A Man’s Job: Learning To Style Girls’ Hair, From Father To Father

WOSU Public Media

  SEP 14, 2017

At the Daddy Daughter Hair Factory, it’s O.K. if you know nothing about hair. None of the men here do.

But they’re all eager to learn.

“So we’re just gonna start off with some really easy stuff, just some basic haircare conversation,” Mike Sherron tells the assembled dads.

Sherron’s free class has a new location every month, and this time it’s in Grove City, where he lives. Each of the three dads here receive a kit to take home, with things like ponytail holders, hair brushes, and detangler.

Before they leave, though, the dads will walk through some of the basics of hair care.

“Every time you do wash it, we suggest you run conditioner through it as well,” Sherron says. “That way you make sure it starts in a good place.”

Sherron and his six-year-old daughter Adeline have been holding a monthly class around Ohio for about a year and a half.

“So my dad went through a divorce with my mom and he didn’t want me to come in school with my hair all crazy and messy,” Adeline says.

So Sherron started practicing.

Mike Sherron teaches a free class every month to fathers about how to take care of and style their daughters’ hair.

“We were doing ponytails and basic three-strand braids. We were doing some French braid work,” Sherron says. “And a lot of it we learned by trying it, practicing it. YouTube has some amazing things.”

He’d then post pictures on Facebook. One day about two years ago, a friend showed Sherron a video of Phil Morgese and his daughter, who founded the Daddy Daughter Hair Factory.

So Sherron reached out to them. The organization had around six dads involved in teaching at the time.

Now Sherron says there are about 25.

“With the number of single dads these days, it becomes important that they be just as good in these opportunities,” he says.

That’s why Ian Parker showed up with his 5-year-old daughter Genevieve.

“Trying to do my daughter’s hair has always been challenging, especially not having someone else there to kind of coax me along,” Parker says. “So we’ve always been a kind of ponytail type group.”

Ian Parker, a single father, came to the class with his 5-year-old daughter Genevieve.

But after an hour with Sherron, he can do a more advanced style.

“I like the fishtail braid here at the end,” Parker remarks. “That looks really cool.”

Ash Khanboubi is not a single dad; he came because his wife was tired of his argument that he couldn’t help with his daughter’s haircare because he couldn’t braid.

Today, as Sherron helps him along, Khanboubi’s been texting his wife pictures of their 3-year-old daughter Yasmeen’s stylized curly black locks.

“She was amazed at how fast I learned it,” Khanboubi says, laughing. “She said she didn’t know how to make a fishtail braid, so I guess I’m gonna have to teach my wife how to do that.”

Khanboubi said when he tells his dad and grandpa about the class, they’ll probably be surprised because it’s something they would have never thought to do.

Ash Khanboubi says he was encouraged, strongly, by his wife to learn how to style his daughter’s hair. Now he says he can teach his wife how to make a fishtail braid.

“I take absolutely no alternatives into being part of my daughter’s life fully,” he says. “If that means I have to do things my father never did, then so be it. I want to learn everything that will allow me to have a full experience with my daughter and be part of her life.”

Sherron says his next class will be held in Chillicothe in October. He hopes to eventually bring in dads of different ethnicities to teach a broader range of hair care options.

The Case For Dedicated Dads

The Atlantic

Fathers who get involved in their kids’ education have a big effect on the health, academic success, and happiness of their sons and daughters.

Courtesy of Tray Chaney
One out of every three American children grows up without a biological father. These 24 million kids miss out on the many benefits of having a dad around, like being less likely to get involved with crime or abuse substances, and being more likely to achieve academic success. According to a report on involved fathers published by the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services,

Research has shown that fathers, no matter what their income or cultural background, can play a critical role in their children’s education. When fathers are involved, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior. Even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement can have a lasting and positive impact.

