A California mother is causing quite the stir on social media for allowing her toddler to dye her hair and wear makeup.
Amy Lyn, a 25-year-old trainee tattoo artist, recently told the Daily Mail she lets her daughter make her own choices on how she looks.
“I waited until my daughter started to take interest on her own to introduce temporary tattoos, colourful play makeup, and dyed hair,” she told the paper. “Other than just physically letting her play with the way she looks as a kid who just thinks it’s fun, I think of alternative parenting as simple as out of the cookie cutter mould.”
She continued parents often take a “dictator” style of parenting, but for BellaMae, she didn’t want to wait until she was old enough to make her own choices.
“I chose to let my daughter start exploring options to express herself as soon as she is capable, so that down the line she’s less likely to waste time trying to find who she is and can focus on making whatever her dreams are reality,” she continued.
On Instagram, Lyn talks about parenting often. In one post, BellaMae was in the process of diluting her hair and her mother mentions going over her brown hair with Arctic Fox Hair Color hair dye — a vegan and cruelty-free brand.
“I just want to give Bella the things I like to make myself level up … And she wants it too but whatever happened to raising punk alternative rock kids?” she wrote on the social media page.
In another post, Lyn shares a snippet on allowing her daughter to put on temporary tattoos.
“I stopped telling Bella where she should put her temp tattoos and she has found so many spots. The back of her arms, legs, bottom of her feet, and today she put one on her cheek,” she continued.
Teaching kids self-expression
Vancouver-based parenting coach Julie Romanowski, says the great thing about self-expression is that it can be an unlimited amount of creativity and an abundance of options.
“Children thrive with structure so setting up some boundaries around what is OK and not OK for them to do, is a very effective approach in teaching them about healthy self-expression.”
She adds a child’s freedom of choice comes from the structure parents set up, and because children love to play in general, makeup and hairstyles are commonly a part of that.
“Self-expression is important for young children as it is a great way for them to start to discover the wonder about their own bodies and minds,” she continues. “It’s common for children to want to discover other people in their lives as well such as their parents’ style, characters on TV or in books … this is why you will see children dress up and ‘pretend play.’”
Keep your kids safe
And when it comes to things like hair dye and makeup, Romanowski says it is up to parents to make a safe and healthy decision.
When Charity LeBlanc’s daughter wanted pink hair, she did her research thoroughly before allowing the two-year-old toddler to get hair dye, she told the Today Show. Once she deemed the products safe, her daughter did get her pink locks.
“To me, it was a fun and sweet moment I shared with my daughter,” LeBlanc told the Today Show. “She was so happy about her hair that I would do it all over again regardless of anything just to see her light up and giggle at it again.”
Romanowski adds there are many alternatives to dyes and makeup in the market that are vegan, washable or chemical-free, and unless the child is at risk, third parties don’t need to step in.
“If the child isn’t at risk but there may be a disagreement with the parenting choices, then most people have a choice to say something compassionately constructive or say nothing,” she says. “Be aware of how potential judgment or blame gets expressed as it may fall under the exact category or concept of what you are observing and judging.”