Being an aunt is probably one of the best roles that I have. I love my niece, Olive. She’s definitely the daughter that I never had, or haven’t had yet, rather.
She recently turned 12, and she is extremely intelligent and opinionated. Her mother, my older sister, is a great mom and honestly, I hope to be just as great as a mother one day.
However, when it comes to certain things regarding Olive*’s hair, my sister is a little less lenient and stubborn. Olive was born with beautiful hair, and now it’s still beautiful, and midway down her back. My sister and I are both natural, and Olive* has been natural her whole life.
The other day, I walked into Olive’s room and found her sitting on her bed crying. After speaking with her and calming her down, I learned that she had gotten into an argument with some girls at school because they were picking on her hair.
She said that they were saying she looks like a wild animal because her hair is never tamed. I certainly could relate to her. I too was picked on in middle school for having long, thick hair, that sometimes looked unruly. I knew that the other kids were just jealous, but I knew that telling my niece that was not going to make her feel any better, so I just let her vent.
She then told me that she’s been begging her mother to get a relaxer for weeks, but her mom wouldn’t let her. Again, it was as if Olive was a miniature version of my 12-year-old self because my mother wouldn’t let me get a relaxer either.
I explained to Olive that her mother had good reason for not wanting her to get a relaxer in her hair, and also that I would talk to her. One thing about my sister is that she is extremely stubborn, so even though I did talk to her, she didn’t budge.
She said that as long as Olive is under 18 and living in her house, she was going to follow her rules, which meant no relaxer.
Even to this day my sister still hasn’t budged, and I’m just worried that my niece is going to try to rebel, and do the relaxer herself.
All I can do is simply be a listening ear, and sounding board for my niece to vent to, even though I really want to just let her get a relaxer. Have any of you ever experienced a similar situation with a young family member, what would you do when she comes to you for help?
Wow! You dropped the ball on this one “Auntie”! Once your niece calmed down why didn’t you explain to her how her hair is beautiful, thick, and healthy and how some girls and women will be envious enough to try to tear down her self esteem. Why didn’t you take it as a moment to explain to her the risks she would take with getting a relaxer? Why not show her all the beautiful women in the world who are celebrating their natural manes of all different types, lengths, colors, etc? Why not join together with your sister and the three of you could discuss all the reasons why you and your sis are natural? Why not find all the different hairstyles she can achieve with leaving her hair natural? Tell and show her the damage she can receive by relaxing or excessive heat damage if she tries to make her hair conform to appease these bullies? Why not take this as teaching moment to love oneself despite a bunch of bullies and to focus her energy on school, family, and good friends?
Do not think like your 12 yr old self, think like an adult who knows more now than she did then. There are countless stories of women whose hair suffered when they got to your niece’s age because they wanted a relaxer or to press/flat iron all the time or just wanted to take care of their hair themselves. I think all the time that if I knew then what I know now about relaxers I would have never got one. I wish I had an Auntie who was natural and had hair like mine and could show me how to properly care for my hair in its natural state. I had to wait like many women to figure it on my own and as an adult. I agree with your sister on this one. She’s not being stubborn about your niece’s hair she is being consistent. She made a decision and she’s sticking to it. Your niece can get a relaxer when she is an adult and living independently, and if she still wants to at that time.
Ashley Elaine Plummer says
No it is not. If that is what she wants
Leillah Sekla says
It’s not your child. She does not live in your house. Her mother’s rules have to come first. If you truly want her to have the relaxer, you need to convince her mum.
Denise Mills says
THATS UP TO HER MOM AND HER,,,
YOU ONLY AUNTIE,,
Sandra Bembry says
It is very disrespectful to your sister. Even if you don’t agree you shouldn’t get the relaxer for her. You will be a better sister and auntie by showing your niece you are able respect her mothers wishes while in disagreement. Please instill in your niece that she is beautiful and “tame hair” is what we were brainwashed to believe equals beauty. Our hair is magic relaxing it only makes it like everyone else’s in the world. When she is 18 and still has her tresses she will be thankful.
Denise Lester says
Who’s the child? and who’s the parent? Good decisions are made by responsible PARENTS!
Noèl Kimmie says
Heck no..never perm someone’s else child hair!
Tamasha M. Robertson says
With how much hair she has, that relaxer could be regrettable. It’s a good opportunity for some education.
Cyré Olivia says
Don’t you dare!
Phoenix McGee says
Yes that is blatantly disrespectful, she might want it and you can agree all y’all want, but you can’t get it for her. Not your child, not your job, not your place. All you’d be doing is teaching her to disobey her mother. The fact that you did help ease the child’s pain is good but a relaxer won’t solve the real issue; bullies will target in whatever way they can.
Dejon Legaux says
That’s not your child…
AG Moore says
Bottom line is that is her sister’s child and she as to respect the rules she has for her daughter. If she wants to relax someone’s hair so bad see needs to have a daughter of her own. Although when she see the long term damage it can cause she might think twice.
Quennie Dixon says
Yes, you are the mother.
Stacie Hart says
Don’t cross that LINE!!!!
Vedejah Scroggins says
Try alternatives a keratin blowout it wears off and the hair goes back to being natural after 6 weeks 4 for the first few times or a regular blow out but nothing permanent at this point or maybe just a wig so she can see if she’ll even like it straightened my experience is the exact opposite my mom wants a perm lol so my natural hair has to be on point 24/7 or I’ll hear her mouth about it but at the end of the day this isn’t your child and you need to your niece that there’s consequences to a perm it could cause breakage if you don’t care for it you have to keep perming it it’s best if a professional cares for it weekly so it costs money and time just as much as natural hair but at the end of the day it’s her mothers choice and if her mom says no then it’s a no unless she does do it herself and that could be a disaster
Diane Scott says
Not your child. Not your business, stay out of the middle
Spirit Makaijai says
Don’t! you will ruin that child’s hair forever.
Can you take her to natural hair events? Let her watch some natural hair gurus on YT ( you can watch them with her). Look up a salon that practice the devacut. Maybe she just wants a new shape? Buy her some books, etc.
She probably needs to speak to other natural women besides the both of you. Maybe girls her age?
Did you break down the definition of “TAMED” ? The word runs very deep. Please don’t let that baby relax her hair. Once she’s 18 , she can decide.
Renee' Sellers says
Even though you’re the aunt dont over step your boundaries, respect what your sister desires for her child. Natural hair is beautiful. I wasn’t allowed to get a relaxer in my hair, until I turned 18 thought I was grown my hair was half way my back.My daughter is wanting a relaxer, I am trying to get her to embrace her natural hair. With natural hair you have so many options, as to relaxed.
Patricia McGlother Pittman Mba says
Let her see woman bald head because of perms, weaves being left in their heads for months. She just might change her mind.