what do we do to 'fix' this?

justnotmarthaMarch 2, 2009

So BM calls today (her visitation weekend) to see what we thought about SD14 highlighting her hair. We had already talked with her that would be something to save for starting highschool in a couple months - she's wanted them for a bit. When I reminded BM of that she got a pouty tone (with SD in the car next to her) and said 'Okaaay. I just thought it would be something nice she and I could do together." So I said fine, do whatever. BUT, we are not going to be responsible for the cost of the upkeep. If she wants these she is going to need to figure that out. Then BM said they had stopped at a 'fast food' hair place and they were more than she wanted to pay, so they were going to try a box. I just said that's your call and got off the phone.

Fast forward a few hours and SD is texting me saying her hair looks grey and horrible and she's upset. She sent me a picture, and though it's hard to tell with the light, it does look pretty dull and grey. SD wants to know what to do now, and I told her she has to live with it as putting more box dye on it will only fry her hair.

So, of course the only way to fix it is take her to my salon and pay to have it professionally corrected. I don't really care about the cost as far as spending the money, but I care about the principle. Why should we have to pay to right the wrong BM created, especially one she knew we didn't really support? Should we just make SD live with it? SHould we tell BM she has to pay for our salon trip?

Grrr. It's always something.

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I would be tempted to tell bm that it is her mess to fix. And tell sd that you had told her to wait, but her and bm begged so this is their mess. BM messed it up and BM needs to pay to fix it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:08AM
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I'd be tempted to say 'let SD live with it' and her mom can fix it unless it was something BM pushed her to do. Is SD 'innocent' and just going along with mom to make her happy or did she want the highlights and trying to get around waiting until HS? The circumstances would color my opinion better.

Lots of lessons to be learned by this one. If she is going behind yours & DH's back to get BM to do this for her since she has to wait at your house, then it needs to be put back on BM. After all, if BM is playing hero... let her save the day. If she won't fix it, then hopefully SD will realize that it's a mistake to go against her 'parents' to get BM to do what you don't agree with. I'd also explain that sometimes you get what you pay for. and if you do take her to your salon, I think BM and SD should pay the bill. Unless you truly believe SD only did it because BM wanted her to and she is completely a victim, then she should share some of the responsibility for what was done. I don't think it's fair to always fall back on the custodial (responsible) parent to fix the irresponsible parent's screw up! (and no, I am not implying that non custodial parent's are irresponsible... just some are)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:42AM
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i would just pay to have it fixed...it's TOTALLY normal for a 14 year-old to want highlights. (i'm a hairstylist...) and BELIEVE ME it is going to be SOOOO much easier to get if fixed now as opposed to when she tries to fix it herself with a girlfriend after school one day with a box of haircolor.

it sucks to pick up the pieces sometimes, but 14 can be such a hard age...and if she's a good kid she deserves to feel good about how she looks.

another idea-and i can only guess by your post, this is not a professional assessment-if her hair is light-medium brown to dark brown and her highlights look gray (as in purple or greenish undertones) but the PLACEMENT of the highlights look good (it's just the color that's off) you can take her and have a stylist TONE her hair with a SEMI-PERMANENT gold toned color. OR check at sally's or a local supply store that sells to the public and ask them for a GOLD toned shampoo or conditioner. the gold in the color/shampoo/conditioner will counteract the purple/greenish tint in the highlights. also, sometimes the local supply stores have a salon in them-don't hesitate to ask for the manager (make sure he/she actually DOES hair) and ask them for something along those lines.

the good news is, you're at the stage where its the easiest to fix. if she gets a box of color that's too dark or not the same shade you're likely in for it!! it should work out, though. if push comes to shove, i believe it's john frieda that has a gold shampoo-and it's available at the grocery store.

good luck!!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 1:45AM
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In this case, I would suck it up and fix it. I remember when I was 14, and I would just DIE if I had to go to school with my hair looking like that. I understand the opportunity to teach her a lesson, but IMO, an adolescent's self image is fragile enough without the humiliation of their peers.