Mothers are very important to their children’s development, of course, but research has shown that fathers help kids grow in specific ways. Children with involved fathers are more ready to succeed academically when they start school and tend to show more patience. As those kids grow, this leads to “better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement.” According to a 2001 U. S. Department of Education study, “highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly As and 33 percent less likely than other children to repeat a grade.” Other researchers have found that highly engaged dads contribute to their children’s mental dexterity, problem-solving skills, intellectual curiosity, and enjoyment of school, which is no small thing. Children who are curious and enjoy learning are far more likely to be able to tap into their intrinsic motivation and curiosity, resisting the discouragement that can come with school environments that rely heavily on external rewards like grades, test scores, and awards.

Recently, some authors have claimed that parents don’t really have much of an effect on educational success. “Parental involvement is overrated,” wrote the New York Times in April. The authors argued that “…most forms of parental involvement, like observing a child’s class, contacting a school about a child’s behavior, helping to decide a child’s high school courses, or helping a child with homework, do not improve student achievement. In some cases, they actually hinder it.”

But many experts on education and child development vocally disagree. Some challenged the methodology behind the claims; others, such as developmental psychologist and researcher Marilyn Price-Mitchell, felt the authors were too limited in defining what qualifies as academic success:

Family engagement affects many aspects of youth development, including resilience, learning, social skills, caring, self-awareness, creativity, strategy, and character. All of these things, when integrated into a “whole view” of the child, are really what makes kids succeed.

Fortunately, fathers are becoming more and more involved in their children’s lives. The number of dads who stay home with their children has doubled since 1989, and schools are trying hard to welcome the men who volunteer at their kids’ schools. Last fall, 100 schools across Maryland’s Prince George’s County invited fathers, grandfathers and uncles into their schools for “Men Make a Difference” day. Administrators hope this annual event will show these “male role models … the importance of being engaged in a child’s education and how such involvement could change a child’s life.

While educators work on finding ways to invite fathers into school life, others are trying to help fathers invest in their children’s social and moral education at home. Actor, hip-hop artist, and father Tray Chaney, best known for his role as Malik “Poot” Carr on HBO’s The Wire, has launched a “Dedicated Father” campaign in an effort to “uplift and encourage fathers” to be present and engaged in their children’s lives. He’s also fighting stereotypes, trying to change perceptions about the myth of the absent black father. In his “Dedicated Father” video, Chaney appeals to men to be role models and support their children’s emotional and educational growth.

All this attention to the importance and influence of fathers may be starting to pay off. A summary report on fathers’ involvement in their children’s learning published by the National Center for Fathering and the National PTA shows that, over the decade between 1999 and 2009, fathers have “significantly increased their involvement with their children at school” and “significantly increased their interaction with teachers, school officials and other parents.”

But the report also identifies a few areas with room for improvement. Thirty-nine percent of fathers report that they never read to their child, 32 percent never visit their child’s classroom, and 54 percent never volunteer at their child’s school.

The first step toward encouraging fathers to get involved in education may be just to ask—nearly half of the fathers polled by the PTA indicated that they had never been invited to join the organization. As a result, it started the PTA MORE campaign: Men Organized to Raise Engagement. The PTA and the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have all recognized the need to invite fathers into the educational process, offering simple changes schools can make that would make it easier for fathers to be involved, which include:

  • Invite fathers into the process of educating their children. Because the popular assumption around school invitations and events is that “parents” is a euphemism for “mothers,” fathers may not feel welcome to attend. Reach out to fathers and seek to include them—specifically—in school events.
  • Make paternity leave a viable option for fathers. When asked what is keeping them from becoming more involved in their children’s education, “Fathers ranked institutional practices and barriers imposed by the workplace as the most important reasons for their low levels of involvement … Paternity leave is the most frequently discussed means of enhancing paternal involvement.”
  • Eliminate language barriers. Many fathers do not speak the same language as their children’s teachers. Some are deaf, and others are functionally illiterate. In order to remove this barrier to engagement, reach out to all parents, in all their native languages and forms of communication.
  • Be flexible in scheduling conferences. Many parents find it challenging to schedule conferences during work hours, and for many, taking time off from work for a conference is simply not economically feasible.
  • Educate parents about how to get involved. Many parents want to be involved, but don’t know how. If fathers have not traditionally been involved in their children’s education, it only makes sense that schools need to give them a place to start.

