What would you do? (stepmom issues) — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

What would you do? (stepmom issues)

Hello, ladies! This isn't baby related, but it IS parenting related, and I really need to hear some of your thoughts on this. I don't want to bring it up in my local mommy boards because I don't like airing dirty laundry where people can actually recognize us, but I have been obsessing about this all day...

So my 12 year old stepson received a package from his bio mom yesterday, who he hasn't seen in 1.5 years, and it turned out to be a hair bleaching kit. My kid has been wanting to dye his hair white for ages, but I'm really not into the idea. I think he's too young to be dousing himself in chemicals, but I also think it would look downright awful on him. He brings up wanting white hair now and then, but was never really serious about it, so we were able to avoid it. Had he ever asked directly, we would have said no in a heartbeat. Then she sends him everything he needs: bleach, toner, conditioner. Ugh.

Ignoring the fact that blond isn't even white, I showed him what bleached hair actually looks like from at-home kits, and told him my hesitations, hoping he would think it over and realize it wasn't a good idea. He said he would do some research online and think it over. But then he brought it up at dinner and said he wanted to try it. Time for the big guns: I told him his father and I also gave it some thought and ultimately decided he isn't allowed to dye his hair (until he's older.) 

But now I feel SO GUILTY. This is literally the first gift she's sent him in about a year that isn't just chocolate, and it's something he actually wants, and then mean step-mom comes in and tells him he basically can't have it. Maybe I'm overreacting because I've never dyed my own hair; is it really that big of a deal? 

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? 

Re: What would you do? (stepmom issues)

  • I know the boys sports teams in my area often dye or bleach their hair for playoffs etc, as young as grade 7 and 8. In my opinion, it's just hair, and if you think it's important because it's a gift from his bio mom, I'd let it slide. It's not like it's a gun for target practice or a samurai sword or something dangerous. Just hair. 
    l4rkfragglemom
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  • You mentioned he has wanted this for ages so I'd say with that in mind and the fact that it's summer I'd probably just let him do it. To me personally hair is just hair and maybe not a topic I want to fight too hard about considering it was a gift etc.
    l4rkfragglemom
  • KFrobKFrob member
    I agree with you that he's too young. I also think that this is one of those parent/child debates that one day as an adult he might appreciate. He'll think back and realize your decision, with his father, was in his best interest.  Also I think explaining that he's too young vs a flat out "no" was the way to go. I'm a step parent too and my husband and I are often discussing how his daughter will appreciate the calm, structured, disciplined, and loving house hold we provide her (vs her mothers chaotic and inappropriate life style) as she matures even though sometimes as a kid it's tough to understand. 
    l4rk
  • l4rkl4rk member
    Thanks, ladies! I really appreciate your input.

    I think I'm going to stick with my initial decision, and then tell him he can dye hair next summer IF he brings it up again. He just wants to mess with his hair for fun so I'm going to try to find some hair chalk, which seems a more age appropriate way to experiment with colour.

     I'm also not going to let myself feel guilty about this anymore. We're making the decisions that we think are best for our son. We're looking out for him and he's old enough to mostly understand that. She isn't around, and that sucks, but we sure as hell don't owe her anything because of it. She made a bad call and that's on her.
    KFrobSDaniels19mrscammackTinyDancer51510
  • @l4rk I was just going to suggest non permanent dyes or chalk! You beat me to the idea :) When I was a kid my mom wouldn't let me dye my hair until I was 14 or 15 and I'm glad because I didn't realize how much it would itch and burn. If he just wants to play with it for fun the non permanent options are a great compromise! 
  • At least it's summer! Any damage done will have grown out before the beginning of the school year. I, too, think with boys, it grows out so fast that I'd probably let it go. I would make him understand that it was a one-time thing, though, and absolutely not acceptable at certain times of the year. (Like right before family photos.) At 12, a lot of girls are getting color treatments professionally. Could you offer a compromise like that? A-"we won't let you bleach your own hair, but I will help to get something fun done at the salon."?
    I do think it is pretty undermining for mom to send that without your permission, though. I'm non-custodial stepmom, and I ask before I even take them to the regular barber.
  • MamaHollandMamaHolland member
    edited May 2016
    If I were in your shoes I would let his father handle that situation. 
    2winterbabies
  • midge519midge519 member
    edited May 2016
    I am a full time stepmom. Bio mom dyed SS1s hair one weekend and on turns my bio son wanted it. Two weeks later she sent home the kit to bleach and dye it again. We waited because I didn't want to do it again that soon. She wasn't happy because "you can do it every other week safely I've been doing this a long time." After it had been about 6 weeks from the first due we did the whole kit, and used the excess dye on DS1. Typically I wouldn't bleach an 8 year old a hair but either we did it where we could monitor it and make sure it was done right and didn't burn him or let her take the kit and do it and mess up (her hair is always blotchy and messed up). They haven't asked for it since then so it seems to be a fad they outgrew. DD (6) has been asking to dye her for a long time so I got with my hairdresser friend and were using a semi permanent dye and only doing a small amount of highlights to satisfy her curiosity. i find with most things letting them give in to some curiosity while having boundaries works much better than not allowing at all because not allowing makes them want to do it more. 

