Would it be wrong of me to force dd (7) to cut her hair? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 05-05-2012, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter has special needs, including sensory issues. Washing and brushing her hair is a nightmare. Usually my mom does it, but sometimes she is not available. Trying to teach dd how to care for her own hair has just not worked out well. I don't think she is ready yet. She wore pigtails until recently so that made things easy. But now she is embarrassed to have her hair in pigtails, so we can't do that anymore.

 

Her hair is long and thick. She LOVES it. When I bring up a hair cut she refuses and looks at me like I have beaten her or something. But this hair is just too much for us to handle. I'm not talking about a pixie cut or anything here. Maybe even just a lot of layers to thin the hair out or something (and she can keep the length). But dd is not buying it and does not want the hair cut. At all.

 

Would it be wrong of me to force her to get it cut? Should I respect her wishes at this age? I'm really torn on this one and not sure what to do. Thanks.


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#2 of 28 Old 05-05-2012, 03:12 PM
 
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That's tricky.  Would she be ok with you or someone else she trusts cutting a little bit off the ends?  Maybe if she could get acclimated to how a haircut works, she'd be more accepting of a more dramatic change later on.

 

In the meantime, could you braid it for her?  That would make for easier maintenance, and not be as childish as pigtails.


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#3 of 28 Old 05-05-2012, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anything that involves a hair tie, she just pulls out while she is at school.  So wearing it down is all she will do right now (we had a bully situation at her school that caused this). 

 

She knows what a trim is, and is not going for it lol.  If any hair is going to get cut on this kid...it will be because I dragged her there kicking and screaming.  Which doesn't feel very AP of me.  Yet this hair of hers is driving us all crazy.

 

Seems like such a silly dilemma in the grand scheme of things.  But I am really torn here.  It's an every day issue right now. 


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#4 of 28 Old 05-05-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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Nothing wrong with it at all IMO.  It's not just affecting her as you have so much responsibility for care, and at a certain point it is a hygiene issue.  She could potentially be included in the decision if she can face choosing between a haircut or wearing it up (in a different way like a braid) but with no "keeping it the way it is now" option available.


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#5 of 28 Old 05-05-2012, 04:28 PM
 
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As the parent of 2 kids with hair that tends towards rats nest, I hear you!!!  My son actually had dreads for a year from not brushing ...

 

I have heard a silk or satin pillow case makes hair less likely to tangle.

 

A really good conditioner can help as well.

 

Play around with brushes.  Different brushes work better with different hair.

 

At the moment I am trying to stay on top brushing my youngest hair (she is 9) or supervising her brushing it, daily.  If we do it daily, it does not get too bad.  I usually tell her I will give it a certain amount of brushes - say 10.  I do start and the ends and try to be gentle.  It is not pleasant, but I figure if she knows how long it is going to last, she can prepare herself better and know it will not go on forever.  She knows she has the option of a hair cut if she ever decides enough is enough.  

 

Personally, I would not cut someones hair without consent.  My mother and aunt pressured me into a haircut I did not want around 9 and it felt a bit like an abuse of power.  YMMV.

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#6 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 06:46 AM
 
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I'm not clear on if she doesn't like her hair brushed and washed, or what the exact problem is. But can you give her the choice of getting it shortened (show her some shorter styles, let her decide how much shorter, etc), or else going along with you washing it and brushing it and so forth, while at the same time keep working with her on learning small steps to take care of it herself. Maybe you could convince her to shorten it just an inch or two if it's really long, letting her know that it will be easier to wash, brush, etc. Tell her that shorter hair will also be cooler in the hot summer weather that is just starting now. I wouldn't go with layers - it will just look/become more messy and harder to keep in control. I also wouldn't force a cut on her. Keep trying to convince her that even a little shorter is better. Do you know anyone else who could also talk with her about it. Maybe if she hears it from more than one person she might consider it more.

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#7 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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Would she understand what Locks of Love is? Maybe she would like the idea of donating it.
 

