“Can I have locs now?”
This is the question my son has been asking me for the past several months. Each time he’s asked, my teeth clench, I hold my breath and I matter of factly reply “nope!” To which he almost always looks sad and occasionally would inquire “why not?!”
The reason why I am scared to start my son’s locs is the same reason I tell most parents to hold off on starting their children’s locs.
Why I’m Scared to Start My Son’s Locs
When I think about the care that goes into cultivating healthy locs— cleaning, moisturizing, grooming, drying, etc.— they require commitment. And as I watch my 6 year old live his best life, he is carefree, unapologetic, and adventurous. These are all great qualities of his character and I truly enjoy watching him show up as his full self. So when he asks me, “Mom, can I have locs now” and my teeth clench and my breath stops it is not because of the typical stereotypes.
I do not have concerns about him being viewed as “unkempt” or worry that he won’t be able to get a job with locs or that people might see him as a “thug”. What I struggle with is the duality of care-free vs commitment. I have a hard time seeing how he can roll around in the grass, jump into pools, play trains with his head on the carpet (read: be carefree) and still cultivate healthy (read: buildup-free) locs.
Hear me out—
For me, his mother, a Loctician who is mortified by lint and buildup I see myself taking away his delight in having locs and replacing it with regulations: Don’t put your head on the floor. Always wear your scarf. You have to moisturize your locs every other day. I believe locs should afford you freedom not take it away.
So, yes, I am afraid to start my son’s locs because of lint, buildup and the responsibility that comes with hair care. I believe there is an appropriate age range for young children to have successful locs, and that is when they can independently handle the responsibility of the care. At least the moisturizing, drying and protection. So is 6 too young for this responsibility?!
I guess we will find out because we did it anyway. 😳 Keep my nerves in prayer. And I’ll keep you posted on his journey…