Perhaps pay to get it fixed, ask BM for half and make SD pay for the other half out of her allowance. If she doesn't get an allowance, have her work it off by doing chores. That would be an excellent lesson, IMO....at that age I was VERY put out if I had to do more than my usual chores. God forbid I should get off my snotty teenaged butt and pitch in ;)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 9:06AM
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I wouldn't suck up at all. Its between BM and her daughter. Period.
I'm sorry your SD is 'suffering' BUT BM took her for the hair color in the first place and BM will have to fix this. If bm insists for your salon tell her to cough up the cash.
Next alternative is to cut your SD hair off....ask BM if that's ok.
Nope...BM messed. BM will fix it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 10:02AM
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You can certainly pay to correct the blunder, but instead of giving her the highlights, put it back to it's original color and tell her to wait until she's in high school. You already stated that you don't want to pay to maintain the highlights and they'll be needing a tune-up before you know it. This would be a true lesson learned.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 11:09AM
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You have nothing to fix. SD & her mom, chose to use a box of dye to color her hair, and, big surprise, didn't get professional results. It's hair, it will grow out, let her deal with the consequence of her choice!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 4:27PM
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I would be tempted to say to bad so sad.. you chose to do this now you have to live with it ... we said wait you should have waited.

But, as a 14 year old about to start highschool.. I can just feel the teenage heart palpitations of needing to look your best. My solution would be to tell sd she has to earn the money to fix it. Give her chores or whatever and keep a running tally. If it is really that important to her she will earn the money... if not... then that is her decision to let it ride.

Although I can understand the sentiment of bm did it she should pay... this is really just petty to make a fight out of. SD is plenty old enough to know what she was doing and to realize the consequence... now it should be up to her to show the same "initiative" to get it fixed that she showed to get it done with ol mom ahead of schedule.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 5:13PM
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I think Annabel and Gerina both had good advice.

I have used toning shampoos when I used to colour my hair and they did make quite a difference in keeping my colour bright and "pure" looking.

But taking her to a salon, getting it put back to as close to natural as possible and letting her grow out the consequences until fall like you originally agreed upon is a good idea too.

Yeah, you need to help SD deal with this... But I don't think you need to "clean up BM's mess" by taking her for new highlights and maintaining them on your dime and your time.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I think it should be about the child not about DH's X and her stupidity. Her hair looks a mess, who cares who messed it up, mom is stupid, so if dad cares about his daughter he will pay. I paid plenty of times for X's stupidity because it is not about Xs, it is about the kids. If highlights are too early and too expensive, then let her die her hair appropriate color and let it grow, or cut it short. She does not need to be punished because of her mother, kids don't choose parents.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 6:29PM
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okay, if i'm 14 and want to highlight my hair and dad and SM say i need to wait, but mom offers to do it, I'M DOING IT!! this kid is 14, obviously trusted her mom to take care of her and her hair, and it probably never crossed her mind that her mom might foul it up.

that doesn't mean she should get off scot-free...but really?? is it necessary for her to pay for it out of her allowance or is it worth the fight with the BM over the money?? she's going to remember that dad and SM fixed the mistake and made her feel better-and next time mom wants to color her hair, pierce something, tattoo someplace, what have you, she'll remember the haircolor incident and how mom and dad didn't agree on it and how it turned out and hopefully put some more thought into her decision.

she's still a kid and kids make mistakes and give into what they want 'right now' all the time. cut her some slack. just talk to her and let her know if she wants to act like an adult and do adult things, that NEXT time she'll have to handle it like an adult, financially or otherwise. and tell her that THIS time you'll help her out because you love her and want her to feel good about herself.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 10:41PM
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annebel, everything you say is true, but when does it end? How many times does dad/sm have to clean up BM's mess? If it were the first time, I'd wholeheartedly agree with you but when it's already happened repeatedly.. it gets old. & at 14 if she knows her mom's track record and still gets mom to do it for her or goes along with mom when she knows dad said no, what's her consequence?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 10:57PM
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Consequence??? You are advocating punishment for a 14yo who goes along with mum? OK it was bad communication/parenting because BM didn't back up dad, but you're, in a sense, saying kid should contradict parent she is with at the time.

I think the grown-up thing to do is fix the kid's hair, without comment or fanfare, but a proviso that kid will be paying in the future. She will work that out soon enough. 'Punishing' the child in this case is just putting the kid in an invidious position - it's a kind of tit for tat.

The child WILL learn from this - as to which parent is the one who is really there for her. Although this is kind of a mountain/molehill thing, to some extent.