It may be difficult to quantify a father’s involvement in his child’s education in terms of standardized test scores, but engaged dads have a big effect on kids’ overall learning and development. Fathers don’t have to be perfect, know best, or have all the answers to their kids’ homework; they can still shape their kids’ character, ethics, sense of self-care, social skills, resilience, and responsibility. At school and in life, those are the skills that matter most.

Many Dads Struggle to Find Balance

Many dads struggle to ‘have it all,’ balancing work, family

Brett Deering for msnbc.com

Dustin Baylor closes his eyes while playing with his sons Paxton, 6, left, and Garrison, 4, after work at their home Friday, June 8, 2012 in Enid, Okla.

By Allison Linn

Dustin Baylor knew from the time he was in elementary school that he wanted to be a doctor.

All his life, he also wanted to be a dad.

What he wasn’t able to appreciate until adulthood was how challenging it might be to be awakened by his pager going off with a medical emergency just as often as by one of his three children having a bad dream, needing to go to the bathroom or just falling out of bed.

Baylor was one of dozens of dads who wrote to TODAY.com about doing it all: Excelling at work, raising kids, taking care of household chores and finding some time to spend with their spouse or partner.

Almost every dad we heard from said they wouldn’t want it any other way, although many conceded they sometimes struggle to make it through the day — and night.

“I often feel overwhelmed trying to do it all,” Baylor wrote. “I love my wife, my job and my family. But whereas men in past generations emphasized being a provider first and foremost, I think modern fathers take on many more roles.”

The juggle between work and home life has long been a hot topic for women, many of whom have known from early on that they would work and raise children – and may even have watched their own moms do the same thing.

But many young dads are choosing to take a role in their home life that is more active than seen in any generation before, said Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work and Family. That means they can be both less prepared for, and less adept at, juggling both roles.

“I think they are working really without a script,” Harrington said.

Related: Dad’s survey shows fathers just want a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

What’s clear is that more dads want to figure it out. Harrington and other researchers have noticed a clear and pervasive shift toward more dads choosing to do everything from change diapers to chaperone field trips.

“The expectation on the part of most fathers is they’re going to be much more engaged than their father was,” Harrington said.


And as more women work, and bring in a bigger chunk of the family’s earnings, Harrington notes that men also are finding that their spouses expect them to pitch in more on chores including laundry, dishes and grocery shopping.

“The expectation is, ‘I can’t do it all and you’re going to have to share,’” Harrington said.

Yet employers have not necessarily caught up with the evolving roles men are playing at home, leaving many feeling caught in the middle. A landmark study by the Families and Work Institute, released in 2009, found that dads actually feel more conflict between home and work life than moms do.

Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute, said the research showed that even as home lives become more egalitarian, men continue to feel pressure to fill the traditional provider role by putting in long, hard hours at work.

Galinsky says the weak economy and high jobless rate likely have exacerbated the financial pressures.

“We expect that it will either maintain or increase the conflict that men experience,” she said.

Brett Deering for msnbc.com

Dustin Baylor and his family on in Enid, Okla. Baylor is among a new generation of dads trying to ‘do it all.’

Tending to patients, and kids
Baylor, 34, and his wife, a physical therapist pursuing her doctorate, have three kids ages 6, 4 and 1. On a typical day, that means the couple has to get kids to daycare, a pre-K program and kindergarten before heading out for their own work days.

In the afternoon, Baylor’s wife picks up their oldest son from school and drops him off at Baylor’s medical practice, then goes back to finish up her workday. That means Baylor and his nurse, who also has a child to watch in the afternoons, have their children in the office as they finish up their work day.

Baylor admits it can be a challenge when the kids want to run down the halls while he has patients to attend to. But he describes fondly the way his son stands on the back of his chair, chatting about the school day, while he does office work.

He recently brought more toys into his home office so his kids can be nearby when he’s on call or dealing with paperwork.

“I’m actually used to working with kids orbiting,” he said.

