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Daughter Will Not Let Me Brush Or Fix Her Hair

by Kelly
(Memphis)

Every morning before school, my daughter fights me on her hair. I will fix it and then she will take it out and look like a ragamuffin and then cry for me to re-fix it when it's time to leave and that starts a big fight.

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Mom And Daughter Hair Days - Part One
by: Annie Desantis

Hi Kelly,
Girls and their hair - such a common thing for Mothers and daughters to fight over!

Moms want their little girls to look cute, or at least tidy, and there is also a lot of media emphasis on hair, clothes and looks, and our girls grow up thinking how they look is of primary importance.

Doing our daughter's hair can be a lovely nurturing sharing bonding time, but when it becomes stressful and rushed, it has the reverse effect.

I would firstly suggest you opt out of the morning hair drama. By that I mean, tell you daughter you want doing her hair to be a fun, sharing time, and if it is unpleasant you no longer want to take part in it. Don't make it a punishment, or threat, but just a gentle statement.

Then have a Mom and Daughter day out at the hairdressers - both get your hair done. Get her to look through the magazines (FOR KIDS!!) and in consultation with the hairdresser for HER to choose a style that she can maintain herself. Get the hairdresser to teach her how to place clips so she has options to "pretty" her hair. You can follow up with that in having hair play days, where you play around with each others hair, creating styles and having fun together.

So in effect you are bringing back something positive and sharing into the issue, but you are opting out of the daily drama of you having to be the one to fix her hair.

Part Two Follows . . .

Mother And Daughter Hair Days - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

If she still throws a drama in the mornings, tell her you will only help if she is going to enjoy your time together, and that you will help her learn to do it herself.

Don't get hooked into the fight, she will try it on a few times to test you out and see if you cave in and fix her hair, but when she learns you are not going to play the game anymore, she will give it up. Just ignore most of the drama, and just quietly say you only want to have fun hair days, not hair fights.

The other thing you can think about is - your attachment to wanting her to go to school looking neat and tidy (not a ragamuffin!) As parents we think our kids are going to reflect on us, and we require their behavior, appearance and participation to make us look like good parents.

There is a lot of difference between a neglected child, and a child who is learning to dress themselves, or do her own hair. Letting her learn to take care of herself, or ask for help respectfully, is much more important than if she turns up in school looking a bit scruffy. No one is going to think you are a bad parent - and even if they do, that is their problem, you know you are a great Mom.

Part Three Follows . . .

Mother And Daughter Hair Days - Part Three
by: Annie Desantis

Now the other issue is what is behind the hair fights. It sounds to me like there is a power struggle - you trying to force her to get ready on time - looking nice and neat, and her trying to manipulate you into doing it "right" for her.

I am wondering if she is using this issue to get extra attention from you. Kids create drama when they want attention, and having a fight sure gets your energy. And this interaction has become a regular habit. But it would be much more productive to create more positive times together in other ways.

Life is busy and as parents we often use our best energy doing the chore part of parenting - providing an income, shopping, cooking, cleaning. Then our kids get 10 minutes at bedtime, and often even then you are tired and wanting them to settle down so you can have some breathing space for yourself.

She may well be creating a drama to get your energy, or to push back and get a bit more autonomy. Make a point of creating more fun positive times together where you give her your full attention. Mom and daughter relationships are pretty special, and it is the times you spend together now when she is young that will pay off big time when she is a stroppy teenager.

Let go a little of your expectation about her looking nice - I would rather see a dirty scruffy happy child getting stuck into life, than a pretty neat and tidy child that worries about how she looks. Your daughter is clearly not a passive child, and she is going to assert herself and her demands and make sure she gets the most out of life. When we end up in a familiar ongoing stress or there is a trigger issue with our kids, then as the parent, we can take responsibility for opting out of the fight, and finding a way to get back to our loving - which is really what is most important about parenting.

Find ways to get back to hairdressing being fun with her, and be creative about the morning routine to interrupt the pattern, and you will notice a big difference I am sure.

Let me know how you go!
Annie D :)

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