By trying to bite my tongue, not always successfully, but just by having a demonstrably warm and functional relationship with my second wife, my eldest daughter figured out the differences between my second marriage and my first - hmm same dad, different spouse - different results - maybe dad's not so bad.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 1:31AM
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consequence does not equal punishment. There is a consequence for every action. Sometimes it's a good consequence (ie. eat right & exercise.. you are fit & feel better or healthy) or a bad consequence (ie. you eat junk food too much... you are overweight & feel terrible or unhealthy)

In this case, the consequence is that her hair was damaged by using a boxed color instead of going to a salon. IF she was a part of the decision with her mom to do it, then she and her mom should deal with the consequence. Dad & SM were against them doing this but mom insisted so how is it tit for tat. Mom screwed up, mom should fix it. THAT'S the grown up thing to do. Of course, mom should act like an adult... right? Or can mom behave juvenile and dad/SM always fix it? What does that teach the kids?

Of course if mom refuses to fix her mess, then dad or SM may be forced to bail out SD but another perspective is that if dad/SM always bail out SD (especially when she is going against dad and letting mom give her what dad said no to) then SD may learn that it doesn't matter what dad says, mom will let her do what she wants and if it gets screwed up, dad will save the day and fix it for her.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 2:16AM
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Annebel, thank you for the gold tip. I got some tonight and DH and I think it made a difference, though SD swears she still looks like a grandma. She's going to wash with it again in the morning and leave it on a little longer.

I have to echo Ima on this - "annebel, everything you say is true, but when does it end? How many times does dad/sm have to clean up BM's mess? If it were the first time, I'd wholeheartedly agree with you but when it's already happened repeatedly.. it gets old. & at 14 if she knows her mom's track record and still gets mom to do it for her or goes along with mom when she knows dad said no, what's her consequence?"

In our case, SD knows we are the dependable, save the day and pick up the pieces parents as we have been all along. That's the problem, and why I echo Ima. When does it stop? If we set the expectation that BM can run off on a whim and do something with/for SD, have it backfire and we clean up the pieces, what message does that send to SD or BM? This is definitely not the first clean up we've done - we are endlessly having to right the wrongs and smooth the ruffled feathers. So at what point do we say enough? When do we say to SD 'you know BM's track record, you made the choice to follow along against the reasoning we presented, now deal with it?' If we don't make a stand at some point the situations won't be as easy to fix as a dye job.
S-E-X, if you don't follow where I'm going.

SD does have to learn the difference between thought & reason and immediate gratification, and this is a painful example of why. And though the money plays into it as it is a more expensive fix that the original act, that isn't even the biggest 'lesson' I'm worried about. Heck - the gold shampoo cost more than the box dye! I just don't want both of them thinking they can do whatever they want whenever and we will fix it, regardless of the time, cost, whatever. BM expects it of us, we don't want SD growing up with that same sense that the world owes her because she wants things a certain way.

And no, there wasn't a contradiction issue. Mom called to ask, we told her what we thought and left it up to them. We didn't say no.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 2:17AM
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How about this perspective. and i'm sure alot of people have always accused SM's here as stepping over the line.
Well i think you can view this as stepping over the line. If SM fixes this she is STEPPING OVER THE LINE. She is correcting biomom's 'mistake' and biomom will look like dudu and then biomom will accuse mom as interfering with what happen with hter and her daughter.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE CHILD. This is about an outting between mother and daughter , a bonding where daughter did not like the outcome. THE DAUGHTER SHOULD GO TO HER MOTHER AND SAY....MOM I REALLY HAD FUN WITH YOU BUT I DONT LIKE HOW MY HAIR TURNED OUT. CAN WE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?.
1. its non of sm business to fix this. She will be looked upon by bm as overstepping herself.
2. this was an occasion between bm and her daughter.
3. daughter didn't like the color scheme outcome.
4. let her go to mom and ask to fix it. period.
This situation has happened to me. SD does not live with me but she did get the box hair color done by bm. She didn't like it. and asked me to fix it. It wasn't a horrible color mind you..she just didnt' like it.
I told her this. Ask your mother to fix this. She didn't want to hurt her feelings. I told her , you can say your had a lot of fun but the color is changing and you would like to fix it. Now if she doesn't...i cant help you, its not fair to your mother for me to do this for you. Its not nice.
Well, mom didn't fix. therefore its took 10 months for it to grow out and she lived with .
And she never colored her hair again in years ....soooo..
my advice is. let mom handle it. Its none of your business. You will be seen as overstepping and making mom look like she couldnt' do it right for her daughte.r. STay out of it.No matter how much sd pouts.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 8:45AM
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I think it is too much to expect from a 14-year-old to make a distinction on which parents makes the right choice and which parent is crazy. I don't think she even need to make that distinction at 14. she is 14, mom says let's dye your hair, she does, it looks bad. Mom's fault not SD's.

