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I'm not sure if I need French advice, or just "how not
to mess up your kid" advice. Either way, please advise. I have a beautiful
8-year-old daughter who has very long, curly hair. We've always just barely
trimmed her hair and let it grow, and it is gorgeous. Now that she's older,
however, she's been asking to get her hair cut. She sees other friends with
short hair and thinks she wants to try it. I'm having an unnatural negative
reaction to this request, even though I know hair and clothes should not be a
battle you pick with a child.
So far I've nodded and smiled, and simply not taken her to
the beauty shop. But I know this avoidance can only go on for so long. The kid
is going to need some kind of cut before school starts, or she just starts
looking quite raggedy. I just love the way her hair looks now, and worry that a
shorter 'do might not be as pretty. And I don't know why I'm even worrying.
This is crazy, right?
Not necessarily French, however, is
what I’m about to say (it happens): Let the kid cut her hair!
I am sure that a lot of your “negative
reaction” comes from the parental instinct to want to protect your child, but
what you think is pretty might not be—in fact probably isn’t—the same as
your daughter’s estimation. This difference in opinion, I’m afraid, is one you’re
going to have to get used to, and not just about hair. Or, maybe your daughter isn’t even concerned
with being pretty. If that’s the case,
consider yourself very lucky. There will
be plenty of time for her to obsess about her looks in the future.
I worried that her whole sense of worth would be wrapped up in her hair.
My own daughter had long, blond hair
when she was 7. It was beautiful,
and I hated it. People would approach
her all the time and pet her head, saying how gorgeous she was. I worried that
her whole sense of worth would be wrapped up in her hair. When she hit a tomboy
phase and asked to have it all chopped off, I raced her to the salon before she
could change her mind. She ended up
looking kind of like Jean Seberg in Breathless. Not the effect I
was going for, but dang I loved that 'do. Also, I discovered how great my girl looks with a pixie cut—good to file
away for those awkward teen years. You
might end up being pleasantly surprised. If you let her go for it and the result is truly dreadful (I recognize
that curly hair can be tricky), you will know, have photographic evidence and
will be able to steer your girl away from an adolescent calamity when it’s
really going to count.
Now that my daughter’s long hair is
back, I’d love to really channel my inner French mom and say something like,
“We are getting your hair cut because I said we are.” But I’m not quite that French. However, I do, rather frequently, suggest
that she go back for a shearing. This probably comes from a lame relationship I
had with my own hair as a kid. Namely, I
was unhealthily attached to it and deeply terrified of getting the slightest
trim. I remember nervously marveling at
my siblings who would so nonchalantly go to Supercuts; wishing I had the
courage to do the same.
From the age of 7 to 33,
I had long hair. The year I had my
second baby and I felt like I had nothing left to lose, I finally went short. It
was a Jean Seberg cut, now that I think about it. Turns out, I look pretty good with short
hair. Wish I’d known that earlier ...