Colour Me Unique!
“Mum, can you get an appointment at the hairdresser?” That was enough for me to be suspicious immediately, none of my boys volunteered to go to the hairdresser. Something was afoot. “Yeah, are you getting a cut?” (hope springs eternal).
“Nah, I am thinking of getting it coloured…blue”… Of course you want to darling. Sigh.
I look at Youngest and see that he is at that stage of early teens; no longer a kid, but not quite the adult yet. He had grown his hair long (but not as long as others thankfully), and it is very dark. Gone is the chubby cheeked, fair-haired cheeky little monkey that was my baby. As the youngest, he has grown up in the shadows of his brothers and it was plain to see that
he was trying to find his own identity during this, his first year of high school.
When my babies were young I would see those teenage boys wearing black (got any blacker?) and with long scraggly hair tipped with bright colours and shudder. My cherubs won't ever do that, or so I thought! Ha! In fact, two of the three decided that coloured hair was the go, despite my earlier perceptions on the matter. I would never have had thought that I would be discussing blue hair with my son!
You see, the whole THING about being a teenager is discovering who you are and finding your individual uniqueness.
In most cases, they do this by ….all looking exactly the same! Don’t you love it? For youngest, he wanted to have black hair with blue tips. He wanted to stand out (from the guy with green tips) but still be a part of the crowd. It is a tough gig to balance the act of being accepted and maintaining an element of individuality.
I had to assess why my first reaction was to say no – it was that I didn’t want to admit my baby was no longer that … a baby. So my initial reaction was more about me than it was about him. Secondly, I was worried that people would judge him, as I had others all those years ago – so again about me. Hmm really? Are they valid reasons to say no?
What really is the worst thing that can happen? I am a firm believer in giving teens the space they need to explore styles, personas, trends and yes hair colours. I do draw the line at facial piercing. Middle child wanted to get what is called ‘snakebites’: the two under lip studs on either side of the mouth. Yeah, big fat no from me mate! I said no because of the potential damage they can do to teeth, that was my only reason. If he had wanted anything else I may have had to enter into further negotiations. Ear stretching is also a draw card for many teens (I think it is that shock factor??) but it is another thing I say no to. Pretty much anything that had long-term implications was off the table for consideration. Apart from damaging piercings and stretches, I don’t see the harm in giving them the space to feel confident enough to explore what they connect with. It builds confidence and allows them to feel they can express themselves, and to be honest, it is most likely to be a phase for a while, nothing permanent.
In today’s day and age of anxiety, depression and identity crisis for young people, why would you as a parent stifle the exploration to discover who they feel comfortable as? Will my baby have blue tipped hair at 21 or when he enters the workforce? Maybe! Maybe not! Does it really matter? I sure as hell would like a kid who is comfortable in his skin with blue hair, than one who is dying inside because he doesn’t know who he is. As a parent, I believe we should give our
teens a safe loving space to explore who/what they are and how they want to be identified as, without judgment, or our own shit about what others may think.
So, the bargain ended up being – Youngest saves the $120 it was quoted to get the bleaching and the blue colouring done, and then I will book the appointment. IF he saves that much money, then good on him. If he changes his mind between now and then…well, no harm done... (as long as the next request isn’t snake bites!).