DD was 19 when she figured out how to deal with dad being late wiht everything. She would tell him wrong dates, like somehing is due on the 10th (when really it is due on the 20th) then dad would do XYZ by the 20th but still won't be late! She would never come up wiht that at 14. lol

I think parents should be there for their children. and that is the lesson that they can learn: parents will be there. And if one parent is not there, not kids fault, they didn't choose mom or dad.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 12:04PM
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FD, maybe your DD wasn't as... let's say 'street wise' as some other kids. Perhaps it took her until she was 19 to figure out that she had to lie to her dad about when something is due because he's always late. It doesn't take all kids that long to figure out some things.

My SD is 9 and she has figured out how to make mom go ballistic so she'll pay attention to her. She knows what to tell mom to get a reaction. She tries to get dad to react to what goes on at mom's house. She keeps things a secret if she knows dad might not let her do something and mom will. (in fact, she knows that if she tells mom that dad won't let her do it, mom will let her do it... so she has figured out how to get what she wants by manipulating her mom)

When I was a kid, I knew (or figured out) which parent to go to when I wanted a certain answer. My kids tried it too. It's human nature to do that.

First, nobody said either parent is crazy. Mom made a choice to do something, it didn't turn out well, mom should fix it. Second, we don't know if it was mom's idea or if sd told mom that dad says she has to wait, but she really doesn't want to wait and mom got the bright idea to 'bond' & let SD do it sooner. Bottom line, it's mom's choice and a 'mother/daughter' thing and I agree with maria.. I wouldn't say it's overstepping exactly but I would say that I can see where mom might be upset if SM 'fixes' it and makes her look bad. Mom has to fix it or she might end up looking like the screw up parent and SM becomes the hero.

I guess the sad thing would be if mom really doesn't care enough to fix it for her daughter or if SM comes out as the hero and makes mom look bad in her daughter's eyes. (and the reality is that mom is making herself look bad)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 12:29PM
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"I think parents should be there for their children. and that is the lesson that they can learn: parents will be there. And if one parent is not there, not kids fault, they didn't choose mom or dad."

I'm starting another post about all of this "choosing" business.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 3:11PM
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imamommy it simply was not her business when she was a child, CS or other payments weren't something for her to worry about. It is inappropriate to involve your children in any of that mess, it has to be between parents. At 19 they are adults though.

And there is a big difference between your SD and my DD. You cannot possibly compare. My DD was never a center of a power struggle between two parents. She was also never made to make adult choices at 9 or 14. As a child she was never made to deal with anything what your SD is facing wiht her parents. There was no need for her to push any buttons.

As about deadlines it was not DD's business at 14 (such as payments for school or CS, it was between parents). Street smart or not it is not what children need to be busy wiht.

The reason i mention 19 is that the age when she was making adult decisions and decisions concerning payments or similar stuff starting to be between her and inidivudal parent, not between mom and dad anymore. At age 14 it would be completely inappropriate of us to expect her to even be aware of parental finacial obligations or anything of the sort. Your SD is the center of all that legal mess, so of course she is a part of it and she knows how to manipulate. My DD was not.

maybe ability to manipulate at age 9 makes your SD "street smart" but I am yet to see any benefits of it. So far I only see negative result of such involvement. But I do see a lot of positive in the way my DD was brought up.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 3:33PM
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just feel like I need to throw out there that a 14 year old most definately knows what they are doing when they make these kinds of decisions. I am sure the highlighting subject did not come up by accident. Kids are ridiculously smarter than what we give them credit for and by far know how to get what they want when they want it... in these kinds of situations. And, that is not only children of divorce.... it is ALL children.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 3:46PM
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I have to be devils advocate here and say that a 14 year old kid KNOWS when one parent doesn't want them to do something and will very much so take full advantage of the dee dee dee second parent. Very much so on purpose without any prompting from the second parent I might add.

