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Curls definitely have a mind of their own. Caring for them is no cut and dry easy task.
Both of my girls were born with curls that changed. They both had dark, wavy curls that morphed into more defined brown curls.
When my oldest daughter was around 3 years old, she told me she wanted straight her like her grandma. I was heartbroken. Not that she wanted to be like her grandmother, but that she didn’t see the beauty in her curls.
After that, she frequently asked me why she didn’t have straight hair like Ariel or Rapunzel.
One of the trickiest parts of raising a biracial child is teaching them to embrace both sides of themselves. Both of my children have lighter skin than me. They both have brown eyes and curly hair. As a black mom, that is a sense of pride for me. That with all the hard work of carrying them, there is a little bit of me inside.
My husband and I were already intentional about the kinds of books we read to her. We found as many books as we could with little tan/brown girls on the cover that mentioned self love. The books did most of the work for us, discussing how the main characters embraced their skin color and curls.
What I found, however, is that what she was seeing on t.v. & who she was surrounded by daily was having a greater impact than what we read in books.
Representation in Daily Interactions
We live in town with my husband’s family. So naturally, we see more of the white side of the family. My parents are Jamaicans, and it is important to me that my girls retain our culture, so I make every effort to have more time spent with my family.
They get to see that curls are natural in all different forms, and can come in different textures, and in people with varying skin tones.
Nothing speaks representation like seeing it in the flesh.
We also make sure to have play dates with other children who are biracial or different ethnicities.
Intentional Selection of TV Shows
While I am an avid Disney Princess movie fan, many of the older Disney Princess movies did not showcase diversity. Now, thanks to movies like Princess & the Frog & Moana, my girls can see that princesses come in a variety of shades.
I also love that shows like Nella the Princess Knight & Doc McStuffins showcase smart, brave brown skin colors that are embracing who they are.
I Embraced My Curls
When my youngest was a baby, I decided to take the plunge into natural hair. I finally let go of the straight hair is beautiful message that was fed to me over the years.
It wasn’t met without resistance, tears and frustration. 4 years later, I love that my girls touch my hair and tell me how beautiful it is. They make comments about curly hair like mommy.
They even look at me strange if I’m wearing different protective styles that are straight. They wonder where my curls have gone. My curls represent more than just a style.
My curls connect me to my daughters in such a powerful way.
If you are raising a child by adoption that doesn’t look like you, it is your responsibility to find representation for your child to help them embrace their curls. They will not be able to mirror you if you are not a minority, so you will have to seek that represenation in other places.
Take them to museums that showcase diversity and history.
Travel around the country and internationally.
Have playdates with other multiracial families or families of color.
Be intentional about the movies you go see.
Be intentional about the books you select.
If you can’t do their hair, find someone who can.
Invest in products that work for your child’s curl pattern.
Don’t assume that your children will grow up with self love. Teach them to embrace their curls by talking about them.
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