or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › 13 year old son and hair!!!!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

13 year old son and hair!!!!!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm new here and signed up looking for some advice. My now 13 year old son has been growing his hair for the last 3 years or so and its pretty much shoulder length. I've never really had a problem with this, so long as he keeps it clean and not too unruly and he's been okay about that.

About a week ago, out of the blue, he asked me about whether I would let him get a perm. I was a bit surprised and wondered where he had got that idea from. He said he just wondered what his hair would look like wavier and he liked the look on other people, including I think a girl he knows/likes. I told him that I'd think about it and wanted him to think about it a bit more, but if he still wanted it when he is next due for a trim, we could discuss with my stylist then.

Earlier today though I found "hidden" in his closet some hair accessories, such as a claw clip, scrunchy, barettes, bobby pins, a curling iron and even a clip on ponytail. It looks like DS has been playing hair, girlish hair at that.

Is the perm just an extension of this I wonder? What should I do about it? Confront him with the bag or ignore it. And I guess at the heart of my concern, is this perhaps leading to or hinting of other "cross gender" activities.

Has anyone experienced this, or got any advice.

Thanks

Claire
post #2 of 25
why confront him?

What are you worried about?

It is his hair, at 13/14 people try to find their identities. usually through hair/clothes.


It is his hair, it will grow back. As for the perm thing, I wouldn't have an issue with it, let him do what he wants, however, I would mandate that it be done professionally and anything costing that much that he wants to do (none permanant), should come out of his own earnings/pocket.


That will really define as to weather or not he REALLY wants it done, if he is willing to sacrifice the 30-40 bucks.


But as for hair... eh, it grows back. Just get anything major like dieing colors or perms professionally so they don't fry their own hair.


just an opinion.
post #3 of 25
My kids have had dread locks, blue hair, blue and red hair, short, long.....
I have always looked thought that is their hair to do as they please.

Let him be who he is, hair and all!
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi Yoshua

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoshua
why confront him?

What are you worried about?

It is his hair, at 13/14 people try to find their identities. usually through hair/clothes.
I wasn't really worried about the perm when he asked me, just surprised. But it's more finding these other things (especially for some reason the clip on ponytail) that bothers me most. I guess just because they hint at him wanting to experiment with a feminine hair look maybe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoshua
It is his hair, it will grow back. As for the perm thing, I wouldn't have an issue with it, let him do what he wants, however, I would mandate that it be done professionally and anything costing that much that he wants to do (none permanant), should come out of his own earnings/pocket.


That will really define as to weather or not he REALLY wants it done, if he is willing to sacrifice the 30-40 bucks.


But as for hair... eh, it grows back. Just get anything major like dieing colors or perms professionally so they don't fry their own hair.


just an opinion.
I agree with the perm being done professionally and I would insist on that. My stylist (she does all of our hair) is very good and she could definately do it. I just wasn't sure whether to encourage it now or not.

Claire
post #5 of 25
I understand you concern. I have younger children, but saw your post and had to reply. My boys are still at the age I bet some teen moms long for again age 7 and 4.

I would also be concerned about the clip on pony tail more than the scrunci. Guys with longer hair do wear it up in pony tail when they need it out of their way usually. But if this was 'hidden' he didn't want you to know about it.

My dh and I are stricter than most here on MDC (I think). And I know my dh's ability to handle the situation you have would not be the right way to go about it -- he would I can imagine make a confrontation, shave his head and take the hair things away. No son of his will be a cross dresser or gay.

I think the situation needs to be handled very delicately or the back fire could be deterimental to your son and to the relationship you have with each other. Which is why I guess you are here.

I see a few situations (not knowing details of your life or his, I'm speculating here) --
1) He is experiementing with gender roles. He may feel more feminine than masculine.
2) His girlfriend plays with his long hair and the hair accessories came from her.
3) He likes long hair, he likes styling it, he has style visions, the making of a future hair stylist (both male and female styles, but has to try the female ones out on himself b/c he is too shy to ask a girl to let him do her hair). I admit this one is out there.
4) He is fully aware that he feels different than other boys and is not experimenting with gender roles, he already knows.

I do think parents have a right to search their child's room. I do not think a parent should read a diary or open a locked box unless behavior of the child warrents the need (possible drug or alcohol use, depression and fear of suicide, radical change in behavior etc the big indicators of something is wrong). I am assuming the closet was not necessarily a search but likely putting his things away for him and you came across them. But I would encourage you to look a little more around his room for more clues.

Have you found any indications that he is experimenting with gender roles?

Are your clothes not where you left them? Are there girl clothes in his room somewhere? There are grown men living with wives and children who after then admit to themselves what's going on, will admit to wearing their mother's shoes and clothes when they were boys. And their wives will then remember a time when her stuff was out of place or stretched out or missing.

Since he obivously didn't want you to find the hair accessories, confronting him on them would not be my suggestion to you. If he wants to see what his hair would look like wavy, offer to roll it for him on some hot rollers. Do you have long hair? Have him roll yours. Maybe actively doing hair together might get him to open up to talk with you about what is going on in his head.

