17 Year Old's Hair

Updated on May 05, 2011
G.B. asks from Roanoke, VA
23 answers

My 17, 18 in October, year old walked in. I had one of the biggest fights with her! She jsut casually came through, and she has shaved her long hair on one side, like a mohawk laying down! I am so mad I could spit!
On top of that, I found out her ears are stretched. To an inch! I dont even know how I never saw it!
I am not her mother, but I feel she should respect me! (Her mother passed when she was 11, I'm her grandmother)
I know her ears are passed healing, and I am not paying to have them fixed!
She has always been in the whole punk thing, she pierced her lip by herself when she was 16 (Forced to take out), and I found out a few months ago her nipples are pierced as well!
I honestly want to kick her out, but it won't do any good because she has places to go, shes very sweet, and her best friend's parents think I am some beast because I don't approve of her decisions, like her clothes and her boyfriend.
I dont know what to do about her hair, its nearly bald, and as for the "plugs" as she called them, I made her take them out and they smell horrid!
Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing?

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So What Happened?

Update: With the plugs thing, I asked her why they smell bad, and she said all plugs do once you get past double zero (I guess thats a size) they smell, and she let me sniff her metal ones and they dont smell. SHe said its only because she had silicone ones in. I'm also frustraited because she seems to not understand why I'm mad!
Update#2: She is having sex, but that was an issue last year. At this point, her and her boyfriend will have been together for 5 years right before her birthday. I fought her at first, but its a battle I know I have lost. Teenagers are teenagers, shes found her ways.
Update#3: She has piercings because she works as an appretice at a tattoo parlor. I am very offended that you would think she somehow else aquired money. I was okay with her working there till I noticed her nipples were pierced, I know none of the others workers did it, and am shocked she did it on her own!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I'm going to agree with all the posters so far. I'm a mother to a stepdaughter (she's now 26) who had every color and style of hair under the sun, including shaved off. Everytime it was different, I told her "you still look beautiful" because she did and it was just hair. It will grow back. This is the age to explore. My SD also has several piercings, most aren't visible while clothed... It's her body, I don't have to agree about piercings (although I have a naval piercing that I love). Clothes matter not one bit, as long as the important parts are covered, mostly, in public.

What matters is school, life plans, being in respectful non-abusive relationships, birth control, and finding out who she is and what she wants to be in life with the support of her family (you). Please love her and support her, or she will walk away from you.

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answers from Topeka on

I think you should let her be who she wants to be. She is finding out who she is. It's a phase. It will pass sooner or even later. She is growing up. If her attitude is still okay then I would not worry so much about how she dresses or what she does with her hair.

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answers from Seattle on

I don't really understand why you are mad either.
Does she do drugs? Is she having sex with a bunch of people? Does she drink and drive? Does she drink at all? Is she disrespectful?
I am a child of the 80's. The makeup was ridiculous, the earrings all the way up the ear, the HUGE hair...we made it. I am sure that back in the day parents were mad at their children for listening to Elvis, for the no-bra time, for tight pants, mini skirts...the list goes on and on.
If your granddaughter is just trying out different styles than I don't see how that is disrespectful to you. It's her body, her choices..IF she ever starts snorting or shooting up drugs THEN you should freak out!

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answers from Pocatello on

She is just finding who she is! I had multi-rainbow colored hair and I once even tried to pierce my own belly button. Did I do it out of disrespect of my parents? No... I did it because I wanted to. My mom and I fought some over it, but eventually she and I compromised...I could color my hair and style it however I wanted, but for school photos it had to be a "natural color" - and I was allowed to do whatever I wanted piercing and tattoo-wise as soon as I was 18 and she promised she would bite her tongue, but until then she asked that I not do anything without her permission. I agreed, and quit doing stupid things like trying to pierce my own bellybutton. Knowing that my mom was going to let me be me meant the WORLD to me, even if I had to wait until I was 18.

At 18 it will be her legal right to do what she wants anyways.

So at 23 I have a total of 6 ear piercings... but I only use up to 4 at a time, in fact I think my 5th and 6th piercing are probably closed up. I have 1 tattoo (my daughter's initials) and no body piercings. My hair is brown, my natural hair color. What is more important is that I am now a really happy mother and I would consider myself a happy, fulfilled and useful adult. I am a good person, and a part of that came from exploring who I was as a teen.

