Saturday, June 28, 2014

Parents Of A Redhead 12.2.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m a mom of a beautiful redhead girl who has just changed it to blonde because she has been ridiculed, teased and treated with horrible disrespect. Her father and I have been into her schools to discuss this obnoxious “Ginger-bashing” since she was in first grade.

We have educated ourselves on this terrible behavior and found out that she is a “Class 3” redhead (One with pale skin, freckles and apparently no soul)?! This was started by an adult TV cartoon show who suggested that a “Kick A Ginger Day” be a national holiday.

We read about violent threats and actions and even deaths that have occurred since 2009. We discussed this with our daughter and showed her pictures of wonderful redheaded celebrities. We even changed her schools because of the increasing taunts against her.

Our daughter is also tall, which means she is taller than most boys in her seventh grade class. She did have a 4.0 GPA. However, since she is now a blonde, she is more concerned about how she looks, what clothes she has on and what groups of kids like her (especially boys).

We don’t want her to think that being a pretty blonde is the most important part of who she is.

Help us, please. She’s our only child.

Dear Parents Of A Redhead,

It’s extraordinary that you and your husband have educated ourselves and communicated well with your daughter and her schools. You’ve been a great advocate for anti-bullying tactics. You’ve let your daughter know that she does not have to accept behavior hurled at her simply because of reckless prejudices.

However, you have done all you can now create a safe environment for her. To further obsess about a feature that your daughter was born with could cause her to think that she does indeed have something wrong with her.  She changed her hair color to become acceptable instead of changing it because she wanted to try a different look. It was her way of accepting peer pressure.  Bullying occurs when differences from the norm are decidedly intolerable. Redheads are in the minority, so she became a victim.

She needs your help to realize that her differences may help to define her as unique and special in a good way. Her distinctive talents (internal and external), her values and intelligence need to be focused on now. 

While it is natural for young girls to want to fit in with everyone else, it’s her amazing individual qualities that will make her shine and be a leader instead of a follower.  Please encourage her to be brave and go back to her original hair color and become engaged in activities in her school, community and/or church that give her leadership opportunities.

She may also need some assistance from a professional therapist to understand that this one feature doesn’t define who she is. She may need the extra strength to stand tall (tall girls have a tendency to slump and hide their beautiful stature) and appreciate her differences and not focus on them.  These experiences may make her heart grow with empathy for others in her situation. She can learn to make a good difference for others because of her rising above the bullying she has had to endure but has overcome.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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