Girl Moms: Be Ready For This Rite of Passage
January 1, 2021 I called my daughter down for supper. I could feel the pride emanating from her as she came down the stairs.
I could hear the clacking of her Elsa shoes on the stairs, so I assumed she’d redressed herself as a princess and she was going to make a grand entrance.
The vibe was so strong.
When she stepped into the kitchen and I saw she had the same clothes on I was confused. Then I looked up. And I leapt out of my chair.
“You cut your hair?!”
The bangs! Ouch!!
All I could see were the jagged bangs that were now shorter than a fingernail. I was stunned. No warning, she just decided to cut her hair.
“I wanted to look like you.” Was her prideful response.
I’d recently donated 14” of hair to Angel hair. SO mommy now had short hair. So she wanted short hair.
Supper on hold, my partner and I followed her upstairs so she could show us where and with what she’d done it.
When I saw all the hair on the floor and dresser, I realized she'd cut more than her bangs
Stunned turned into shock when I saw how much hair was on the floor and realized she’d cut a whole lot more than her bangs with her craft scissors.
I was mortified.
She was loving her decision.
Daddy to the rescue....not really in retrospect, we should have left it alone. I would put fix it, in the don't do it column!
January 2021 we were in lockdown, so there was nowhere I could take her to fix her hair. So my partner cut what was left, trying to follow the longest line our daughter had made with her self-cut-do. (He had no hair cutting experience so that didn’t go well).
She hacked away at the back as well as her bangs
By the time the hair was on the floor, my daughter felt quite differently about her decision and was bawling her eyes out in my arms.
She wanted her hair back.
I had to explain it didn’t work that way. She’d have to wait and it would grow back.
Time. A difficult concept for a 4 year old. And a hard mom moment, I couldn’t fix it. Hard lesson learned, and a relatable feeling.
She didn't like her hair, and I was still riding the stunned-emotional coaster
Of course as this was happening over the course of the evening I was sharing pictures on social media with friends and family. The comments were pouring in. The shock, the jokes, the confessions.
NO ONE TALKS ABOUT THIS.
I didn’t know it was common.
I wasn’t prepared!
All my friends and family with daughters had their own stories about self-cut hair shockers. It happens a lot!
I decided to write this blog post because parents don’t talk about this enough. And I’d like to prepare you and arm you with some helpful resources in case this happens to you.
To make her feel better we both wore our toques inside
If (but most likely when) your child cuts their own hair, a sibling's, or a dolls hair I want you to know it’s normal.
According to Julie Romanowski, “Preschool-aged children are learning skills like cutting and pasting, as well as dress-up and dramatic play. Seeking a creative outlet for this new-found knowledge is a normal stage of development.”
According to Today’s Parent, how you deal with your aspiring stylist should depend on the reasons for the behaviour. Figure out if you child is acting out or trying to express themselves.
Your child will either be pleased or disappointed with the results, and won’t mind discussing the new style. If all signs point to a need for self expression offer better ways to be creative—such as crafts, dress-up, writing a song or story, dancing in front of a mirror or face-painting. And don’t forget to let your tot know that only a hairdresser, or a parent is allowed to cut your hair.
Attention Seeking & Control:
If your child is trying to get your attention, Romanowski recommends you try not to react with anger—this will just reward the actions. “Explain that you don’t like what she’s done and that there will be consequences,” Romanowski says. “For example, put away the scissors and tell her that she’ll be supervised when she wants to use them.”
This could also be a need for control. According to developmental psychologist Marti Erickson “Young children also just really love to show that they can do everything on their own and they have kind of self-aggrandized notions of their competence. Certainly there is an issue of control in this, as there is in so many things that kids do at that age.”
So What Should You do and What Shouldn't You Do?
Unless you're a hairdresser, don't try to fix it yourself. We learned that the hard way!
Scary Mommy has a good article on the do’s and don’ts if you find yourself in a self-cut situation.
And if you’d like to learn more about age appropriate consequences for behaviours, An Age-by-Age Guide to Setting Discipline Consequences for Kids, is a good resource to start from.
Has This Happened To You?
I'd love to hear about it in the comments.
Need a Laugh?
Bored Panda has complied some great pics of kids who have cut their own hair. (great pics)
It’s Memory GOLD!
Take lots of pics and make sure they resurface on your child’s wedding day or at their baby shower. Th hardest parental jolts turn into memory gold – it just might take a bit of time to get over the shock.
Nancy Skuce is the Owner of HEA Maternity and the mom of 2 under 2. Her two are now 5 and 7. She’s the mom of a warm-hearted exceptional needs child and an adventurous neurotypical child that keeps her on her toes!