If they know one parent is more lax and easier to sway...say a guilty non custodial mother...then you'd better bet your britches they will milk her for all she's worth. SD knew full well Dad was against this and so did Biomom but they did it anyway. Both of them are equally guilty.

I personally wouldn't be in any big hurry to fix SD's hair. That's just me. She went over to her mother begging and boo hooing to have it done so let her go back to mom and boo hoo to have it corrected. It will leave an impression on both. SD will realize her choices might back fire and it may be in her best interest to listen to her father and Bio mom will be SICK of hearing SD whine and will be feeling a hit in her pocket book.

SD's self esteem will not be forever damaged. She'll survive....scout's honor. She will be alot wiser though.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 3:48PM
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"And there is a big difference between your SD and my DD. You cannot possibly compare. My DD was never a center of a power struggle between two parents. She was also never made to make adult choices at 9 or 14. As a child she was never made to deal with anything what your SD is facing wiht her parents. There was no need for her to push any buttons."

So, then how can you compare your DD to anyone else's? Unless your DD is in the SAME situation as JNM's SD14 (or anyone else you compare her to), what YOUR daughter did is irrelevant! That is EXACTLY the point that has been made before about you not being in a stepfamily situation and sometimes there ARE those issues that you and your family have NOT been through.

You have every right to have an opinion and post, but when you compare your DD or use her as an example, you are comparing apples to oranges.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 3:54PM
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Oh we were in the same situation more than once. My XMIL cut her hair on many occassions wiht no permission. And my X was crazy about always insisting on cutting DD's hair (he didn't cut because DD wouldn't let him). He wiht XMIL did higlights on her once wihtout asking my permission, it actually looked good, so i didn't mind. And maybe I would let her do it, but they didn't ask. i did offer to do it again but she didn't want it anymore. maybe if I would make a fuss over it "why did you go wihtout my permission" or yelled at my X for it, she would be tempted to test me and do it again. But I didn't. i didn't want power struglle. actually my situation is the most relevant here. My X is a control freak when it comes to hair (some kind of fetish...when we were married he insisted I cut my hair- i didn't)

The difference is i do not fuss over it. I don't think it is important. I do not care enough. If I cannot afford it, i wouldn't fix it. If i can afford it, i would. I didn't want the power struggle. In the long run who cares.

My suggestion once again is to let it go and don't enter power struggle. If she looks awful, help her to look better and let it go. If you create a commotion over it, then she'll do it again.

they will all grow up and be on their own and you will miss times when they argued wiht you over hair.....

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 4:27PM
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I agree, it should not be a power struggle, it's an invidious position for a child. My ex agreed that it was a good thing for my youngest to see her dad, but at age 12 or so it was 'her choice' but communicated in other ways how she felt about me, so daughter did what she thought would please mum. Mum had not been above denigrating me to/in front of daughters whenever she was not getting her way, which eventually blew up in her face, when daughter wouldn't respect her either or do anything around the house.

I agree, it's not good to continually bail the other parent out, or fix things but on the other hand you don't want to punish the child either. I guess within reason, what happens with the other parent should not be our business and leave it at that.

If you are adult and magnanimous and non-enabling I guess kids work out which parent is doing the right thing and which one isn't.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 3:37PM
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Wow all this about a bad haircolor choice.

Well actually it seems to have nothing to do with the hair color, but who's to blame. That's the past already. SD & her BM are to blame, duh.

I guess I'm a SM that crosses the line for some, since I often take my SD along and we get a manicure/pedicure. If she and her BM dyed her hair, and she came home hating it and didn't want to go to school like that, and I could see the reason, I would pay for it to be fixed to her and her dad's satisfaction. He'd pay too.

Kids make mistakes. Who's to blame should not be the issue. The kid has already learned that the box hair color is not a good idea. Why should she continue to suffer embarassment to staisfy supposedly "adults" trying to access blame and one up manship. Make her work off the cost in added chores.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 6:08PM
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just an update on the hair color . . .

The gold wash has been working nicely - the white/grey is now a light golden and SD is liking it. It's not what she has expected, but she looks like a hip grandma now!! :-)
In about a month I think I will take her in for a cut and some color adjusting, but I'm going to let the dust settle first.

Thanks all for your opinions.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 7:09PM
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