He might just really like hair right now. I know a kid (well not anymore a kid), who wanted to be like his older brother who's my age. In High School the older brother had long hair played the guitar and had a rock band, still does and is making it in LA. The parents let the younger brother grow his hair out, I thought he was a girl for the longest time. He is now a drummer with a shaved head in an up and coming band, making it here on the east coast, Yale graduate of all things.

Bottom line you never can tell what's going on in their heads unless they tell you. And speculating will drive you nuts. The main thing is to keep those lines of communication open.
post #6 of 25
Great reply electra375. I completely agree!
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbmom
Hi Yoshua



I wasn't really worried about the perm when he asked me, just surprised. But it's more finding these other things (especially for some reason the clip on ponytail) that bothers me most. I guess just because they hint at him wanting to experiment with a feminine hair look maybe.



I agree with the perm being done professionally and I would insist on that. My stylist (she does all of our hair) is very good and she could definately do it. I just wasn't sure whether to encourage it now or not.

Claire

Feminine hair styles are really a cultural thing. If you take a look at the major trends for Hair in the youth of asia, you would think alot of it is 'feminine' I wouldnt get stuck in the rut of labeling anything that has to do with my kids personally.

If they like it, then the label is 'that is what my kid would do' if not, then it's not.

Glad to hear you would mandate a professional though. Wanna get it through to them early that it is important to goto a professional when you are working with chemicals of any sort.


As for the 'crimping' Not that I admit it often, when i was a teenager i would dip into my moms make up supplies as well as hair products.

Nothing I did was 'feminine' it was just 'me'.

There was even one time I shaved my head like an old man, long on the sides and bald on the top. My mom thought I was a freak, so did everyone at school. it was 'very' out of character for what I would have normally done, but I was like 'eh, I wanna see peoples faces'

it was worth it :0)
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the really thoughtful reply Electra375. That has given me a lot to think about. Yes, it was the clip on pony that in many ways bothered me most.

No, I wasn't snooping, just putting laundry away and saw the hair sticking out of a bag stuffed back in the corner after I dropped something. Now though I admit to fighting the urge to do a full blown room inspection tonight and will do it tomorrow although I am feeling very nervous about what I might find and what my own attititudes will be. So much for an open minded mom I am thinking to myself right now.

DH is not an issue for us, we are separated. But I am not sure what my DD who is 15 will think.

I am going to resist discussing this at all with my DS until tomorrow, so I know what I mght yet find. If it's just the hair, then I'll play along for now. Maybe, as you suggested Electra, just offer to do something temporary with his hair before the salon visit. Yes, my own hair is shoulder length, and DD's is actually mid back so we are a long hair loving family. I am just not yet sure whether I should be encouraging or discouraging something here, but maybe need to what it is first.

Thanks for the advice so far.

Claire
post #9 of 25
I would definitely resist the urge to talk to your ds about this just yet. He would feel violated to know you found something in his room, I think, even though it was while innocently putting his things away. And that could close the communication for a long time.

I don't think there is any easy answer for bringing up a topic that he wants hidden from you, unless he decides to tell you himself. And probing (as my motehr did) is so obvious a lot of times.
post #10 of 25
I am wondering have you ever asked him what he wants to be when he gets older. He may be toying with the idea of being a stylist. It could be a creative outlet for him or he may not even know it was there either way just open the door for communication and let him walk through it. i wouldn't bring it up.
post #11 of 25
Be very gentle. Yes, offer to curl his hair with your rollers or curling iron. As if you didn't know he has already done this in his room! And then let him get the perm if he still wants it. Kids are so vulnerable at that age and so concerned about this self-image and also what others think. They can get very depressed and do things like drugs or self-harm if they feel misunderstood or disrespected. Which makes me fear for the kids of Electra's husband!

I just have to disagree about only going to a salon for hair-dos. We cut and color our own family in this house. Saves money and it's fun! I have had home perms too back in the 80s. We've never had any disasters when we just follow the directions.

My kids are dds 20, 18 and ds14. They have all had wild colors and cuts. Also piercings: ears, cartilege, lip, tongue and nose.
post #12 of 25
Do you really need to search his room? If he finds out, it will be a serious breech of trust. I think it would be better to talk to him first, and hold off on a search. He may put your fears to reast with just the talk, and then you won't have to go through his room. If you feel that he's being dishonest or dodging your questions, then I suppose a search would be in order for your own peace of mind.
post #13 of 25
encourage or discourage - he will be who he is no matter what. Just talk to him and try to be understanding no matter what he may reveal to you. He may just say that he wants to be the next great stylist!
post #14 of 25
I agree with first offering to curl his hair so he can try out waves/curls without making anything permanent. (Perms seem to take so LONG to grow out on long hair.)

I'd also like to point out that there just aren't that many "masculine" hair do-dads out there. There aren't boyish barrettes, or guy scrunchies (well, a few). It can be really hard to find hair accessories and tools that aren't feminine. But that doesn't mean that male hair needs them any less than female hair.

My DH wore a braid for several years, and tried in vain to find something "manly" to hold it at the bottom. We ended up using plain black pony-O's. And a year after he cut his braid off, we found a terrific leather hair wrap thingy at a Renaissance festival. But I digress....

