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Teen Hair Styles and Going Goth: What to Do When Your Child Wants to Radically Style Her Hair
Listening to teens, and negotiating with teens using teen counselling tips can help parents understand peer pressure, see where their teens are coming from, and help them to encourage teens to look beyond fashion towards deeper issues.
Teen Peer Pressure
Youth preferences for ”Gothic Black” hair are usually teen culture-related and are influenced by choices peers are making in finding an identity or sub-culture with which to align themselves. Teen daughters may additionally experience low self-esteem. They may perceive a need for the boost that friends tell them “going blonde” will give, They may even want to chop their long tresses into shaggy bobs, or shorn punk styles.
Eye-catching as these hairstyles may be – there are safety, health and ethical considerations, and teens should analyse whether decisions originate from their peers or are truly uniquely their own.
Peer-acceptance is important to teens’ emotional well-being. Parents can help them to find their own unique voice however, and to develop confidence in articulating it firmly.
Negotiating With Teens – Hair Fashions
When requests put them on the spot, parents may be tempted to try and “nip them in the bud” with a sharp “No.” This could be counter-productive, and may re-bound, inciting reciprocal obduracy and creating a barrier to dialogue. Tensions may escalate and suddenly the issue isn’t hair color any more, but worse – teen defiance.
Parents may do better to disarm the teen, surprising them with:
“OK, let’s talk about what this issue involves when we both have enough time set aside to do it justice. You research the costs, environmental concerns, health hazards, school policy etc for me, and we’ll talk.”
This research approach may bring up an armoury of considerations teens hadn’t thought through. They may be pleasantly surprised to be taken seriously as young adults and may be more co-operative and open to negotiation. It also buys parents time to research hair issues themselves!
Ignoring demands may lead to teens picking up messages of tacit approval and just arriving one day with a shock of black shaggy hair, and a situation where parents have been bounced into false acceptance.
Teen Counselling Tips – Hairstyle Fashions
Parents could suggest that teens research possible health issues around hair dyes. Teen daughters may be keen to know of any adverse effects on the future condition of their hair. Do they really want dry, brittle hair with roots, split ends or greenish reverse-dyed hair instead of their current silky tresses?
Teen sons may consider the downside of long greasy fringes, sideburns and hair around the face. Eye strain could be caused by a trailing fringe. Spotty complexions aren’t helped by oily hair around the face either.
Costs may also deter teens if they realise they must pay for radical changes and reversals which hurt parents emotionally.
Exciting alternatives like blue-black hair extensions or croppy burgundy wigs could be suggested. Considered pretty cool, these can be removed instantly after parties or when bored of the effect.
Appealing to a teen’s better nature may work in animal welfare discussions. Many kind-hearted teens are shocked to discover that some hair products are tested on trusting creatures. They could research animal welfare organisations, read some pitiful accounts, and perhaps even sign a petition.
Environmentally-aware teens may respond positively to the threat to our planet from the manufacture of dyes, bleaches and toxins.
Teen Boundaries – Fashion
Existing parent/teen contracts could be revisited. Parents who have previously been models of tolerance and approachability could cite past fashion concessions, reminding teens of deals struck and boundaries agreed. Behaviour promises and rewards are not “for one day only” sale bargains but should apply to lifestyle fashion generally, showing consideration for the sensitivities of others (parents!)
If all else fails, some parents may accept that their teen is now an independent, thinking, autonomous young adult who is different to them – not necessarily worse, or better – just different. At least counselled teens are making informed decisions. Parents can only try to celebrate the new, unique citizen they have produced – their teen.