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.
CREDIT ADORA NAMIGADDE / WOSU

“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.
CREDIT ADORA NAMIGADDE / WOSU

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.
CREDIT ADORA NAMIGADDE / WOSU

“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 Link Between Detached Dads and Risk-Taking Girls

The Wall Street Journal

New research on daughters and risk-taking sexual behavior

ILLUSTRATION: TOMASZ WALENTA

How much do fathers matter to the personal development of their daughters? Scientists studying families have long suspected that domestic instability and insufficient fathering predispose girls to risky sexual behavior, but there was no hard evidence for this view.

A study published in the journal Developmental Psychology in May used an ingenious research design to get some answers. Danielle DelPriore and Bruce Ellis of the University of Utah, working with Gabriel Schlomer of the State University of New York at Albany, teased apart the effects of fathers within families.

They studied 101 pairs of adult sisters from families that had either remained intact or had broken up by the time the younger sister turned 14. In each family the sisters were distant enough from each other in age—at least four years—that they would have had different experiences of their father, especially if he had separated from the family before the younger one reached maturity.

This research design made it possible to control for variables that might interfere with clear conclusions about the effects of fathering. Both sisters randomly received half their genes from the mother, half from the father, so inherited genes couldn’t explain systematic differences. Sibling order could matter: As teens, younger sisters could for some reason be more risk-prone. But that was the point of including intact families. If the sisters differed in sexual risk-taking only in the disrupted families, it would be possible to zero in on how the difference arose.

The researchers used retrospective questionnaires to probe parenting and sexual experiences that the women—who were between 18 and 36 at the time of the study—recalled from high school. Sexual risk-taking included promiscuity, unprotected sex and sex while intoxicated. Older and younger sisters reported similar levels of mothering quality, whether their families were intact or disrupted.

But the most striking finding was in older sisters with a large age gap in the disrupted families. The father’s behavior, for better or worse, usually affected the older sister much more than her younger sibling.

If these older sisters communicated well with their fathers and felt close to them, they experienced much more parental monitoring and hung out far less with sexually risk-prone peers. But this kind of fathering had much less effect on the younger sisters, many of whom didn’t have enough contact with their father for him to make much of a difference.

These factors explained the older sisters’ behavior. “The prolonged presence of a warm and engaged father can buffer girls against early, high-risk sex,” Dr. DelPriore said. This doesn’t mean that divorced fathers can’t provide quality care. “A silver lining,” she adds, “is that what dad does seems to matter more than parental separation.” In other words, a divorce may be less harmful for a girl than more years with a bad dad.

The growing field of evolutionary child psychology adds interesting context to these findings. Biologists find that organisms in unstable environments grow up faster and start reproducing earlier than those in stable ones. Theoretically, in a stable environment you can take more time growing into your reproductive activities, focusing on long-term quality rather than on getting an early start. Conversely, in an unstable situation, it might “pay” (in Darwinian terms) to begin reproducing earlier, since in those girls’ worlds, a good man is hard to find.

This doesn’t rule out more familiar psychological explanations, but in a child’s development, family instability—which, again, is something different from divorce—might provide a catalyst setting off a psychological change and risky behavior.

As Dr. DelPriore phrased the question, “What is it that dad does that shields a daughter from sexual risk?” Dr. Ellis phrased the answer: “It’s all about dosage of exposure to dads; the bigger the dose, the more fathering matters—for better and for worse.”

Nearly 25 Years of Fathering — and All I’ve Got Are These 3 Lousy Tips

 

Jim Higley

Bobblehead Dad; Author; Speaker; Parenting Columnist; Radio Host; Cancer Warrior

Posted: 12/03/2013

I haven’t read many parenting books. And I know, that’s a little surprising for a guy who spends most of his time talking and writing about being a dad.

So, if you chose to read no further, I understand. It’s pitiful. I know.

But what I lack in reading and scholarly research, I’ve compensated for with a lot of observations, conversations with professionals and good old-fashioned trial-and-error. A little over 24 years of it. One of the things I’ve learned is that being an effective dad requires strong communications with your child. If you can nail that part of the dad job, the rest comes much easier.

