Monday, June 29, 2009

Where does creative control begin for a young girl?

As I mentioned in a previous post, Shelby my 6yo daughter) got her hair cut last week.  It is a really cute cut on her and she really likes it and so do we.  It was mentioned by Travis in a comment, "But the one thing I don't understand is why parents of small girls won't let them cut it as short as they want. It's only hair and it grows."

Linda also had this to say, "As a mom with two daughters, I kind of have to agree with Travis on this one - especially considering that with both of my girls their hair always grew out really fast. There are so many cute haircuts out there that are short and very easy to take care of but I would be willing to bet that Dad likes Shelby's hair a little long, right? Most dads do!"

This got me to thinking back to when I was a girl and wanted my hair cut and my step-dad wouldn't allow it. He had the old school mentality that little girls should have long hair. He always told us that when we were grown we could do as we please with our hair but as long as we "lived under his roof" we would have long hair.  While Brien said that he didn't want Shelby's hair any shorter than shoulder length, I think that he could probably be swayed pretty easily otherwise.  

I have always been pretty lenient with Shelby on her hair. She has never really wanted it "short" until last week after my Dad took my little sister while he had her (unbeknownst to her mother) and had her hair all cut off. While the style looks really cute on her, I knew that it wouldn't fit Shelby's hair texture so I wanted her to just cut it to her shoulders and told her that we'd talk about getting it cut shorter if she chose to do so.  Her hair is very thick and coarse, so the short, stacked style would be a bouffant on her.  

When we got home and she washed it and we styled it she totally fell in love with her new hair cut. She actually has quite a bit of body and wave to her hair and with it's current length she can get a little bit of  "curl" to it with some styling product.  She decided that for now she didn't want it to be any shorter.  

So, this leaves me to ponder the fact. How do you feel about cutting a girl's hair, namely your daughter's hair. Do you, did you, or will you give your children creative control over their hair styles, color, and cut? At what age do you think this is appropriate?  It's not that I didn't allow Shelby to not get her hair cut short.  I just postponed the inevidable.  I am still up in the air on how I feel about this one since I was once a little girl who wanted her hair short and was not allowed.  I am looking forward to hearing your comments on this subject.

15 comments, add yours here:

deepfriedpicklesandicecream.wordpress.com said...

I dont let them have control over it,mainly because one of them would want it really short.That particular daughter has had hers in a "pixie" due to her own haircut...I constantly was told how cute my little boy was.I got so tired of that!So we have control over it at least until they are 12...thats when they get their own creative control,but,I also will say that it is no different with her apparel.When she is 12 she will choose her own clothes,until then I decide what is appropriate....and I will have veto even then.

Becca said...

Not that I have a daughter, but I think the phased approach is a good idea. It's like showing the way and allowing permission.

I think my mom let me do whatever I wanted as a kid and I had some bad hair...but by Jr. High I think they should have some major say. :)

Sandee said...

I had a boy so I don't know. As a grandma I'd let her have it short. I've much more patience now. Those little things don't seem to matter as much. As a mother I may not have let a daughter have that kind of freedom. Teenager perhaps, but not preteen.

Have a terrific day. Big hug and lotsa lovies. :)

maggie said...

I agree at some point you have to give all the hair control over to the child. But at Shelby's age I wouldn't. compromises. My daughter is now 14. She can do whatever she wants. Luckily the worst thing she does is wear a pony tail EVERYDAY. I would rather her feel freedom to cut her hair or dye her hair or straighten her hair than get tattoos and piercings. She also has freedom to wear whatever she wants. I buy clothes I agree with. If she wants something I don't like then she can buy it with her own money. It's only clothes. Girls especially styles change, girls grow up.

I grew up in a house where if my mom didn't like a bathing suit I bought myself at 17. She would cut it up with a scissors and leave it in my room. Clothes, jeans, hair products would break or disappear. She would admit she did it. I'm not talking obscene outfits either. I won't do that. I believe in giving enough freedom so that the child learns something. Mistakes happen. Bad decision happen. and if you are there you can help them learn from it. Rather than at 18 having your child go hog wild with new found freedom.

wow i guess i had an opinion.

Travis said...

I appreciate the discussion. I see the point of view about not "letting them have whatever they want". And not having kids myself I guess my opinion isn't really worth all that much.

But I think most parents would agree that there are times to pick your battles. I guess you made a good compromise about the length of Shelby's hair. And it looks terrific.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i wish my daughter would cut her hair a bit shorter, like collar length, it's curly and thick. but since she turned 43 she doesn't listen to me any more. drat. ha ha ha

smiles, bee
xxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Desert Songbird said...

