It’s Just Hair!


I’d recently watched Edward Scissorhands and suddenly had the movie seemingly come to life right before my eyes. My five-year-old had walked into my home office – scissors in hand, with remarkably less hair than just moments before.

She’s five but extremely self-sufficient and creative. So, while I spent a few minutes answering some emails on a day she was home, I had all the confidence in the world that she was playing with My Little Ponies or Barbies nicely in her room. But apparently, that adorable imagination we all love decided she needed bangs and a bob that morning.

She was surprised at how different her hair looked. But I asked her about it, and she said she liked it. So, I told her I liked it too. (And now that her bangs have grown out for a couple of weeks, it is honestly adorable.)

We’ve often said she was born with her own sense of style. She always knows what she wants. She puts together the best outfits. I’d love to have her level of confidence. As my mind quickly raced about how to handle the situation, I knew I didn’t want to take anything away from her, reacting to a haircut that would grow back.

So, the biggest thing that helped me keep my cool that morning is remembering that kids have so little control. The things that don’t really matter – like if her pants match her shirt, if she wants to draw a “tattoo” all over her arm, or try on some lipstick barely gets on her actual lips, these things are pretty fair game at our house. So, we added spur-of-the-moment haircuts to our list of things that get a pass (at least this once).

And now – after some Googling and thinking about it some more, I think it’s actually a good thing she cut her hair. And I say this even after taking family photos just days after. Memories, right? While reading on the subject, it’s a positive sign of autonomy. She’s growing up to be her own person with her own set of beliefs and preferences. Preschool-aged kids are learning skills like cutting and pasting while also dressing up and using dramatic play, so it’s a normal stage of development to find an outlet for expressing those new skills.

A few things we did that helped:

  • Talked about why she gave herself a haircut and how she felt afterward.
  • Took her to a professional to even out the look. This gave us the opportunity to talk about how there are people who go to school to learn how to cut hair, and it’s best just to let us know if she’s interested in a haircut, so she can get it done just how she wants it.
  • Bought a ton of cute headbands, bows, and even some hair chalk. These things helped us get through our family photo shoot and have helped her continue to enjoy and explore her new look.
  • Avoided getting angry. What’s done was done, and getting angry would only have hurt her self-confidence, or she would have wanted to hide from us the next time she makes a “mistake.”
  • Concentrated on the positives. For one, short hair on a kid is much less of a debacle to brush in the morning.
  • Let her keep playing with scissors. If your house is like ours, sometimes I can’t find a pair, and sometimes there’s a pile of them in the junk drawer. Taking away scissors is not something we’d probably have monitored well, and I think that would have felt like a punishment or something forbidden.

Before we know it, we’ll be dealing with bigger teenage issues. (Eek.) I mean, it really is just hair…