s important to ask, how did you get that idea? And, what do you think would be good about that? Who else have you talked to about this? Do you know other people that are doing this? :You want to have the kind of conversation where the kid doesn’t sense that you’re judging them negatively.”
If you decide you’re cool with allowing your kid to be a little “out there” with their hair or fashion, be sure to prepare them for all scenarios – the positive *and negative reactions they may get.
Says Dr. O’Brien, “Some people may like what you did, but some people may not. Let’s talk about what some people may say, and what you can do about it when they say that.”
And when it comes to parents, like Thomaston, taking heat for her choices, O’Brien says it’s important to avoid casting judgement on others.
“A lot of times we may say we’d handle something a certain way with a child, but when we’re in that situation, end up handling things in a way we didn’t anticipate.”