I figure my daughter has her entire life to grow her hair, and since (as I mentioned before) she has been able to donate hair twice in her young life, I'd say her hair grows pretty quickly, so why NOT let her get it cut however she wants. Within reason, that is - no Britney shaving. *grin*

Linda said...

It's kind of funny in that I had the exact opposite problem when I was a kid in that my hair always had to be short when I would have liked it a little longer! My parents just didn't like to see it in my face so while my brothers got crew cuts, I usually got a short cut myself - pixie-style I guess you could say.

With my two girls, Amanda has obviously had creative control over her hair for quite awhile now but - and I could be wrong here - I think part of the reason she sometimes gets as wild as she does is because her father strictly forbid she or Jamie to get their hair cut when they were little. He liked to quote the Old Testament verses of a woman's hair being her crown of glory in God's eyes or some such thing so they had to have it long and hated it.

Amanda's hair sounds very much like Shelby's - thick and coarse and darned hard to take care of - and she used to get horrible knots and split-ends in it. Even now when she gets it cut she has to get it thinned, too. Jamie, on the other hand though, has hair that is a lot thinner and takes to shorter cuts better than her sister's but her dad still won't allow it to be in a shorter style and complained up one side and down the other when I cut it when she was out here last summer. She loved it - he hated it and made some very nasty remarks about it, too.

I don't necessarily think that we should be giving over creative control to our kids at an early age - and I think you took the right approach with Shelby, especially considering she loves her hair and it looks adorable - but I think that we, as parents, owe it to our kids to hear them out, listen to what they want, and then tell them why we may not agree with them without resorting to the old "as long as you live in my house you live by my rules" speech.

If we always tell our kids 'no' without a good reason behind it, they're going to want what we've told them they can't have even more whether it be hairstyles, piercings, poor clothing choices, or even choices in friends. If we logically explain it to them and help them to see the pros and cons, I think that teaches them good decision-making and will hopefully be something they can remember for the rest of their lives - which is a lot better than remembering "because I told you no, that's why!"

Whew!

Amazing Gracie said...

My hair was really long when I got married. During my pregnancy I hated having to comb out my hair (we teased it back then - the dark ages). My shoulders would ache for hours afterward. I made some off-the-cuff comment that I wanted to get it cut, and my husband made some over-my-dead-body comment. When he came home the next day, he was greeted by a wife with short hair! He wasn't too happy but unless you're the one dealing it with it, don't be dictating my hair length!
It's hair - it grows back. I don't get the "girls must have long hair," stuff. I have worn my hair long and short and I always felt feminine. As for my daughters? As long as they were in school, they toed the line. I wouldn't have allowed wild colors (or today, there would be no piercings, either!)or goofy haircuts. I was pretty lenient with my youngest, but when I showed up to pick her up from h.s. and she looked like a hooker, I told her, "Fine. But I'm not going anywhere with you." She grew out of it - they usually do. Just support them in the important stuff...
~~~Blessings~~~

Mags said...

I think that when girls are young like Shelby's age it's good to compromise like you did. She doesn't know that her hair type wouldn't work well with certain cuts like you do. Once they get older-teenagers-I would probably let up a little. To me, hair is better than piercings and tattoos that they could illegally get and I'd rather see crazy hair for a while than to see them stuck with something they'd regret later on.

Patois said...

I'm of the mind that if they can care for the hair, they can choose the style. (Her hair looks great!)

Lois Grebowski said...

Compromise is good.

Akelamalu said...

Going from long to short hair can be a bit of a shock for any girl (woman). Doing it in stages is better until it's a length that makes one happy. :)

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Hmm, that's a good question. I originally had their hair long - mainly just because it took so long for them to get hair to begin with, I just couldn't imagine cutting it all off! But now I pretty much let them choose. Abby's is a bob cut just above her shoulders - her hair is really thick and heavy, so I don't like to let it get too long or it's hard to brush and manage. But at the current length, it's starting to end up in her mouth all the time, so we'll probably go just a bit longer after it grows out some.

I gave Hannah the choice at the beginning of summer - either let me put her hair in a ponytail every day or we'd cut it short. At first she wanted to keep it long, but we did cut it short several weeks ago and it looks really cute. Plus there's no more screaming and crying in the mornings when we brush it.

Becca's still at the awkward shaggy-ish stage as her hair's finally starting to really come in. It's been trimmed a few times, but we'll probably let it grow long - at least until she has enough of it really to make a difference. :)

katherine. said...

I'm catching up...

at about 3rd/4th grade I let my girls decide on their own hair...pretty much. The rule was no head shaving...until...

this is a couple years old