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QUESTION: Should I dye my stepdaughter’s hair against her biological mom’s wishes?
“I need some advice, sorry it’s a little long. First some back story, my stepdaughter has lived with her father and me for almost ten years since she was taken from her mother at three and placed with us, we have her most of the time except every other weekend and some extra time during holidays, and we fully provide financially for her with little to no help from her mother. We have a child together, and I have for the last ten years cared for her as if she were my own, doing all the things mothers do for their kids. So to me, I’m more than just a “stepmom” to her and feel as though I should have some say when it comes to her.
Anyway, recently, she has expressed interest in coloring her hair; she told us she wants to put some pink color just in the front, and we said that would be awesome. I have some experience with hair, and I have been doing my own and my family’s hair for years, so I offered to do it, as long as it was ok with her mom (in an effort to co-parent which has never been easy). It was also something we could have done together and something I was happy to do for her.
So the next time her mom called before my husband had the chance to talk to her about it, she was all excited, telling her mom that she wants her hair done and that I can do it for her and asking if it’s ok. You could tell the conversation wasn’t going well, and she was basically defending me to her mom, so I just left the room for them to talk, so I don’t know exactly what was said. She comes out, and now she is upset and that her mom said she wants it done by a hairdresser and I’m not a hairdresser, and she should have gone to her first, etc. I feel she should have spoken to my husband about her concerns, not my stepdaughter.
My husband spoke to her mom, and after a big whole drama fest, her mom said I could do it. I told my husband I am not doing it now that I don’t feel comfortable and I don’t need the drama if she doesn’t like it, or it’s not perfect, so her mom can take her to a salon. Now my stepdaughter has been asking me when I’m going to do her hair, and I told her she would go to a salon, and we will talk to her mom about it, she then asked her mom to take her, and her mom said she has no money for that. Now I’m getting the attitude because of it. I told my husband to talk to her mother, and if she pays for half, I will take her, and she still says she doesn’t have the money for it.
I don’t understand why she would even suggest a hairstylist if she wasn’t willing to take her; it’s also not surprising because anytime she asks her mom for anything, she doesn’t have the money or never follows through. But now I’m getting the attitude for it. I’m wondering if I should just take her? Am I in the wrong? I feel bad now because she has to go without something she really wanted. My husband says I should just do it, but I don’t feel right about that. I feel like because her mom made it an issue her mom should be the one to take her? What should I do?”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“If bio-mom wants it done in a shop let her pay for it!! If your Daughter wants it done trusts you to do it, and Dad is on board with you doing it, get the stuff and do it, sounds like bio-mom is just flexing her non-existent authority!! Have fun with your daughter, this time flies by, though it seems to drag on!!!!”
“Besides birthing her, you are that girl’s mom and if you want to do her hair to make her happy then do it. I understand wanting to keep the peace but you’ve raised her and when the mom wants to be a mom and actually parent, she can maybe earn the right to make those decisions. Just my opinion of course. Make it a girl’s day and go get her hair done. it would probably make your girl super happy to spend some extra time with you.”
“You are more like her mom, I understand you trying to respect her bio mother but she really doesn’t have a say in my opinion. It’s almost like she is upset because it’s you that would be doing it not the fact it’s being done. Your daughter really has her heart set on it so do it for her. It’s hair. Explain to your daughter how this made you feel but you love her and will do it. I wish you so much luck with this one.”
“You should do it. Her mother is trying to control you. You don’t need her permission only her father’s. Don’t let her take away from you and girl.”
“In this situation I say just do it or take her. You are her caregiver and the non custodial mom is just trying to start something. If she wanted to be a mother and make these decisions should could have in the past 10 years tried to regain custody.”
“Just do the child’s hair. Dad said he was on board. Don’t disappoint the child because of her mother’s actions. Mom sounds a bit jealous anyway.”
“Do her hair. She shouldn’t have to suffer because of her mothers immaturity. You have been more of a mom to her it sounds like and I understand wanting to include her bio mom. But I honestly wouldn’t give her that much control. She is her bio mom but you’re the one actually being the mother. And her dad is ok with it so why not?”
“It really doesn’t matter who the main caregiver is – the child should be allowed autonomy over her own hair at this age. I’d explain that the decision has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the wishes of the daughter you all care for. She should be allowed to choose her own haircuts and colour at this age. It’s only hair, but it’s freedom of expression to the child. Take her to a proper stylist and make a day of it. If her mother would like to come; invite her. Then she can see her daughter making her own decisions and taking a little step towards growing up.”
“I say you do it and her mom doesn’t have to like it. You can use arctic fox hair dye so it isn’t permanent and won’t mess her hair up. You can experience with different colors as well.”
“From one step mom to another…do your daughter’s hair. It IS worth the drama. She needs you to go to bat for her.”
“Just dye the kid’s hair. The daughter wants it. The original plan was to have you do it and mom getting an attitude is no reason to disappoint the daughter.”
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