Teenagers and HairstylesTeenagers and their Never ending Crusade to Hairstyle Liberation
Teenagers and parents argue about everything and anything. From homework to housework, parents and adolescents will quarrel tirelessly about the serious to the ridiculous, it is part of being a teenager and part of being a parent. Youngster’s hair, or more precisely how not to wear their hair, regularly comes into the arguing domains, as some teenagers find that ‘rebelling’ with their hair, is a way of expressing independence and liberty, much to dismay of their parents.
Should Mums and Dads accept that their son or daughter’s hair is their own and let them decide how to wear it? Or are they right to interfere, to stop their child from making a serious hairstyle blunder that could have repercussions on their future?
At What Age Should Parents curtail from controlling their Teenagers Hair?
Small children rarely bother about what clothes they wear, what trainers to buy, or what color hair they have and how they wear it. One of the most noticeable signs that a child is ‘growing up’ is when they start to be conscious of their appearance and start stating what they want to and do not want to wear.
This initial enthusiasm towards their appearance usually begins when they first become teenagers and gradually deepens throughout their teenage years, as the pressure to ‘look good’ also intensifies. This desire to dress and wear their hair and makeup the way they choose is a natural response to growing up, and any teenager who is not conscious of their appearance would be considered a little ‘odd’. In this sense when children reach the age of 13 giving them the freedom to decide when and how to cut their hair is a positive step in accepting that they are no longer ‘babies’.
Letting teenagers perm their hair when they want to, cut off their long, flowing locks they have had since they were two years old, or dyeing their hair another color should be encouraged not dejected as it will give teenagers some of the freedom that they crave and not to mention will be one less thing to argue about.
Although giving teenagers their own space and allowing them to decide their own hairstyle is all very well when a son or daughter is happy to bob along with the fashion, without springing any ‘hair shockers’ on their parents. Problems arise when a son or a daughter dramatically enters the room donning deep purple locks, or worse still a completely shaven head! Surely then it is acceptable for parents to ‘step in’.
“You Can’t Go Out Looking That!”
Teenagers who ‘go against the rules’ and drastically change their hair is usually done as some kind of statement, which in a society that is fashion crazed and sheep-like, dramatically disobeying ‘the rules’ is perceived as abnormal and that there ‘must be something wrong’. Parents recognize this popular view as they too are wary of their offspring befriending the long-haired, nose studded, Gothic dressed boy from down the road.
Parents are also often worried about how they will be judged as parents if their son or daughter turns up at the school gates with hair as pink as raspberry bubblegum, as schools usually have a strict code of appearance, which includes little make-up, no short skirts and no ‘flamboyant’ or ‘radical’ hairstyles. Whilst it may seem unfair that parents and teachers should bully teenagers into adhering to a set of standards regarding appearance, which has been deemed as ‘acceptable’ by society, and that adolescents should be allowed to wear their hair any way they choose, it is arguably for ‘their best interests’.
Given the ‘unstable’ or ‘unreliable’ connotations of a teenager with dreadlocks or purple hair, potential employers are less likely to employ them, they are less likely to gain entrance to a university which requires a face to face interview, and potential partners might be ‘scared off’. As pathetic as it may sound we live in a culture which depends a lot on first appearances, and our parents recognize this and the potential risks a radical hairstyle may pose and want to protect us from the discrimination their physically ‘wayward’ offspring will almost inevitably experience.