    Eta-lurker from October 15
    l4rk
  • l4rkl4rk member
    @MamaHolland, I get what you mean but I have been the mom role for 3 years now and my SO doesn't communicate well with people other than me. My stepson is usually more confused after his father steps in because he will say things like "hmmm,  maybe that's not really a good idea, this one time I did something similar..." when he means "no, don't". SS actually comes to me now instead of him because at least with me things are clear, lol.

    @midge519,  thank you! Yeah, maybe we will go ahead with it once school is out if he asks again. Then he has the summer to shave and regrow before starting high school in the fall.  
  • I'm afraid I'm in the "it's just hair" category. I would probably let my 12 yr old do whatever to his head and then let him deal with the consequences. I'm also of the opinion that you do what you want to your own hair. Now that being said, you are still the parent and what you believe is best for your child is what goes. It would irritate me that his bio mom didn't talk to you first before sending the whole kit. It is a little too much like she is trying to curry favor with him and make you out to be the evil stepmom. Hold your ground, don't feel bad about it, and letting him do it after school is out next year sounds like a good plan to me.
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    ChrissyD1203
  • l4rkl4rk member
    I'm afraid I'm in the "it's just hair" category. I would probably let my 12 yr old do whatever to his head and then let him deal with the consequences. I'm also of the opinion that you do what you want to your own hair. Now that being said, you are still the parent and what you believe is best for your child is what goes. It would irritate me that his bio mom didn't talk to you first before sending the whole kit. It is a little too much like she is trying to curry favor with him and make you out to be the evil stepmom. Hold your ground, don't feel bad about it, and letting him do it after school is out next year sounds like a good plan to me.
    Thanks!  I know I'm being super wishy-washy here, which is actually weird because I'm usually a very decisive person. I haven't brought it up with SS since I first said no. Today I bought some hair chalk off Amazon that I will give him in a few weeks (so it doesn't come across as trying to compete with his mom) and am back to just not changing my mind about the bleaching. Being consistent is important with kids, especially preteens who are testing the boundaries of their independence, so that's just another reason not to let him do it until he's older. He's not even thinking about this anymore so I don't know why I still am! Haha.
    ChrissyD1203ariasbabyblog
  • What about a few highlights?
  • l4rk said:
    @MamaHolland, I get what you mean but I have been the mom role for 3 years now and my SO doesn't communicate well with people other than me. My stepson is usually more confused after his father steps in because he will say things like "hmmm,  maybe that's not really a good idea, this one time I did something similar..." when he means "no, don't". SS actually comes to me now instead of him because at least with me things are clear, lol.

    @midge519,  thank you! Yeah, maybe we will go ahead with it once school is out if he asks again. Then he has the summer to shave and regrow before starting high school in the fall.  
    You're welcome!! We jist did the we just did the kids hair yesterday. Ended up doing a couple bleach highlights to do the color and she loves it and once the color fades she'll have blonde highlights. It's definitely given her confidence in the 24 hours it's been done to be more herself and say what she wants. 
    ariasbabyblog
  • Well m thoughts are let him be himself and decorate himself accordingly within reason.... his hair will grow back very quickly compared to his relationship with you! But ever person has different views on parenting and what is ok and not.
  • kimber308kimber308 member
    edited June 2016
    I'd let him dye it NOW. He would need to agree that it would be cut before school starts. Make it summer fun - have it be fleeting.

    Boys hair grows so fast and needs to be cut so fast. Take advantage of that.
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