One mom is refusing to allow her 8-year-old daughter to sleep over at a friend’s house after the friend’s mother cut her hair without permission. She is now asking Reddit for their opinion on what she should do next.
“I am a Black woman and my daughter is half Black. She looks a bit more like me than my husband and has hair very similar to mine, kinky curly and beautiful,” the OP (original poster) shared.
“Before the sleepover, I washed and styled my daughter’s hair (two strand twists). As I was dropping her off the friend’s mom, Susan asks me if my daughter could use ‘normal’ shampoo,” she recalled. “I was a bit uncomfortable and explained that I had already washed and styled her hair. I tried to just laugh it off and then went home.”
“The next day my husband and I go to pick up my daughter and huge chunks of her hair had been cut off!” OP wrote. “We confronted Susan and she explains that the girls wanted to braid each other’s hair and that she didn’t want my daughter to be left out so she tried to braid it herself.”
Susan attempted to wash her daughter’s hair, “even though I told her I had already done so, and it became tangled and matted.” Susan then “tried to comb it my daughter cried so she just cut it.”
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“I was livid. I told her she had no right to touch my daughter’s hair and that I could have come over to do her hair in the style the other girls [were] where doing so she wouldn’t feel left out,” she wrote.
“Susan got defensive and said she was just trying to help,” the OP wrote, “so I left before I did something I would regret.”
“When we got home I asked my daughter what happened and she said that the girls were doing each other’s hair and Susan asked her if she wanted her to do her hair,” OP recalled.
“My daughter said NO, but Susan proceeds to do it anyway,” she continued. “She also encouraged the other girls to stop what they were] doing and also touch my daughter’s hair.”
OP’s daughter admitted she felt uncomfortable. According to OP, her “daughter was the only POC [or person of color], at the sleepover.”
“[My daughter] said that it made her feel uncomfortable, especially when Susan started cutting she was devastated and asked her to stop but she said there was no other way,” OP added. “If Susan had bothered to call me I could have untangled my daughter’s hair because I know what I am doing whereas she clearly does not.”
The mom informed Susan “she had no right to touch my daughter’s hair let alone cut it. That my daughter told her no and she should respect that. I haven’t allowed my daughter to hangout with that friend,” she continued.
“They are classmates and I am fine with them hanging out at school. But I don’t allow my daughter to go to any events where I know her friend’s mother would be because she makes my daughter and I uncomfortable.”
“I got a text from Susan yesterday asking if my daughter could come to another sleepover,” OP explained, “that her daughter misses my daughter and that I shouldn’t punish the girls for her mistake…But I just don’t trust her to care for my daughter,” she wrote, later adding that Susan hasn’t been open to OP hosting the sleepover at her house instead.”
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One user commented: “NTA, and for the record, what Susan did was technically assault, and illegal, and if you wanted to you could press charges against her. Your daughter didn’t consent to her doing anything to her hair, which is a part of her body, and Susan went ahead and did those things anyway. That would be assault no matter what, but considering that she was also an authority figure (an adult and a friend’s parent, and your daughter is just a child), it put your daughter in an even more vulnerable position, both literally and legally.”
“Just to be clear that I’m not trying to jump to outrageous conclusions here: normally I might have said N-A-H, if it seemed like a genuine mistake that got terribly out of hand. Many white women aren’t aware that Black women and others with similar hair (I have very coarse, curly, Mediterranean/Jewish hair) don’t wash their hair daily or near-daily like they do, because of the effort involved and because it’s not good for our hair.”
“So if she had just been asking because she expected the girls to get messy and need a shower, or if it had been an honest mistake, that might have been different. But the details of your story – from her asking about shampoo the moment you dropped your daughter off, to her overstepping your daughter’s personal boundaries – all seem to point to Susan both objectifying/fetishizing your daughter, and wanting very much to “play with Black hair” herself from the outset . . .”
“…none of which is a misunderstanding or an “error”, and all of which is an incredibly inappropriate, and indicative of her dehumanizing your daughter and touching her in ways that were completely unacceptable (not sexual, to be clear, but still totally out of bounds).”
“You are NTA, at all. Your daughter isn’t a toy, and I’m so sorry she went through that.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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