I saw this picture on Instagram and HAD to answer it. I thought it was a really good question. I personally would not reccommend relaxing a child's hair. In fact I loved one person's parent's answer to whether they could have a relaxer as a child, "You can have a relaxer when you can pay for it with your own money". Basically they can pay for it when they are old enough to have a full time job, usually 16-18 years old. I wanted that Tia and Tamera hair so I got my first relaxer at 9:
It didn't do anything but make my edges curly (I have type 4 hair). When I was 10 I got my first proper curly perm at the hairdressers (kinda like this lol):
I liked it, but the new growth was horrible. My mum didn't really know what to do with my hair as a child, she could braid but not cainrow. Even now, my mum will not "deal" with her natural hair despite my encouragement to do so. She has gorgeous type 3c/4a hair and could even do wash and goes but refuses to.
This brings me to the question do I think relaxing a child's hair is child abuse? No. In my opinion child abuse involves acts of deliberately hurting a child whether physically, verbally or psychologically. Examples include: hurtful name calling, over feeding, under feeding, bullying, beating etc. That is child abuse. Relaxing a child's hair is not child abuse because often it is done not out of a hurtful intention but because the parent does not know any other way of caring for it. It is a last resort.
I suppose if the relaxer was painful it could be categorised as child abuse. But I do not think the intention is to hurt the child. It is usually due to lack of haircare knowledge.
Do I think relaxing a child's hair is wrong? Yes. Because the child is not old enough to give permission for this (albeit temporary) change to their outward appearance. Those are my thoughts. Hope you enjoyed reading, feel free to share your thoughts!
Images from officialtiamowry.com and vetschoice.wordpress.com