How do you teach your child to be proud of their natural hair and your hair is blown straight? How can you expect your child to rock a twist out, or afro, at 9 years old—an age where her ability to “fit in” may define her self-worth for the rest of her life—and she is being sent a mixed message at home? You tell your baby girl every day, “Don’t worry about what they say. You have to love your natural hair,” but you are wearing a 3 foot silky straight weave as your “protective style.”
Our children learn more from what we do than from what we say. They are little lawyers constantly looking for evidence to support what we claim is the truth. Don’t believe me? Try reprimanding your child with a smile on your face and see how effective it is. They watch us to see if we truly mean the words we speak. I cannot fully tell my child to believe in herself when it is evident that I do not believe in myself. I cannot tell her to love her hair and it is obvious to her that I am ashamed of mine, or see it as my casual style, but not appropriate for “dressy” occasions.
Have you seen the news story by WPTV News that speaks about the reasons many Black women are “going natural?” I truly commend Rochelle Ritchie for publicly addressing this topic and the huge commitment she made. This video really stirred me because it speaks of a mother with straightened hair who was raising her beautiful daughter with natural hair. She spoke of how her daughter was being teased at school every day and wanted to have hair like her mom’s. At some point, this loving mom was touched by her child’s pain and made a decision that I wish more moms would consider. She decided do the “big chop” in support of her child and began to wear her hair naturally!
We have to teach our kids by example, and they need to know that they are beautiful as is. We can speak it all we want but we are not showing it if our go-to style is always silky straight. They know better; they know when we don’t believe what we say. I want more for my daughter than that. And I want more for your children, as well. That’s why wrote I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!
Let’s lead by example: drop the weaves and lace fronts. Those styles are destroying more than just our hairlines; they are killing our children’s self-esteem. Let’s commit to loving ourselves openly before our children. If we don’t teach them, who will?
Marlene Dillon is the author of I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! a beautiful picture book that teaches children to embrace their natural beauty. It is her passion to empower children and their parents with the message that “we are ALL beautiful as is.” I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is available on Amazon, click this link to visit the site. For bookings and to order books for your store, please email email@example.com.
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged African-American, blogger, blogging, curly hair, empowerment, inspire, mom blogs, naturalhair, parenting, weave, wordpress
I am sooo excited that my book is FINALLY out! 😀 The reality is that I can hardly contain my joy because I realize that for once, I had a really big task in front of me—not a go pick up the dry cleaning task, but a lives will be affected if you do this (and lives will be affected if you don’t) kinda task—and I overcame every possible obstacle and got it done! I am so excited because I am walking in my purpose, finally. I love my blog, but this is something different. The manner, the reach, the opportunity to shift a child’s life from mediocre (or less than) to walking in their greatness (as they were created to be) is something totally different.
I know that sounds like a tall order for a picture book, but I see the bigger picture. This book starts the conversation that so many parents overlook. What I realize now, as I raise my little girl, is that you can teach a child to be confident. It’s actually something you instill in them. They don’t just pick it up at school. It’s not just their natural way or personality. The words that we speak to a child, the way that we address them, how we react to their mistakes, and whether or not we celebrate their successes all work together to fill their head with “I am enough” versus “I’ll never measure up.”
A beautiful story of self-acceptance for our little ones.
I am excited about I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!—that many think is about hair care tips for kids, or about race, or that it in some way excludes one race or another (or even members of the same race). The truth of the matter is, even I had the wrong idea when I first started writing it. It was a book “for little brown girls” when I first started “fleshing it out,” but somewhere in the process of writing it, I said to myself, “this message is universal.” I realized that an alabaster-skinned, freckle-faced redhead deals with the same struggles of “fitting in” that a little brown girl with tight curls does. Maybe it’s not the same in depth and history and indoctrination, but the pain of not being accepted is the same. The pain, and joy, and all the other emotions that are core to humanity, connect us all. We all can relate to wondering if our differences make us less, or unworthy, or deserving of isolation. I want children to learn early that our differences and similarities are all beautiful and worthy of celebration—in short, that we are ALL beautiful as is. It is a simple message, but a hugely important one. If we teach our children in preschool that they are amazing, we don’t have to convince them in high school that they are significant.
This is my proactive effort toward eliminating low self-esteem. If you agree with this message, please share this post, and if you are able, purchase a copy of I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! for the little one’s in your life. It’s now available on Amazon! 🙂
I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is now on Amazon!
Posted in Blog Posts, New Product Alert
Tagged acceptance, children, children's books, Christmas gifts, confidence, development, differences, early childhood, identity, natural, natural hair, parenting, picture books, preschool, self esteem, uniqueness