When our kids are small, we have the luxury of making so many choices for them, especially when it comes to their haircut. When they’re very young, kids just go with the flow, which is why you don’t see many toddlers asking for the Bieber. But as children age, they want more of a say in their appearance. Since hair is our biggest accessory, they develop definite opinions on how they want to wear their hair.
I see a lot of negotiations going on in my salons. The kid wants a certain style, but mom is concerned about how it will look, how hard it will be to maintain and what the grandparents are going to say.
I see a lot of girls develop what I call The Barbie Syndrome around age 7. The girls want their hair as long as possible. The moms envision the added detangling time every morning and lobby for a shorter, more manageable style.
Or boys decide they want a buzz cut for summer and their parents are completely against it. This exact thing happened with my boys a couple of years ago. I refused their buzz cut requests before we sent them to summer camp, but on visiting day, I discovered that they’d gone ahead and gotten the buzz cuts at camp! I would’ve been angry on principle, except that they actually looked amazing and they were so much more comfortable without all that hair! What an interesting lesson for me-I learned that I’m not always right, and now I give them more leeway when haircut time rolls around. After all, it is their hair!
That’s not to say that we parents should always give kids the final choice of hair style. But we should give them a say in the decision and negotiate so that they’ll be happy with the final result. Of course, the child’s age is an important factor, both in how much choice they should have in choosing a hairstyle, and in how the style will look on them. People may wonder if a 16 year old with a mohawk has a bad attitude to go with the punk hairdo, but the same people will think that an 11 year old with a mohawk is cute and toddler with a mohawk is downright adorable!
One of the reasons I wrote my book is that grooming is an important part of self esteem. Kids should feel good about how they look and I wanted them to be able to feel good about their hair from an early age. And letting them use their hair to express their individuality is a big part of that.