I would not search his room over this. Like the previous poster said, possible drug use or sudden change in behaviour - that type of thing might warrant a search. But a curling iron and hair accessories? Not worth the damage that might occur to your relationship.

Maybe let him play with and style YOUR hair? Or his sister's? Have a hair styling party at home, where you all try out different accessories, styles, braids, etc.
post #15 of 25
Hugs to you, it sounds like you are struggling! In our house the thought is that anyone can do anything to their appearance that isn't permanent, and though the name is "permanent", it is just temporary. Our rule for piercings, tattoos, etc is that they need to wait for permanent decisions until they are 18. I will pay for and do the actual coloring of purple hair, but I won't pay for or be too thrilled with or sign consent for a purple Barney tattoo (like was requested many many years ago...of course, they thank me now!)

I am wondering if your deeper question is related to the comment about cross gender activities? Maybe I didn't read through carefully enough, but I haven't really noticed the gay question addressed. When you say that in your heart of hearts you are concerned that perhaps this hair stuff is leading to other cross gender activities, what does that mean?

Are you concerned because you don't want him to be alone while going through a difficult time?
Are you concerned because you would hope to educate him about the difficulties of being gay?
Are you concerned because you want him to be open with you for this, and other, questions concerns, etc.

I would be very interested in what your deeper question is, and I think you could get a lot of info from other posters if you could be a little more specific about why you are concerned.

Good luck to you!
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I did hold off from doing the room search today. Well, I did a quick visual check but nothing seemed out of order, but I didn't do a full snoop.

Someone asked me if any of my clothes have been moved etc. Truth is, I don't know because DD takes them all the time and considers my wardrobe an extension of her own. I suspect not, but don't know for sure.

To answer SuccessTogether's questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuccessTogether
Are you concerned because you don't want him to be alone while going through a difficult time?
Are you concerned because you would hope to educate him about the difficulties of being gay?
Are you concerned because you want him to be open with you for this, and other, questions concerns, etc.
Yes, Yes and Yes. In truth I am struggling too with what I would think about it all if he did want to cross dress or even change his gender. I just don't know how I feel about that right now and am more hoping it isn't the issue.

I understand the comments about him maybe wanting to be a stylist, but I am protecting myself that this is just wishful thinking. I don't understand why maybe he didn't approach me or DD to do our hair in that case and instead want to play with his own.

What I am thinking right now is letting DD go to a movie with a friend this Saturday and then have some alone and hair time with DS. Using some hot rollers or a curling iron, just play around with his hair, try and let him be open with me and see what happens.

The question in my mind is... should I see how he reacts to more feminine styles to gauge his reaction, or should I just play it straight?

Claire
post #17 of 25
Play it straight. I am not a mother of a teen. But I am a mother of a son who loves "girl" things. I'd say 75% of the day, my son is running around in dresses, tights, mary janes, whatever... it's just who he is. I love who he is. I adore who he is. And if he's in a dress or overalls, it makes no difference to me.

You love your son dearly and I see it in your post. I know you want what's best for him. And I believe what is best for him is for his mom to accept him, no matter what he is/chooses to do/be....

Underneath all the accessories, hair, clothes, he's still your son. Support him. Don't live on tenterhooks wondering if he is gay, wants to change his sex, crossdress, whatever. Really. The most important thing you can do for him right at this second is to love him as madly as you did the day he was born and every day thereafter.

If he is thinking about any of the things you are concerned about, they aren't going to change who he is inside.

And, in the end, if he is gay or transsexual, the most important thing in the world is your acceptance of it. It's a scary thing.... but, again, it doesn't change who he is.

He's your son.
post #18 of 25
:

It is obvious that you love your ds. I agree that if you have some alone time with him and spend it curling his hair, it could open him up, because he would perhaps feel you are comfortable with it.
post #19 of 25
I would also just like to point out that liking to dress like a member of the opposite sex does not make you "gay" or transgendered. It can mean you are a crossdresser, and believe me, there are plenty of those around.

I hope everything is working out with your son. He is lucky to have a thoughtful and loving mama like yourself. If he does discover that his feelings toward himself are not those which are commonly accepted by our present society (if he is gay, transgendered, or a cross dresser), then he is going to have a tougher row to hoe than most, and it is all the more important that he has a mama that he can feel comfortable with and whom he can rely upon.
post #20 of 25
I wouldn't be too worried about the hair stuff.

the long hair and perm are all the rage right now. big fluffy hair. the more shaggy the better. I have also seen lots of masculine men wearing thier hair with clip and scrunchies (big fluffy as well as dreads must be out of your way when you are doing mechanic work. we require our employees to pull long hair back for saftey and at least one of them wore the same scrunchie as me). also if he is growing his hair out the clip on pony may have just been a "how long can I go" sort of experiment". or "what would I look like in a pony tail". lots and lots of guys wear ponytails.

if there are other things concerning you is there a way to bring this up in a neutral way? perhaps just get his opinion on these things?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Preteens and Teens
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › 13 year old son and hair!!!!!