As far as the clothes thing... you can only wear exactly what you want, when you want for a limited number of years in your life. I was very "goth" in school... lots of black and red. My parents didn't "approve" of most of my boyfriends either... but the only way you can learn about relationships is to make a few mistakes, and maybe even get hurt. If not now, she will make mistakes when she is in college, and you won't be there to help her through it all then. At 17 she is just a baby step away from being thrown into the adult world... and you can either help her to become an adult at this point, or fight her until the day she leaves. If she is "sweet" and otherwise well behaved... why not encourage her to become the BEST adult she can be by letting her have freedoms and responsibilities that will get her ready to be a real adult. When she feels you are "respecting her" as a person, she will probably try to be more understanding and respectful of you and your feelings about her decisions in return!

Good Luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

Hair grows. She only has so many years she can rebel like this if she wants a good job someday, so it will have to end.

(My sister had every color of hair in the rainbow, spiked it, and had 36 holes in her head all the while getting straight A's and being the leader in our church's punk band... she now had an undergrad degree in Bio-medical Engineering and has told me that her time looking like a rebel has made it so she can handle the stress and pressure of her job better than her classmates do. I will say that I think you are at fault because you have proven to her that you do not trust her and as you say she is a "good kid" that into "punk" yet you will not let her express herself.)

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answers from Modesto on

Gotta go with the flow.... the kids today are just WEIRD, look back at your highschool yearbook and you will find you were probably weird too yet survived. Love her for who she is, that's all she really wants.

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answers from Jacksonville on

My cousin was dating this girl that was rude, mean to him and terrible to his mom. My cousin had a bad accident and broke his back, this girl did nothing to support him. He finally became an alcoholic, and he confessed to me that he was just angry all the time. He finally got rid of that girl. He started dating another one who was younger, had a full back tattoo, piercings and a mohawk. She was also sweet, devoted and kind. They are now married, they have two beautiful children, he has recovered from his alcoholisim, pretty much all thanks to this girl. She doesn't do it out of disrespect, she does it because she can. I know this is hard, and you worry about what her doing to her body now will effect her future. She may respond a whole let better if instead of getting angry with her, you sit down and tell her why you are upset. She may roll her eyes and say, "Oh grandma whatever!" but she might also surprise you...

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answers from Baton Rouge on

It's just hair and jewelry - don't take it personally.

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answers from Honolulu on

She is 17.

Now, talking about myself, when I was that age and older:
I was a Punk Rocker. Wore safety pins, had a Mohawk and my hair was shaved on the sides, I had dyed hair of colors!, I had dark almost black lipstick and nailpolish, I also have a Tattoo. Oh and I had multiple ear piercings, which I did, MYSELF In my room, then showed my parents right after! They did not flinch. As long as I kept it clean and did not get an infection, that is what mattered to them. (I have as an adult, let many of the ear holes close).

Now, my parents, KNOW me, and they never flinched. Because, they knew I was an individual, smart, and was well grounded in my values. But I had alternative tastes, and still to this day, have an edgy rebel take on life. But my parents, TRUSTED me and WHO I was. They knew I was not a stupid idiot just trying to make a scene. I was not all talk and no show.

I went to college, got multi-degrees and had straight A's.
I am now a Mom of 2 kids. Who I am proud of.

I had my share of dating before getting married. I was, aware enough to get all my yah-yah's out and clubbing, before I settled down. I, lived. I had my phases and partying. But I was always, very cognizant of myself and the environments and friends, I had. I chose, my friends. I was not a follower.

So, in a nutshell. How I passed through life and what I looked like and what I did... had nothing to do with 'who' I was superficially.
My parents, knew that.
They never not once, told me how to dress or how to look. They NEVER even were embarrassed nor self-conscious nor apologetic to other people or relatives, when I was around them or with them or at family functions.

So, that was me. And this is me.
It was not, a prediction of what I was nor who I was.

As one MamaPedia Mom said to me in a post- Never judge a person's insides, by their outsides.

Now- ear plugs should NOT stink. It is probably infected. She best take care of that, before her ear gets major, infected.

all the best,

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answers from Charlotte on

Let her have her freedom while she can. She's just expressing herself and tons of kids do it. In high school, I was friends with Mohawk Girl, guys with tattoos, and kids with piercings. However, I kept everything natural because I just wasn't into that stuff (that, and I have a low pain tolerance), but I'm cool with the people who are.

At least as a teen nobody will hold it against her as far as careers are concerned. Hair grows back and eventually regains its natural color. As long as she's a good kid with good grades and doesn't do anything stupid this time in her life won't really matter too much.

Yes, double zero is a size and as far as I know the smell thing is normal without silicone. However, you might want to get that checked out in case I'm wrong.

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answers from Phoenix on

she's almost a legal adult. so this is one of those "pick your battles" and frankly i don't think its worth getting so worked up about. if she was getting bad grades, smoking, drinking, drugs, staying out all night without me knowing, etc...then i'd be having a fit. but hair and earrings...not so much.

