Ages 2-5DisciplineIdentityParenting Styles

Why Don’t You Let Your Kid Cut All Its Hair Off?

It was just months before my sister-in-law’s wedding when I heard a strange and dreaded sound. You know that sound. That strange snick snick snick

Yep, the sound of my then 4 year old son cutting his hair off with the kid scissors.

I started to say something but I stopped.Why not just let him do it? I realized there was no reason I could think of not to. I had always been a bit too much of a coward to cut my hair as a kid. I wanted him to learn his body and be comfortable with it. To own it. So, I set him up in front of the mirror and let him have his way with it.

Some people thought it was a great idea, others were horrified. Not really sure where the horror came from, well, other than from my sister-in-law, but her wedding was months away. After his haircut I got his agreement to go to the hair salon to straighten it out. He’d cut so much and so unevenly it had to be completely shaved.

It isn’t the first time I’ve had thoughts like this. Both with parenting and in my former career as a librarian I’ve taken the philosophy of, “Is this something that I need to be stressing out over, or is this something that just irritates me?” I do this because over and over and over again I’ve seen my bosses, coworkers, employees, other parents, just completely twist themselves into knots and flip their shit over stuff that is really more of a peeve or a distraction than something that actually matters in any way shape or form. They become obsessed about controlling the situation. I mean, there is such a thing as looking out for your kids’ best interests and then there is just… making you and your kids miserable. I suppose I can’t really lecture to anyone else where to really draw the line, but, have you ever stopped to think about how many irritants you let control you?

When I heard that snick snick snick I also had a completely visceral reaction. A dread. An OH SHIT moment. I was actually quite surprised at how deep the emotion went, and it was really unexpected for something of so little real consequence. That made me even more determined to fight that urge to yell, “OH MY GOD WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR HAIR?!” As if the hair style of a 4 year old on any given day really matters. Of course, on the flip side, whenever my son’s hair was “too long”, I got to hear lots of stories about how people might or did mistake him for a girl and casual inquiries about when I was getting him to take his next hair cut……. Well, I guess we finally got that hair cut, guys!

Don’t worry. Everyone survived. Somehow. 🙂

Ok, I lied, we all died horribly and it was terrible and the entire Earth burned.

J.G. Hovey

Just another person out there in the world. Follow the author's other endeavors at: A Parent With Glass, and ALTsapiens, and G+.

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  1. We were talking about this just this afternoon. People are very hung up about children’s hair, as if its appearance is some kind of measure of good parenting. When my son shaved his head he was put into seclusion at school because it was considered disruptive to other children’s learning! But boys with long hair is equally upsetting to some people. If you agree that children have a right to bodily integrity then the consequence is that they can do what they like with their hair (that includes not brushing it if they don’t want to).

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