While my mom wouldn’t let me dye my hair when I was in fourth grade (in fact, I still think she’d say no), one 2-year-old has gotten the go-ahead from her mother to not only dye her hair, but wear makeup and fake tattoos.
Tattoo artist Amy Lyn has tattoos, pink hair, and stretched ears, and doesn’t believe that her daughter BellaMae should have to wait until she’s a certain age to similarly express herself.
“I didn’t force her … to do this to herself,” Amy began a video on YouTube about her views on children and appearance manipulation. “It started out with stickers for her,” she explained. “We tried to encourage stickers to be just on paper, but I started seeing her put more and more stickers all over herself. She would just cover herself in stickers. So one day when we were at the store, I decided to pick up a pack of little temporary children’s tattoos for her.”
When she explained the process of temporary tattoos and how they last a few days, BellaMae “instantly fell in love” with the idea. “I didn’t say, ‘Hey we’re gonna do tattoos now.’ I just said, ‘Do you like the look of these? … They’re called tattoos.’ And she was interested,” Amy recalled.
Next came the makeup and hair. “She sees me with my colored hair all the time, and she likes my lipstick, and I’ll let her wear lipstick a few days whenever she wants,” Amy said. “So I decided, Halloween’s coming up, and other girls she’s friends with and plays with were gonna do colored hair just for Halloween, and I had some leftover dye from myself.” She uses Manic Panic and Arctic Fox semi-permanent dye, which doesn’t really damage your hair at all, according to Amy, who added, “She wouldn’t need her hair bleached or anything for it to color her hair just a little bit.” When she asked BellaMae if she was interested in dyeing her hair, BellaMae was confused. “I showed her other children from all over the internet with colored hair … and she instantly said, ‘I want blue hair.’ … I didn’t say, ‘We’re gonna dye your hair blue now,’” Amy pointed out.
The blue didn’t come out so well, so a few days later they tried a pink/purple blend. “She loved it; it came out in her hair perfectly,” the mom reported. Now, a few weeks later, it’s washing out, and Amy thinks BellaMae will be ready for a new color “whenever she decides.”
Not only does this freedom allow BellaMae to be the coolest kid in pre-K, but it has also created plenty of beauty bonding opportunities for the mother-daughter duo.
“The reason that I let her do this is because, one, she sees me with it and that’s her normal,” Amy explained. “If she’s interested in brightly colored hair and tattoos all over her, great. I think she should express herself from a young age so when she’s older, she won’t have to waste any time trying to find out who she is, like many of us adults now do. I think we should learn who we are at a young age, so that we can live the rest of our lives the way that we want in a positive manner.”
And it isn’t just about allowing BellaMae to explore her creative streak; there’s an even more important life lesson in the freedom Amy allows her daughter. “I think waiting until they are in middle school or high school or even 18 years of age, is too long to wait to teach them about choices and cause and effect,” she said, according to Daily Mail. She believes this will save her daughter from making some mistakes later on in life (and if this writer’s botched and secretive hair-dyeing experiments are any indication, she could be right).
“Most people would say that my daughter (almost 3 years old) is too young to be changing her hair color, but I say let her start choosing now. … I give my child the option to have fun bright hair now, so that she will be a better decision maker later in life.”
Her argument is strong, but not entirely realistic. “Creativity is absolutely important; creativity should be celebrated,” child and adolescent psychologist Barbara Greenberg tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “There’s an opportunity for her to bond with her 2-year-old daughter, and that’s lovely too.
“So, on the one hand, yes, there is something to all types of parenting, more conservative parenting and alternative parenting. But it’s a bit of a reach to believe that at 2, this approach will make your daughter able to make wiser adult decisions, because of her freedom of creativity,” says Greenberg. “And while the mother is hopeful about that, and I do believe the mother is coming from a place of good intention, there’s no reason to believe that this kind of expression at age 2 is going to teach the child about cause and effect and will speed up the process of teaching the daughter who she is. That’s a bit much to expect.”
On top of that, Greenberg does recommend holding off on the makeup when it comes to kids.
“I would prefer that children focus on something other than their appearance at such a young age, because girls have a tough road ahead of them in terms of so much emphasis being placed on their appearance,” she insists. But this is a complicated situation. “On the other hand, this mother believes in creativity, she’s a tattoo artist, this is what she loves, so I’m not going to judge her on a micro level, but in general I would prefer … that our children wait until they’re a little bit older to focus on that.”
Amy understands that not everyone is going to agree with her unique parenting techniques. “I think that other parents that don’t want to bother with hair color in their children’s hair because they don’t think they are old enough to experience that kind of change, that’s fine,” she said in the video. “But I think a different way. And I would love to see who she becomes when she’s older because of it.”
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