It’s so important to give teens the chance to express themselves.
The tween and teen years are rife with situations where you have to be on top of your game as a parent. It’s a time for experimentation and stretching the boundaries. Teens are desperate to find themselves and as one mom acknowledged when she let her daughter dye her hair blue, we have to let them try.
Heather Sokol writes of her teen begging for blue “Manic Panic” hair dye and after saving up some babysitting money, she went for it. Of the result, Sokel says, “I thought she was planning a streak or two, but a full tub of hair dye and one incredibly blue bathroom later, her gorgeous blonde hair is no more. And, I fully support it. Mostly.”
The “mostly” part is understandable. Even the most allowing and care-free moms would be within their rights to have a touch of trepidation if their child asks to drastically alter their appearance. After all, that’s your baby. They were born looking one way and that’s how you’ve always known and loved them. It’s normal to be a little rattled at first. But it’s important not to stay that way.
As Sokel goes on to explain, it’s so crucial for teens to have a little space to find themselves and have those small moments of doing as they please without a parent coming down on them. Remembering your own adolescence could make situations like this a bit easier to swallow as Sokel recalls the feelings she had throughout her teen years. “I wanted to be so different. I dyed my hair when I could get away with it. I pierced what my parents would allow. I dressed in things that made my mother cringe.”
Didn’t we all? It’s a right of passage to explore as a teen and choosing an “out there” hair color is pretty low on the danger scale. There are certainly worse things they could be doing.
Besides, what message are we sending our child if they try to express themselves and we quash it immediately? Sokel points out that kids need a safe way to express themselves, especially as teens when the temptation to experiment with drugs or alcohol can be strong. If having blue hair makes a teen feel good and satisfies their urge to rebel, why would we want to stop them? It’s really not that big of a deal but could mean the world to them.
Every parent has to make choices according to their own values but it’s so important to consider our children and their self-esteem. A choice we may view as ridiculous or juvenile probably is through our adult lens….but that’s because teens aren’t adults. They’re working on it and a little understanding from a parent can go a long way toward getting through those awkward years with their confidence intact.
We may balk internally at hair colors not found in nature, but hair grows and dye fades. But in allowing this form of self-expression, we could do our teens a world of good. It tells them we love them and respect them for who they are — and for who they’re growing up to be. And that’s what all kids need to hear.