STORY NO. 1 – Self-Identity
“Mom, after my 10th board exams, I want to colour my hair blue.”
My 15-year-old teen said this to me. My heart indeed missed a beat and I was in shock!! “Are you crazy? You
can’t colour your hair. It will spoil your hair. No one in our family has ever done it. Your dad will not approve of it.”
– These are the exact words in which I replied, but obviously not in a gentle tone.
Do you relate to this? Has this conversation happened in your house?
What my teen is thinking:
“All my friends are doing it. It looks so cool.”
“I’ll look different. I can stand out and also be part of my tribe”.
“My friends’ moms have taken them to the salon and allowed them to colour their hair. Why is my mom acting so uncool and conservative?”
“I am just asking for such a small thing, why so much drama by my parents?”
“The teenagers across the world are colouring their hair.
It’s the latest trend.”
What’s going on in my mind:
“Oh My God! Has this girl gone crazy? Coloured hair and that too BLUE! How am I going to face my parents?
What will my in-laws say? Coming from a family where my dad didn’t even like me trimming my hair, it was too
stressful for me. Have I failed as a mom, to inculcate the family values in her?”
“Have I given her too much liberty by over pampering her?”
“She is too young; her hair will be unhealthy and weak now on.”
“These are her days to study, rather focus on these things. Why doesn’t she understand this?”
What followed was days of arguments, opposition, crying and coaxing from both sides. All this happened during the 10th board exam study-leave period, where focus on studies was more important for her and she was focused on these things. Yes, I had seen many teenagers colour their hair and their parents supporting them too. But, “Hair colour and our daughter”, too much for us to digest and accept.
We as a family (our teen and us), had two choices:
1. To keep our stand and continue with our
arguments ending into a hot or cold war
2. To meet in between and come to an amicable solution.
As a family, we have always worked to understand each other’s perspective. We realized, it’s part of her growing process in the journey of teenage. Hence, we chose Option 2. We three sat together and came up with a solution which was acceptable for all of us.
➢ We first wrote each other’s feelings of how we
felt about her colouring hair and discussed it.
➢ Then we wrote down the pros and cons of
colouring hair, which she had discussed with
her friends and my friends. I also read a lot of
books, spoke to many friends.
➢ She set goals to achieve in her academics,
so she rewards herself for achieving it by
colouring her hair.
When she achieved the goal, I personally
accompanied her to the salon. She decided to start by only colouring the ends blue and in streaks. She loved it and took full responsibility of taking care of her hair daily, to keep it healthy. We both liked to see our daughter with a different look. Ya! I also got a chance to tease her“Peacock”. My parents and in-laws loved her new look. With this, all my apprehensions just fizzled off.
I realized these important things: –
1. Grandparents love everything about their grand-children.
2. As a mom, if I don’t understand her perspective and explain to my family, then who will?
Our teen realized this –
1. Every problem can be solved calmly.
2. My parents love me, but I too have to make an effort to know their perspective.
It’s been 3–4 years now, she has already coloured her hair many times with green, deep blue, purple and red. She takes good care of her hair and fulfils her responsibility. We are really proud of her and support her.
“It’s always safer to allow your teenager to experiment things under your supervision, rather than when they are independent and away from you.”