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answers from San Diego on

Plugs always smell. A little like old cheese. That's not a sign of infection so rest assured, her earlobes are safe!

Is she hurting anyone?
Is she in harms way?

It sounds like the answer would be no. Why on earth would you kick a child out of her home because she has taken on different body modifications popular in other cultures? That's not disrespect, it's self expression.

Please do not let something so ultimately trivial destroy your beautiful and precious relationship with your granddaughter...hair will regrow, piercings close, even stretched earlobes return to modest sizes after time.
But so what if those were the styles she embraced for 2 months, 2 years, 2 decades?

It's who you are inside, not outside that determines your character. And she sounds like a sweet girl on the brink of adulthood with a good work ethic.

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answers from Austin on

The more you push on simple things like appearance the more she is going to push back on the more important things like curfew and boyfriends. If she is still comfortable with you and can talk to you, then the most important thing for you is to keep that communication open. Then you can help her through the difficult problems in life. Her hair will grow back. She'll figure out the earring thing or she won't. It's not the end of the world (even though it looks disgusting).

You are a very kind woman to love her and take care of her. From losing her mom, I'm sure she has a hard time dealing with life and coping sometimes. She needs someone to be there for her and help her through life. You...

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answers from San Francisco on

I think if my daughter came home with all of the stuff you're describing I'd have a fit too. But for me, the key words here are "she's very sweet". And in your update you mentioned that she's had the same boyfriend for 5 years. If you took away the external stuff, it sounds like she's a pretty good kid, right?

At some point she's bound to realize that her punk look will hold her back in the things she wants to accomplish. Or maybe she'll make millions of dollars as a punk rocker!

So I say pick your battles: no drugs/drinking, attending school, doing chores, etc. When she grows up she can change her appearance back to something more normal (perhaps covering her ears with longer hair?) and if she has a solid background in education and responsibility, she'll turn into a fantastic adult. And that's the whole point as far as I'm concerned.

Good luck!

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answers from Sacramento on

I haven't read all the responses so forgive me if I'm repeating. But my heart goes out to both of you.
I'm sure this isn't what you want to hear, but let it go. It's just hair and skin - it's not who she is. I think the most important thing you can do at this time in her life is to LOVE her.
By all means, don't compromise your standards, or condone her actions when they don't live up to your expectations. But by now she knows how you feel, don't wear yourself out by trying to make her conform. You have given her roots, now she is trying her wings. The more you try to hold on, the more she will resist you. Love her, concentrate on and emphasis what's good about her. She's had a hard time without her mom and she really just needs to know she can't push you away.
Best wishes

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answers from Sacramento on

Where does she get the money to do these things. I know you said she's doing a lot of it on her own, but I think there still must be some expense to it.
I think you're in a situation where you are going to have to back off a bit. I understand how angry this makes you, and know that you worry about her. But, sometimes the best thing you can do is to calmly and quietly explain to her why you object to the things she's doing to herself, but assure her that whatever she decided, you still love her.
I was often asked, back in the seventies, how I could let my then teen-age son wear his hair long (down to his waist). I told people that if his hair were the only worry I had with him, I'd be perfectly happy. I knew he was messing with alchohol and drugs, and there was no way I was going to be able to stop him. But he kept his long hair clean and neat and I sure wasn't going to fight him over something that insignifigant. I know the hair problem you are seeing with your granddaughter is more wierd looking than long hair on a boy, but it's still today's version... something to shock the adults and show that she is her own person (that's the way the kids see it anyway). Keep on loving her, pray a lot for her safety and well-being, and just try not to worry. I know this is a big order, but hopefully the day will come when you will see her grow up and be a blessing in your life rather than a worry. BTW, my son did and is now a fifty something responsible man.

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answers from San Francisco on

Nothing else "negative" was said about this girl except the hair, piercings, and plugs. Just: she's very sweet. Sounds like there's a clashing of lifestyles. She's 17, she has a job, she's been with the same guy for 5 years. Most 17 year olds are having sex, unfortunately, and most of the times not with a long-time partner. Better with this guy than sleeping around. Make sure she's being responsible --- don't NOT help her protect herself because you don't think she should be having sex. In the end, it's just hair, it's just lobe stretching, it's just pierced nipples. The hair can grow out, the ears can be repaired in the future (an expensive lesson for her) and the piercings can be removed. She's working, she's still coming home, and she's not pregnant. Maybe she'll own her own tattoo parlor, maybe she'll become a conservative business woman. Our kids and grandkids don't always choose the lives we think they should, but if she's not hurting herself or anyone else, she's doing okay.