A daunting task for sure — especially as kids get older. So, here are my three top tips to help you grease that two-way road to trust-filled communications with your children.

Put It On Ice

You don’t need to react so quickly to every situation. Slow down and think. Erupting like Mt. Vesuvius, spewing words and emotions, doesn’t work. It’s scary and models inappropriate behavior for your children.

Give yourself a little time to think. A minute. Five. With older kids I might wait several hours or even a day.

The key is to plant the seed with your child that the topic is “open” and that you’re going to revisit it with them after the two of you have a chance to mutually think about it.

With little kids who are misbehaving, you can literally pick them up, carry them to their room, and have a firm chat after a couple of minutes of cool-down time. But with older kids, that tactic doesn’t work. Additionally, if you verbally attack an older kid in the heat of the moment, they are likely to feel cornered and trapped. You’re simply inviting them to verbally attack you back.

That’s why (unless someone is at risk of being hurt or hurting someone), I’m now far more likely to say something like, “You know, the way you talk to me is just not working for me. But I’m not going to scream and simply hand you a punishment. I want you to think about it before we talk later this afternoon.”

Kids desperately want respect. Even when they don’t show it towards you. They want to be heard. When you introduce topics with respect and consideration, it makes it much harder for them to continue their cycle of behavior. Try it.

30-Second Rule

Stop lecturing.

And when you feel the urge to lecture, limit it to 30 seconds.

Kids hate lectures. I bet you do, too. If you can’t get 95 percent of your point made in 30 seconds, then you need to think through your message.

When I feel the need to preach to my kids, I introduce it with, “I need 30 seconds to share something with you that’s been on my mind. Is your head in a good place to listen?”

And you know what? Nine times out of 10, my kids tell me to bring it on right then and there.

And you know something else? They listen.

I end my half-minute sermon with something like, “Okay, that’s what I wanted you to know. I want to hear your thoughts later today when you’re ready to talk.”

Sometimes they want to talk right away. Sometimes they noodle and come back on their own. And sometimes I have to bring the subject back up a bit later. But it’s almost always a smoother road to a sincere, open conversation.

Start with 30 seconds. It works.

Stop Solving Everything

This one took me years to figure out. It’s one that is really hard for dads to get good at because we love fixing and solving things.

I’m talking about those times in life when your kids are mad, upset, hurt, frustrated, or angry over a host of things. Mean friends. Unfair coaches. Tough teachers. Annoying siblings. The list is miles long. I know for me, any time I used to hear another problem de jour, I’d reply to it with strategies for fixing it and make it go away.

“Here’s what you need to do with your friends -”

“Next time your coach tells you blah, blah, blah, you should -”

“Well, you should never let your friends tell you -”

And you know what I’ve learned? Kids don’t always want you to tell them what to do. They don’t always need you to strategize. They’re also far more resilient and capable than you give them credit for.

A lot of times, they just want you to be in the zone with them. Empathize. Go deep. Be in the moment. Experience their feelings. I figured this out one day when my 13-year-old daughter was sulking in her bedroom, angry at mean friends. It tore me apart. I didn’t want her to hurt. But at the advice of another wise dad, I tried something new.

I went into her room, laid on the floor, and just stared at the ceiling with her.

And eventually she said, “I hate my friends.”

And I replied, “That must suck to feel that way.”

And what followed was a dad-changing moment. She told me details of what was going on while I just stared at the ceiling. She told me about her hurt and pain. And I just kept reaffirming my love for her, my sadness at the situation, and my understanding of her feelings.

And she was fine with that. She didn’t need me to solve it.

She needed me to experience it with her.

I’m convinced that my actions sent her a far more important message than had I tried to give her an assortment of ideas to fix the specific problem.

***

So there you have it. My top three tips. And just in case you’re thinking, “Taking the easy road, huh?” the truth is all three of these ideas require you to stop, think and really focus on what your child needs. They require conscious parenting.

But slowing down, taking time to think, fine-tuning your message, and acknowledging your child’s emotions are collectively some of the best ways to build strong communications.

Try them out. Modify them to work for your family. The rewards are plentiful.