Imagine this: You scheduled your family pictures for this weekend Two days before picture day, you set your coupon cutting scissors on the counter to use the bathroom and come out to find your child lopping off her beautiful golden locks! Total disaster, right? You want to scream! You want to cry! You want to find a time machine so you can go back to five minutes ago when this nightmare began! It is definitely a nightmare, and one that many parents experience in some form.
The other day, I was reading through a parent forum when I read a post from a frazzled mom whose four-year old waited until her mom was distracted to see what would happen if she took her scissors to her hair. The mother was mortified and needed to vent. She wanted to punish her kid, but we all kinda talked her down from that telling her stories of our own mistakes and how we got through them.
I know I am lucky in that none of my kids ever actually cut their own hair…well ok, that is not entirely true. My fifteen year old cut his own hair this past summer, and to be honest, I wanted to cry. He grew his hair out for a couple years, and then after dance recital this past June, he cut it all off himself. He took his ponytail and chopped it off with a pair of scissors. Then he used his dad’s clippers, and he shaved his head. Afterwards, he proceeded to come upstairs late that night and hand me a bag of his hair…in case I wanted a memento. Honestly, I was a bit crushed. I loved his hair. I wish I would have had some warning, but the damage was already done.
While my kids never took scissors to their hair, my youngest deals with a lot of sensory issues. She never cut her hair with scissors, but she did pull it out as a toddler. I wanted her to have long hair in the worst way. I dreamed of putting all the cute bows in her hair, but she wanted none of that. She pulled at her hair because it was causing her distress. We finally gave in and offered to shave the rest of it. She was so happy about it, and we went for a couple years with her hair being about an inch or so long.
To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about it. I grew tired quickly of random strangers commenting on her hair or lack thereof. I longed to be able to braid her hair and put it in ponytails. It made it hard to make her ribbons for her dance costumes work with what was meant for longer hair. However, I wasn’t angry.
While it might disappoint us a bit, it is really just hair. Yes, if your kid has long hair and takes a chunk of it with a pair of scissors, it will probably require a new hairstyle, and it may not look right for a bit. However, it is just hair. It will grow. It is not the end of the world. When kids are little, they are exploring. They don’t understand the consequences of it. While our first instinct may be to yell, cry, or show anger, here is what you should do if you find yourself in a situation like this instead:
How to handle when your kid cuts his own hair (or the hair of a sibling)
- Breathe. Take a breath from deep in your belly. Breathe deep. Hold for a few seconds, and let it out slowly. Repeat a few times.
- Give your child a hug. Your child probably senses your distress and may feel distressed as well.
- Explain how scissors are not toys and that we cannot use them on our hair or toys.
- Assess the situation. Can your stylist blend it in? Do you need to have the hair cut short?
- Remind yourself that it will grow back and that this is a lesson for you both.
- Move on and focus on something else.
Yes, this might be easier said than done, but ultimately, it will grow back. If you need to do so, you can also put the scissors away and go have a cry in the bathroom first. Then go back and deal. It sucks, I know. However, upsetting your child when she may already be regretting it and yelling will really only make the situation worse.
Eventually…years from now, you can look back on this and laugh. Until then, maybe a cute haircut and a hat could make things a bit better.
In my situation, I had to wait it out. Now that she is growing it and won’t let me trim it, I keep offering to give her troll hair (you know, like when you give your kid a high ponytail that looks like Poppy the Troll).
Little kids are sometimes hard. They don’t come with instructions, and they are super curious. Following my tips can help make the situation less painful.
Has your kid ever cut their hair? If so, what is your story, and how did it all turn out? As always, I love hearing from all of you!