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#8 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry if I was not clear. The problem is that she hates having her hair brushed, combed, and washed.  It's a daily argument/struggle.  And I myself am not that great at doing other peoples hair, so that doesn't help much.  I just now asked her about cutting her hair and she started sobbing.  I am fed up with the daily arguments over hair, yet I don't want to traumatize her by cutting it against her will.  I am really lost here.

 

And explaining things to her when it comes to this just gets me nowhere.  She is being unreasonable in all ways.  So it's just a decision that I need to make one way or the other for her.


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#9 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 10:20 AM
 
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My daughter is much younger then yours, almost 4. This used to be a problem for us too. The options everyday are now "If you want long hair like in Tangled (she loves that movie) you must take care of it which includes letting Mommy wash, brush and get it out of your eyes OR we can go get a hair cut today." I say this in a friendly but matter of fact way. I have found the very not-organic leave in conditioner stuff really helps with making brushing out tangles a lot easier. 


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#10 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 10:45 AM
 
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Both of my kids have had long and short hair.  They have thick wavy to curly hair depending on humidity, and both yell/scream/cry on occasion.   I tell them, if they want to have long hair, it has to be brushed once a day and after washing. It hurts more to brush if it is neglected.  We found the conditioners with Argan oil in it really helps with thick tangled hair.  I leave a small amount of conditioner in their hair after the bath, so it is silky and easier to pull a brush through.  Also a mister with water in it can help.  I also prefer my paddle brush to their kid style brushes to get through their hair with minimal resistance.  

 

Is there an issue with Op's dd's hair being worn down?  My dd generally does not wear her hair pulled back and ds never would.  I think it feels like it is pulling from the weight or being too tight.  

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#11 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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We were having this issue with Jet and my final solution was to take out a brush and the scissors and give him a choice- either cooperate with brushing or I could cut it shorter. He picked brush about 3 days in a row then scissors.  he was really happy with it short, but then wanted to grow it long again. It would probably be even easier if all you want to do is trim some length off. 

 

With the twins I have trimmed their hair in their sleep, but I imagine 7 is a bit old to be able to pull that off. ;-)


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#12 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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Maybe find some pictures of little girls with short hair and talk about how CUTE AND ADORABLE they are!  Bribe her with the promise of new sparkly hair clips after her hair cut.


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#13 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 01:09 PM
 
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I have to say, that for me, I do not feel that this is a violation. I have had a lot of problems with DD1 and her hair which is very curly and tough to brush. There is a learning curve with hair issues, in  taking responsibility for your own hygiene and learning the skills to do it - but until then, you are the mother who has responsibility for the hair, and if so, you have a say in it. I also get the sensory issues as my DD1 has them also, she is almost 10 and screams when I brush her hair (which I should not have to do).

 

I think the idea that either she takes care of her hair (or calmly allows you to do it), or you will give her a haircut she can take care of is appropriate. This is the case with people of all ages and hair.   I think respecting her wishes is appropriate when she can take responsibility for her own hygiene. You could try explaining that you are working on the issues that makes it hard for her to take care of her hair, and when that is resolved, she can grow it out again.You could even draw a flow chart that demonstrates all the choices she gets to make (will you brush your hair, will you let me brush it without screaming, will you wear it up, will you wear it in braids), and their results. It might help her to see which roads lead to keeping her hair. You can also present it like a rule of nature like gravity, "this is how it works, I wish it were different", instead of just mean old mom.

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#14 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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My vote is to have it trimmed against her will. Hair that is healthy and trimmed is FAR easier to care for than hair that is not. Hair that isn't cared for causes children to look tacky, which is especially problematic for kids who have special needs or for families that have drawn attention from CPS.

 

I agree with the principle that children should have a certain amount of atonony over how they look, but there is a line. One sad fight over a hair cut to ease the day to day hair issues for 2 months is, IMHO, worth it. 
 


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#15 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 02:52 PM
 
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There is a brush called the tangle teaser that i got at Sallys for like $10.  My 4 and 8 year old can use it themselves.  This has cut down on a ton of fights.  I would try a combo of using this brush for her to do it herself and also maybe use dry shampoo sometimes and only wash her hair once a week?

