There's been a lot of debate lately on the subject of crochet braids and protective styles in general for children. There are some pretty disturbing images online of children wearing hair that's longer than their little bodies. And unfortunately, those images have caused a lot of parents to feel judged.
Many people feel that children should not wear protective styles. Some people think it makes children look too grown up. I have a neighbor who feels like it's teaching our children to not appreciate their own hair. And there are others who think it's just irresponsible parenting altogether. First and foremost, if you are a parent then you do what you find is best for your child and your lifestyle. If you aren't a parent, then please take a seat before you judge someone who is.
As a mother and a stylist, I often style my children and family members as models for the crochet braids that I offer as a service. But I cannot say that I leave my child in a protective style 100% of the time. We often go between her wearing her hair by itself and wearing the crochet braids.
For those who question the motives of a parent to use a protective style for their child. Here are the top 3 reasons why:
(1) Time - it takes time to maintain a child's hair on a daily basis and it's often time-consuming in the mornings when it's time to go to school. Wearing a protective style saves time and actually gives the child more time to rest.
(2) Comfort - Children don't have to be tenderheaded to dislike getting their hair combed daily. It can be a painful experience to have you hair combed, brushed, braided or twisted on a daily basis. Its also not healthy to manipulate the hair daily and oversaturate it with products.
(3) Longevity - Protective styles last longer than the standard ponytail or afro puff. If Little Mama can wear her style for 2 weeks without having to suffer through the daily detangling process, then its a win for her and her parents.
As for those who think protective styles affect a child's identity, please know that self-esteem is a reflection of Nurturing, not Asthetics. Does your child know that they are your first priority? Do they feel loved? Do they know the difference between grooming and putting on a mask?
I agree with those who say there should be limits in place. Hair extensions can definitely make a child look older than they are. And it is distasteful, in many cases, to see a young child with hair extensions past their waist or heavy, bulky and overwhelming on their little heads. But some things are just a matter of poor taste and not a reflection of poor parenting. Please keep that in mind the next time you pass judgement on someone who gave their child a protective style. The rude comments I've seen online have far more negative impact on children than any hairstyle ever could.