TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL BARBER VISITS
Taking your Black son to the barber shop is important for so many reasons. For one, hair care is basic hygiene. PERIOD. Secondly, as a white adoptive parent of a Black son, I can't think of better way that you can begin to give him the cultural connections he deserves, than in the barber shop. Don't let you fears get in the way of giving your child this experience. You will probably make a mistake, maybe more than one, as you learn. That's ok. Get up and try again. Here are a few tips to make your barber shop trips successful.
1. Check out pictures online of the inside and know how to get there before you go so you have relaxed, positive energy for your son. The best time to be nosey with your stylist is before you choose one. That is why we take so much time taking the pictures and videos, we WANT YOU TO LOOK AT ALL OF THEM! Lol “All” might be extreme depending on how many your potential stylist posts, but look at as many of them as you can. Get a feel for our space, skills, and clientele.
2. Know that the moment you walk in the Black men there instantly care about your Black son. Trust that bond and be thankful your son gets to experience that. Give your son space to build on those bonds. Contrary to popular belief, they are less concerned with you than you think. They are there to service the person getting a cut, or they are getting a service too and can identify with your child. Allow them a bit of space to get to know one another.
3. Research terms (fade, sponge, line up, etc) before going so you can have a conversation about what would work best for your son’s hair. When the barber makes suggestions you won’t be lost. It’s also totally okay to not know everything. It’s not your lane...it’s the barber’s lane. Stay in yours and let them have control over theirs. Yeah, you may only know you want it brush length on top and bald in the back. Describe that. The barber will translate back to you what you are asking for. Take a mental note. If you need to, use the posters on the wall to point out styles you like, and talk with the barber about which style would be best for your child.
4. It’s not awkward unless/until YOU make it awkward. No one is wondering why you’re there - you’re there for your son. Once your son is in the chair, sit back and let him have the experience he deserves. Giiiirrrrllllll, they are running a business. They know why you are there. They are cool with you being there too. Chill. If your money spends, you are typically welcomed to get a service.
Bonus Tip- Don’t waste time making sure you’re doing everything “right” and being extra. You have your son in a barbershop. You’re doing what’s best for your son already! You will never do anything perfectly. Parenting is no exception. Going to the barbershop doesn't have to feel like a chore. As long as you go in with the child’s hair clean and somewhat detangled, with a payment in your pocket you are doing it right.
A note about sensory issues:
If your son does have sensory issues there are MANY barbers who have their own suites. You can still take them there until (if ever) they are ready for a barber shop. No for real… sensory issues are not necessarily a barrier to getting a cut with a barber. Have open and honest conversations with the potential barber. See if their environment is conducive to a soothing environment for your child. Go in with an open mind. There is a chance that your first few appointments could be more difficult than they will always be. You won't know how good it can get, if you quit after one appointment. Just because you feel embarrassed, doesn’t mean the barber is upset or wishes you would not come back. You may have stronger feelings about the experience than the barber does. Lastly, your child is not the only one, nor the first one, and won't be the last.
Every barber and barbershop is not created equally. If you have tried one and it was not the vibe you liked,then try another. You are building a new relationship. It may take time.