The desire to be an active parent is one of the reasons Baylor opted to have a family practice in Enid, Okla., rather than join a hospital staff. The decision has meant less money but more flexibility to have a child at work or take off on a family vacation.

That’s one of many ways in which Baylor is different from his own dad, who worked as a mail carrier while his mom mostly stayed home while he was younger.

But it still can be hard to juggle. Baylor and his wife decided to have kids while he was a chief medical resident, and he says he wishes he had been able to help his wife out more in those early days. Another struggle came when his middle son started having seizures because of a rare health problem. He is doing fine now.

“I wish I could say that I have no regrets at all, but that really wouldn’t be true. I wish I could have taken more time to just be a dad when my first son was born. I wish I could have been around constantly to shelter my second son when all those seizures were happening instead of meeting him in the emergency room. I already wish I had even more time with my daughter individually, which is not a unique problem for the youngest child of any family,” he wrote in his response to TODAY.com.

Like a lot of dads, Baylor rarely gets time for date nights or other quality time alone with his wife.

While many face the same struggle, few have to go to the lengths John Martin does to be both a father and a spouse.

‘You just get a little exhausted’
Martin, 45, received an e-mail from his high school sweetheart, whom he hadn’t heard from in 27 years, soon after his marriage ended. When they finally met up nearly a year later, a whirlwind weekend together was all it took for them to realize they still had the feelings they’d had at age 16, and within a month they were engaged.

But there was one big problem: Martin and his kids live in Denver, while his new wife and her kids live in the Seattle area.

Even as he made plans to remarry, Martin said he didn’t want to give up his major role as a parent to his two young girls. (He shares custody with their mother.)

“I was always changing diapers and putting them to bed and doing all the things that I think dads do these days,” he said. “It would be inconceivable for me not to have them at least half the time.”

To maintain his relationship with his kids and build a relationship with his new wife and teenage stepchildren, either Martin or his new wife fly back and forth to be with their spouse nearly every week. They’ve maintained that routine for close to two years, and Martin has cut his employment to 80 percent of full-time to balance it all.

“The way it worked was to leave the kids alone and to kind of rotate around them,” he said.

Martin savors watching his girls play softball and going out for family pizza night and says that while he loves his job as a lawyer, his wife and kids come first.

Still, the challenge of maintaining two households and commuting across several states can be disorienting, and tiring.

“You run low on energy in a way that your children can’t possibly understand,” he said. “Then you are a little less patient, a little less this, a little less that. You just get a little exhausted.”

The ‘all-encompassing man’
Anthony Noriega, 33, also sometimes finds himself struggling to keep up with the hectic schedule of raising four kids with his wife, who takes care of the kids and goes to school.

Like many parents, Noriega describes a life that can be a dizzying whirlwind of cooking, paying bills and getting everyone to bed after a long day at work as a web marketing specialist in Boise, Idaho.

Writing to TODAY.com, he described “the mystique of this elusive, all-encompassing man: The bread winner, the great father who engages in every aspect of their child’s lives, the super husband who can whip out a dinner with no trouble and still pay attention to his hard-working wife.”

He admits it doesn’t always go perfectly smoothly. But Noriega said his own parents struggled with addiction, and he knew from the time he was a teenager that he wanted to get married and raise his own family in a very different way. He may pine for a quiet moment, but he has no regrets about how things have turned out.

“My priorities are providing a stable foundation for my kids growing up (and) not having to worry about whether or not they’re going to have school clothes, food on the table – the things that I had to deal with as a kid,” he said in an interview.

Some dads wrote to TODAY.com to remind us that not all of them have that struggle. Scott Bouma, 35, and his wife have four kids and his wife stays home full-time.

The fact that his wife is a stay-at-home mom means that Bouma, a software engineer who lives in Helena, Mont., feels he can spend time with his family at night or on the weekends instead of dealing with a list of chores and errands he imagines dads with working spouses face.

“I feel like I’m definitely the other side,” he said in an interview. “I’m a dad who doesn’t feel pressure to do all that stuff.”

Original article