While kids need boundaries and, as parents, we usually set the rules, one mum believes that there are moments when kids can also make their own choices. However, she reached out on Reddit, wondering if she was being ridiculous by allowing her three-year-old son to have long hair because he likes it, despite her own mother’s demands to take charge and cut it off.
Picking your battles
The mum tells how her son is a well-behaved three-year-old, who is great with his sister and generally does what he’s told. But, like most little kids, he enjoys pushing boundaries every now then. She and her husband are clearly in charge; however, sometimes they feel that their son shouldn’t always be forced to do something that he doesn’t want to do.
“My husband and I fully believe that we are the parents and we make the rules, he goes to bed when we say, eats when we say, bathes when we say,” she says. “We also want him to know that HE has choices.”
One of the things they generally leave up to their son, is his hair. “He’s had it cut a few times but right now he’s liking it ‘shaggy,’” she says. “He literally looks in the mirror, pushes his hair to the side, and says, ‘My hair looks so good.'”
Get a haircut!
However, the pressure from her own mother to cut off her son’s lovely long hair is enormous. And when the mum tries to explain that her son doesn’t want to cut it, her mother tells her, “You are the parent. You need to tell him that you are in charge, not him.”
While the boy’s mother doesn’t take any notice, she has moments of doubt about whether or not it’s worth letting him choose some things in life. “He’s a human being and will have choices every day in life!” she says. “Allowing him to CHOOSE when he gets a haircut seems so trivial, but I don’t want to fight him and make him cry just because his hair is getting long.”
Am I crazy?
The boy’s mother put the question out to Reddit readers, asking if perhaps she’s being too sensitive about this. “Should I just make him get it cut even though he doesn’t want to? My gut says no but my mom keeps saying yes.”
Comments of support flooded in, saying how she should stick to what she believes and that there’s no harm in letting her son choose his hairstyle. “I think you are doing the right thing,” says one reader. “Pick your battles, he’s only small. What great photos he will have when he’s a grown up to look back on.”
Another says, “It’s not harming him or anybody else. It’s totally fine to include him in his haircut decisions.”
Meanwhile, another goes into more detail about the sorts of rules she would set, such as hair being washed and taken care of, pulled back out of eyes, kept out of the way of safety equipment such as helmets or using sun cream if you shave your head. “Otherwise, letting children make choices and express their bodily autonomy is a huge deal and can have an incredible and long-lasting impact on their confidence and sense of identity,” she says.
One final comment wraps it up completely: “I love this. You are clearly setting strong parenting boundaries but are letting him have some autonomy over his body. Sounds like a nice balance.”
At the end of the day, it’s just hair, it’s not putting him in danger and it can be cut when he’s ready. And best of all, choosing his own hair-do is a relatively easy way to allow him a little control in his life.
Besides, next thing he’ll be wanting to shave it off, and then his grandmother will probably tell him to grow it!