Rules I Live By: The Third Child Has It Best

rules thirdI have two adult daughters and an almost twelve-year-old. My middle daughter, nineteen, was complaining because her sister got everything at a younger age than she did: cell phone (she needs it for basketball practice!), later bedtime, social media, and now crazy hair color.

That’s right. I’m letting my almost-twelve-year-old dye her hair purple. I think it’ll help her burgeoning self-esteem. It’s typical at this age to feel like the whole world is staring at you. So why not put her best face forward and, pardon the expression, let her freak flag fly?

My nineteen-year-old has blue hair. She has for a couple of years and, at this point, it’s her business. She pays for it herself (she’s in cosmetology school, so it basically costs her the dye), and she’s an adult. None of my business what she does with her hair.

The thing is, I realize some parents will think I have a lax code for raising my last child. Oh, she’s done all that and just isn’t worried about anything because she’s tired of raising kids, I imagine people thinking. And, I bet, some of them are. People can be terribly judgmental.

Nothing could be further from the truth. For one, I’m not sick of raising kids. I adore my children and being a parent has been the greatest privilege of my life. Second, I have a degree in social and behavioral science. Not only did I study child development in college, it was a good portion of the social work exam (which I aced, thank you very much).

At her age, it’s normal to just want to be invisible. And she did that last year. She didn’t want people looking at her so much that she struggled in school. Don’t look too smart, don’t read in front of the class, don’t excel at anything. And I get it. It’s normal.

But, now? Now she wants to be an individual. And if a purple pixie cut is her way of doing that, then I will pay whatever it costs, including judging looks from other parents, to let her do that.

People will say I let her run wild. She has rules, and I promise you, she is NOT a rule-breaker. But, you know what? I’m kind of hoping she does run a little wild. I didn’t discover myself until my late twenties because I needed a chance to run a little wild. I’d prefer she not have to go through that.

If she can figure out who she is while she’s still young, she has a much better chance at being happy. And I’m all about that.

Have you ever made choices that made people call into question your judgment? Share on X

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  1. Yep. I was or I am not a one size fits all sort of parent. I don’t fit into the norm and have on occasion heard about it or received the once-overs as I walked through the halls. But like said in so many words about (and you have additional qualifications) we know our children and for the most part know how what works best for them.
    Brenda Moguez | 10 Tip For Writers On BloggingMy Profile

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    I like to think that the best parents are misunderstood. I don’t know for sure that it’s true, but it’s been my experience.

    By the way, she looks fantastic and it’s definitely helped build her self-esteem. Thanks so much for commenting, Brenda.

  3. I spent Saturday at an elementary school event…and the middle schoolers/high schoolers who showed up for the haunted house and such were very into the hair dye. It’s funny because when I was in school, only the people who were kinda into drinking and drugs (or so we thought) dyed their hair strange colors. It was the 80s version of being “goth.” (We called it “punk” and we called them “freaks”–hence the show “Freaks and Geeks.”) Now, unique-colored hair is the norm and makes you cool. There was a beautiful girl with gray hair and more than a few girls with blue and purple hair. I wish I were young/cool enough to be able to pull that look off. I’d SO do it!
    Stephanie Faris | Scary October: Waverly Hills SanatoriumMy Profile

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    I always tell my girls I dye my hair red because I’m not brave enough to go pink (which I’d LOVE), and that’s the closest I can get.

    My daughter told me that a boy came to school with purple hair the day after she dyed her hair. I doubt he was inspired by her, but I think it’s very cool that kids are now able to express themselves more freely. It’s good for them, I think.

    Thanks so much for commenting, Stephanie.

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