I recently saw a picture on social media of a little girl who had a crazy haircut that I thought was cute. I noticed that there were a lot of comments under the picture, so I began to read on. There was a seriously heated debate about this child’s haircut and how it could affect how she would be treated and thought of in school by her teachers and her peers. Some of the comments were rude and even bashing the parents of this little girl for “allowing” her to do something like this. That really got me thinking about why it was a big deal to some people.
I thought back to my days as a child when I didn’t have much or any control over almost anything. I remember being around 7 years old and telling the barber how I wanted to get my hair cut ― yes I did it myself! My parents and I don’t agree on everything and have very different parenting styles, but we definitely agree on this one ― hair grows back, and it is a great way to express one’s self. We were given the power to have our hair however we wanted it, I remember having a ponytail in 6th grade to be like Jonathan Taylor Thomas and then went through a Slim Shady phase in high school with the bleach blonde. I remember the only stipulation was given to my brother when he wanted to shave his head completely was that he had to wear a hat or sunscreen when outdoors so that it wouldn’t burn. He didn’t, it burned, and he regretted it.
I remember when we were much younger and our neighbor always had curly hair and he hated it. It was a hot summer day and my brother and I had just gotten our usual short haircuts and he was saying that he really wanted one. He went to his house and told his mom that he was going to get his hair cut at our house; he failed to mention that it was my brother doing the cutting and not my mom. My brother got out the clippers and gave him a pretty short buzz cut. After he went home and the story was explained, my mom got an outraged phone call and needless to say we didn’t seem him outside for a few weeks. This totally blew my pre-teen mind as to how he could get in trouble for doing what he wanted with his hair!
When Brenn was younger, he wanted a Mohawk, and we were completely OK with it. We got some interesting looks from time to time but he really liked it and thought it was so cool. The only problem was when he didn’t want it spiked up, he kind of resembled a donkey. He later went through a phase when he wanted spikey hair, and now he gets it cut just like daddy.
Lilly on the other hand has always been the wild child who dances to the beat of her own drummer. She wanted color in her hair, so not only did she get a pink streak, but she also talked my wife into getting one. More recently she kept telling us that she wanted rainbow hair. My wife said that we need to wait until after her dance recital and I asked why. So we went ahead and got it done. She was over the moon with excitement! She has told everyone that she sees that she has rainbow hair and she has gotten a lot of compliments and even gotten some comments about her having the coolest mom (I’ll pretend that doesn’t bother me). When she changes her mind and wants a new style, we will be on board again.
I know that we want what is best for our kids and believe that we always know what that is, but keeping kids in a bubble and not allowing any self-expression will likely turn into more rebellion. Kids need to have some control over their life, whether it be their hair or their clothes (to an extent), they need an opportunity to find who they are while dealing with the stressors of school and technology of today. They aren’t walking into a boardroom for a high powered corporate job at this age, and if later on they decide to do so with a Mohawk, so be it! I can be a very strict parent at times, partly because of how I was raised and partly because of my military background, but there are some battles that are going to do a lot more damage than good and I think this is one of those instances. I may keep this same very short military haircut for the rest of my life, but it is my choice. My son will likely keep his hair style very conservative because it suits his personality and that is completely OK as well. Let’s work on not over-parenting our kids and remember that they are just that, kids!
Stay strong out there dads with whatever haircut you want! Be sure to check out my full blog at www.allgoodinthefatherhood.com.