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answers from Allentown on

I don't have experience with that as a parent, but I've certainly been a teen!

Honestly, she sounds like she's a good kid who has been dealt a rough hand and is just trying to express herself and figure out who she is.

Personally, I don't care about hair. It grows back.
Piercings are a different story, and I'd be worried about ones that smell bad. Sounds like a dr. visit for antibiotics is probably in order.

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answers from Springfield on

I know it wont make you feel any better right now but take LOTS of pictures. When she is having an rough go with her own children about something they are wearing or doing to themselves get out the picutres of her. She will then be reminded of her "great fashion" and you can say I told you it was a bad idea!
Its something everyone goes through. It will grow back (maybe not the ears but she can pay to have that decision fixed with her own money in her own time) and the more you fight her the more she will do.
Best Wishes!

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answers from Washington DC on

It's hair... It will grow back.
When she's old and in the home and her ear lobes are drooping as far as her chest, she'll understand why Grandma was so upset.
As for the sex thing - make sure she has protection from an unwanted pregnancy and STDs. I know you don't want her even having sex, but since she is going to do it, you'd best make sure she's protected.
She is almost 18. She's going to do what she's going to do. You don't have to fund it. You can cut her off financially... She has her home, but if she wants funds, she can work for them.
The boyfriend thing - I found that if I ignore them and offer no opinion either way, they tend to go away faster. :-)

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answers from San Francisco on

It sounds like she's running you through the wringer! I don't have any experience directly on point, but I do feel as though you should allow her the freedom to dress how she pleases. As you said, there is nothing you can do about the ears now, and since she's almost 18, there's not much you're going to be able to do about any of the rest of it. I think you need to keep your eye on the big prize, which is your relationship with her. I do think you should talk to her (not lecture) and tell you you really believe she will be sorry in the future for doing these things to her body, (like ear stretching), but the reality is her hair will grow out and no one will know that her nipples are pierced unless she tells/shows them. The ears can be covered with long hair. Just hope she doesn't get a tattoo. she might decide to do that if you give her too hard a time. I don't blame you for being angry, but she is almost an adult (at least by law) so you have to give her some respect. You might find that if you stop fighting her on some of this stuff, she may decide on her own to make some changes. No one likes to be told what to do; we all like to think things were our own idea.

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answers from San Francisco on

She's got a job, right? No, I didn't think so. Too busy modifying her body. I know I was working in high school after school and during the summer. I think the quickest way to give her a dose of reality is to get her out into the workforce. The plugs and hair limit her career options. Let her figure it out. So if you are giving her money for clothes and plugs, cut it off. Let her earn the money to pay for it herself. I know there's the old saw that teenagers always dress weird, etc. It's one thing to wear outlandish clothes - it another to tattoo and pierce and stretch your body - that's forever. I think that teens are in this world dominated by celebrities and their behavior and the piercings and tattoos become "normal". There is still a stigma attached to those behaviors as much as people want to believe otherwise. Donald Trump is NOT going to hire a receptionist with stretched lobes and a pierced eyebrow. I think it's OK to let teens and young adults know that not everyone is so enthused for body modifications and they are often the people doing the hiring. Good-luck.



answers from San Francisco on

Wow, I am sickened by most of the posts on here. Yes, children should have some areas where they can express themselves, but you are the parent/guardian! You make the rules, if that means no piercings and shaved hair that is your rule! You have a right to have those rules, and I will have the same rules when my child gets there.
Her working in a tattoo parlor in the first place under-age would be a no no for my child...as a parent you also have a say in where they work, legally they cannot work under 18 without parent permission, but I'm not sure you have an issue with that. You probably need to have a sit down conversation with her and talk it all out - your expectations for her the remaining months she is there. If you want to really have anything change you have to gently and calmly put your foot down. If it were my daughter I would say no piercings, no plugs in ears even though they are already pierced they have to come out until your out of highschool AND 18, grow hair out now or she will not be able to work, will be picked up and dropped off from school by me, walked to her classes one by one if need be, etc. And would make sure she knows this is because I love her, because there are rules and laws set up for a reason and this is the way the world works, you can't just go and do anything whenever you want.
Anyway, you have to decide how firm you want to be and what your rules are going to be and how you want to handle it, and it's do-able. Just do it out of love, calmly, not yelling or aggressive. (and no, I am not an old school parent, only 30 years old, just think todays kids are going a little too far and parents are allowing it - I've been witnessing the new college grads come into the workforce for a few years and it's sad the way the behave as adults and their expectations of the world and they don't last very long)

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