For the first year of my son's life, my mom asked me the same question every time she saw him: "When are you going to cut his hair?" My answer was always the same, too. "When he asks me to." The same goes for my other kids, both male and female. Because, honestly, there are quite a few reasons why I refuse to cut my kids’ hair. People seem to have some pretty strong opinions about my kids' hair, too, which is why, apparently, I need to defend my choice. I've received flack for letting my sons grow their hair out, dye their hair purple, and wear pigtails. I've also been thrown the side-eye for letting my daughter cut her hair super short. And since people care enough about my kids' hair enough to ask me about it all the damn time, I thought I might offer some explanation. I am not, however, going to apologize.
I feel strongly that my kids are human beings, which gives them a right to full bodily autonomy. So, unless there’s a medical or hygiene reason to touch them without their permission, I don't. That includes cutting their hair or taking them to the salon. As long as I can manage their hair when they are little, or they are willing to learn how to take care of it themselves, I don't see a reason to force them to have it cut. The same goes for them wanting a new hairstyle.
Like many things in parenting, my plans for my kids' hair haven't always gone accordingly. There was the time my kids came home with lice, for example. I shudder even thinking about it. But, in the end, they sat while my partner and I combed their hair out every night, and we didn’t have to cut it against their will. When my daughter wanted to cut her waist-length waves, I let her, even though I ugly cried when she was done. And when my son wanted to grow his curls long, I let him, even though that is totally not the norm where we live. It’s their hair, and I am not cutting it, at least not without their express permission. Here's why:
Because It's Their Hair
The most important reason why I will never cut my kids' hair is because, well, it is theirs. It's rooted in the same reason why I won't make them give hugs or kisses, eat hated food, or sit on the Easter Bunny's lap. Their hair is part of their body, and they deserve to have control over that part of their body just like they do any other part. As long as they take care of their hair, or let me take care of it, they get to have bodily autonomy. Yes, that includes their hair.
Because Trips To The Salon With Kids Suck
I still remember the first time my mom took my sister and me to a salon. We walked in with waist-length hair, and walked out with bobs and perms. I cried, and I refuse to do the same with my kids. Besides, I'm pretty sure the salon experience sucked for my mom, too. Sitting still for a haircut is not easy for my kids, and I'm not going to make my kids do it until they're ready.
Because They Are Kids
Why do people care how my kids wear their hair? I mean, as long as they aren't appropriating someone else's culture (like with dreadlocks, cornrows, or box braids) and are able to take care of it or let me take care of it, I can't think of a reason why I should cut my kids' hair or demand that they wear it a certain way.
Because It's Just Hair
There was the day when I discovered that my son took matters into his own hands and cut his hair with a pair of scissors. Turns out he was ready for a haircut, so I took him to the salon. It was easy because he was ready, and not because I was forcing him to sit through something he didn't want.
Because Self Expression Is Important
I learned the hard way that kids will be asked their whole lives to conform, whether it's in schools, workplaces, or society in general. While they are kids — and hopefully beyond — I want my children to feel free to explore and express their individualities with hair cuts, color, and styles.
Because We Don't Do Gender Roles
I think a lot of people get upset about long hair on boys and short hair on girls, because they want to make hairstyles about gender. As you might imagine, I think that's messed up. My kids can have whatever hairstyle they prefer, even if it doesn't correspond with their gender identity or confuses people in check-out lines.
Because They Haven't Asked Yet
Whenever my kids ask for a haircut, they get one. My youngest hasn't asked for one, though. So, for the time being and until he does, I will not cut his hair. #SorryNotSorry
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.