A mum has been accused of neglect, abuse and cultural appropriation for letting her daughter, 3, have dreadlocks.
Karaoke MC and mum of three, Kristin Miller, 34, from Maui, Hawaii, USA, decided to dread her own hair two-and-a-half years ago after finding it difficult to style her thin locks.
After seeing her mum’s dreads form, her daughter, Loretta, who was two at the time, was in awe and asked if she could do the same.
Loretta hated having her hair brushed and found the experience traumatic and painful as her active lifestyle of rambling through mountains and bodyboarding meant her hair was constantly in knots.
“I was not surprised at Loretta's interest in dreads. She was always touching mine and saying, ‘Deez your dweads?’,” Ms Miller said.
“She would cry when I would suggest it was time to brush. She would throw the brush, cry for her brother to hold her hand. I was trying to be gentle. I even used a detangler. She wasn't having it. I gave her the choice and at two she vocalised, ‘I keep da dweads’.”
Since then, Ms Miller said Loretta has never been happier and she’s in love with her new faff-free hair.
Kristin decided to share Loretta’s hair journey on Instagram under the handle, @dreadyloretty, to normalise children with dreads and has amassed a whopping 11.9k followers.
While she’s received a lot of support on Instagram for letting Loretta follow her heart, Ms Miller said she’s also been accused of neglect, abuse and even cultural appropriation from people online.
“I had seen many journeys shared [on Instagram]. Loretta's was special. I knew there was some stigma attached and wanted to help normalise ‘kids with dreads’. I wanted to show it was just a part of her life and how she lived it.
“The reaction is not always positive; some people have accused me of neglect, abuse, and cultural appropriation. Everyone is entitled to their opinion I suppose and not everyone will be convinced one way or the other. It's not about them. It's about what Loretta wants,” Ms Miller said.
The mum said she washes the three-year-old’s hair twice a week with eco-friendly dread shampoo.
She also lets her pick out her own outfits, which are often her brother’s hand-me-downs.
“I think parents should listen to their small children. Be open minded. Ask themselves, ‘Why not?’ Don't push your own anxiety and fear of judgment on your children. They will have plenty of that as an adult,” Ms Miller said.
In an effort to promote dread acceptance, the 34-year-old has created a Kindle children’s book titled Dready-Loretty: No Time to Brush about a little girl who loves adventures but can’t find the time to brush her hair.
“It's important to remember people choose to have dreads for many reasons; religious, culture, or love of the style. I think dreads are one of those things that help us practise respect, love, and understanding for things or people we don't necessarily understand,” the mum said.
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