How do I face my conservative family?

April 29, 2016

I shaved the sides of my hair this semester (I’m a girl) and am nervous about my conservative family and community because I don’t know how they will react. I can always buy a wig (?) but want to practice being more confident while sporting my new do. Any advice for helping me prepare to handle the inevitable criticism? I love my family but know that we hold very different views. Is there anyway to reach a middle ground?

Hi there, Good for you for being a little risky and trying out a new style! In this kind of sticky situation, I would weigh the pros and the cons against each other. If the new haircut makes you feel super self-confident, it’s appropriate for the settings you’re in around Berkeley (i.e. it’s appropriate for any jobs or internships you currently have here), and you know you won’t be spending large amounts of time with your conservative family and in a conservative community, then I’d say rock the ‘do and explain to your parents why you like it and why it’s appropriate for you at this point in your life. However, if you’re questioning how much you like the haircut and you also know that your colleagues or boss might not appreciate the style, then I’d rethink getting into a major argument with your family over this. If it makes you happy and it’s practical then keep it and reason with your parents, otherwise think about some other styles that will make everyone (including you!) happy.



I believe that most importantly of all is to understand whether you feel comfortable with that (and any, really) decision you make regarding change. Independent of what you predict, anticipate, expect, think your family or anyone will judge your decision as, keep in mind that as long as you know the meaning and reason behind your initiatives you should at least be able to remind yourself of why you did whatever you did and decide if you wish to share these reasons with others or not. In the end of the day it is your voice and feelings that you permit to either hurt or praise you. With that said, perhaps you can approach your family by saying that you would really appreciate if they understood you wanted to explore a different look. Maybe mention it on the phone before arriving or send a cute/friendly snapchat?!
Tell them that it’s not unusual for other people around you to try out different hair styles and you were tired of looking the way you did for such a long time.
If things get really tense, remind your family that you all should concentrate on the happiness of being together again and that you can buy a wig if it’s really necessary.

Good luck!