Please Don’t Touch :: A Boy’s Story

My son has curly locks. Like delicious curly. When he was younger they were golden and unruly! Now that he’s gotten older, the Italian in him has over shadowed the Irish and his hair has darkened to a beautiful brown — but his curls remain.

He’s the only one in our family with curls and I had a LOT of learning to do! As a matter of fact, if you ask him who he gets his curly hair from, he will matter of factly respond, “From the mailman!”

Curl maintenance is a whole ‘nother level y’all. Curls require moisture, on the daily! They require combs or picks and never a brush. His curls required me to learn all about #nopoo (no shampoo) & #curlygirlmethod (which is misleading because it’s just curly maintenance—gender aside).

As we learned to care for his specific hair type, his curls just got cuter! But here’s the problem with cute curls: they’re a magnet for strangers’ hands. And I get it! For those of us without curls, we just want to admire the beauty of the unknown, the unattainable. But it happened EVERYWHERE. It wasn’t just friends and family, it was random strangers at Sam’s, Target, Walmart.

But here’s the thing, when you’re doing your best to teach your kids about body autonomy and the fact they have a say so in who and how they make contact, strangers feeling entitled to caress the curls was a major backslide. You could SEE his dislike, it changed his body language. It became a problem. So we started having conversations, reminding him he could say no, he was allowed to own the dialogue. He could request people stop touching his hair. This tiny reminder that he was in control of ALL of his body was all he needed! His life-force was recharged.

So now, when we’re approached by a hair admirer, instead of seeing him tense at the inevitable hair assault, I get to watch him take a deep breath and confidently say, “Please stop.” Or even, “I don’t want you to touch my hair.”

Reactions to his assertiveness have varied, but the facts don’t change; he has the right to both ask or tell you to stop touching him. And if that hurts your feelings, I’m sorry but I’m also 100% okay with it. I mean as an adult, I’d be totally weirded out if a stranger walked up and just started fondling my hair, wouldn’t you?

trixraney
Trix started her life in Georgia and after bouncing around living in Myrtle Beach, Tahoe City, and Nashville, her (now) husband wrangled her into a life of Bayou living here in Baton Rouge. She’s the mother of four; a vivacious 6 year old, a curly haired 3 year old, their newest dream sleeper a 6 month old, and one sweet babe taken far too soon. She’s well versed in potty humor & innuendos while perfecting the art of sarcasm on the daily. When she’s not busy living the carpool life, complete with yoga pants & coffee she is running her business Rane or Shine Designs.

1 COMMENT

  1. Trix, this post resonated with me! I’m also a Louisiana Mom contributor and have written about this because it’s such an issue for some reason! But, like you, we promote physical autonomy in our household so we have been modeling how to be assertive when others want to touch their hair without permission. Now, they stand up for themselves and say, “No” or “Don’t touch my hair”. Thank you for writing about your experience! It’s good to know I’m not alone!

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