Courtesy of Allison Cooper

I Won’t Ever Give My Kid A Haircut Without His Consent

By
Share
Ad failed to load

When he was 2 years old, my son hated getting a haircut. He formed the strongest opinion about having his hair chopped off that anyone who tried to get near his head was instantly sorry. He insisted that whenever the freshly cut hair fell from his head, it turned into spiders crawling all over his body, which caused him to freak out uncontrollably.

My husband and I tried everything. We walked him through the process and explained to him, as best we could, that there weren't any spiders involved with haircuts. We let him watch my husband get a haircut. We even offered him a reward if he was able to go through with it. But try as we might, my son just couldn’t comprehend that there was nothing scary about getting your hair cut.

We figured he'd just grow out of it, but years went by, and my son still hated getting his hair cut. To avoid the embarrassment of my son having a tantrum in a salon, my husband and I tried to take some of the stress out of the situation by cutting his hair at home. But every time my husband tried to cut my son's hair, he'd weep and shake as he sat with a dropcloth draped over his shoulders. When the haircut was done, my son would run off to the shower to stand for what felt like eternity and wash the “spiders” off.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Allison Cooper

We didn’t think that things could get worse, but one day, when he was 3 years old, they did. As usual, we let him know a few days in advance that he was getting his hair cut, so he could work his courage up. In the days leading up to the haircut, everything seemed OK. But when the big day came and it was time to pull the shears out, my son lost it in a way he never had before. He was totally unconsolable. He just couldn’t bring himself to sit in the chair and let daddy trim his hair.

"We’re done with it all. No more haircuts. I don’t care how long his hair gets, we’re not going through this anymore until he’s ready and he gives us his consent.”
Ad failed to load

As I sat on the floor with him, my arms wrapped around his little shaking body, I realized that while the cause of my son's fear of haircuts was relatively minor, it was traumatizing him so much to get one that it just wasn't worth seeing him in such stress.

"Stop!," I said to my husband. “We’re done with it all. No more haircuts. I don’t care how long his hair gets, we’re not going through this anymore until he’s ready and he gives us his consent.”

My husband agreed.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Allison Cooper

From that point on, we stuck with the "no more haircuts until he's ready" rule. It no longer seemed important to me that my son regularly get his hair cut, because how important were haircuts, really? After becoming a mom, I pretty much only got a few per year myself.

I wouldn’t want anyone giving me a haircut if I didn’t want one. In fact, it someone tried to cut my hair without my consent, I’d be pretty damn pissed off.
Ad failed to load

I also tried to put myself in his shoes. I wouldn’t want anyone giving me a haircut if I didn’t want one. In fact, it someone tried to cut my hair without my consent, I’d be pretty damn pissed off. I realized that I needed to get out of my own head and think solely about my son in this situation. Even if his hair was all over the place during school drop-off, I couldn't let myself feel bad about it. If people looked at his long, shaggy hair and blamed me for being an unfit mother, then who cares? I wasn’t going to trouble my little guy with it anymore - not until he was ready.

I realized that while kids are supposed to follow their parents' directions until they’re old enough to make decisions for themselves, there are still some things they really should decide for themselves. They need to learn from the start what they are comfortable with and what they aren’t right from the start, and they need to learn how to vocalize those feelings.

Courtesy of Allison Cooper
Ad failed to load

As we predicted, my son finally did grow out of his fear of haircuts. A year after we decided to stop forcing him to get haircuts, he came to us on his own and said he wanted to get a haircut. At this point, he had been in school for a while, and he'd seen all the other children coming to class with fresh haircuts. During the haircut, my son complained that everything felt itchy, but he didn't say anything about spiders. We were so thankful that he had finally conquered his fear, and we were even more glad that he had made the choice to get a haircut for himself.

While kids are supposed to follow their parents' directions until they’re old enough to make decisions for themselves, there are still some things they really should decide for themselves.

Now that we have brought a second child into the world, I can only predict that she will be even more opinionated about her hair. But we're going to stick to the same rules: no haircuts without our kids' consent. As long as they're happy and healthy, that’s all that matters. After all, a little extra hair never hurt anyone.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}