 

I dont know if she would go for it my 8 y/o with sensory issues loved having her hair put in cornrows and keeping it that way for a few weeks at a time with just a little tto and rinse once a week...
 

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#16 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses everyone.  It helped me decide to get her hair cut soon.  There were some great ideas here (locks of love, showing her pictures, having her wear a braid, having her do it herself, etc), but I just know that none of that is going to work on this kid.  We just need to cut it.  Maybe by the time it grows out again, she will be old enough to care for it. 

 

Now I get to deal with the tears and attitude about having it cut.  She will probably sulk about it for months.  Heavy sigh.


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#17 of 28 Old 05-06-2012, 03:52 PM
 
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I wonder if you did it in stages if it might soften the blow a little?

 

Like start with bangs (yours are adorable, btw), let her get used to that look for a week, and maybe do the rest of the cut a week later?

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#18 of 28 Old 05-07-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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I would not cut it with force. My 6yo has sensory issues as well as other things and FREAKS when his hair is cute. His hair has been cut 2x in almost 4 years. The first was before we knew he had SPD and I literally held him down and buzzed him. He FREAKED and broke out in hives wherever his OWN hair touched his body. It was AWEFUL! The second time was a little over a year ago and HE asked for it. I was buzzing his brother and he was watching intently. I asked if he wanted me to do him and he was hesitant but I showed him how the clippers would not hurt. I put them on my hand and arm to show him how it felt and then he held out his arm so I could place the clippers on him. He was still hesitant so we did say if he did it we would get him a DS game he has been wanting! It worked! He wanted me to do it. I was sooooo scared because it was long and I was worried if I hit a snag he would FLIP and we would have to use force. He did great. We got about 75% done and he needed a break but we were able to get him back and finish it up. He has VERY VERY thick hair and gets SOOOOO hot but does NOT want it cut again. He will let me wash it but brushing is rare. We just use a lot of conditioner and go from there. I would love him to let me buzz him again but it is not worth it. He deals with enough anxiety and everything else it is not worth it to add something else to his plate. 

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#19 of 28 Old 05-07-2012, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Linda had a good point though about CPS.  We do have CPS in our lives and my daughter does look messy and tacky right now.  So I think cutting it needs to happen.  She will probably hate me for it, but my gut instinct says that it's the right thing to do for now.  I do appreciate all the responses and help I got with this question though.  Thanks everyone. :)


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#20 of 28 Old 05-07-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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Linda had a good point though about CPS.  We do have CPS in our lives and my daughter does look messy and tacky right now.  So I think cutting it needs to happen.  She will probably hate me for it, but my gut instinct says that it's the right thing to do for now.  I do appreciate all the responses and help I got with this question though.  Thanks everyone. :)

That is a game changer.  How do you feel about bribing or rewards?

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#21 of 28 Old 05-07-2012, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love to bribe or reward her for doing this (I would give her just about anything at this point to cut the darn hair off).  The problem is that there is nothing that she wants more than to keep her hair.  So there is really nothing that I can bribe her with.  I think I am doomed to have her resent me over this for a long time.  Heavy sigh.


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#22 of 28 Old 05-07-2012, 10:38 AM
 
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I resorted to threatening dd -- either you brush your hair daily and keep it so that looks OK, or I will cut it. I only had to chase her through the house with the scissors in one hand and a hair brush in the other once!

 

Dd is 7, and it wasn't really until then that she could start to take care of it herself. She learned to braid about 6 months ago and that made a huge difference. She was then motivated to get the tangles out because she wanted to braid her hair. She can only do pig tails, but she will let me do a single braid down the back sometimes. But I'll admit that it looks unkempt a lot, even if she brushes it daily and wears a braid to bed. (The braid to bed helps a ton and her hair is much worse if she doesn't do that.) I'd rather have her wear it pulled back, but she doesn't like it. For grand days and state occasions I do ask that she pull it away from her face.

 

I know you'd like to give your daughter more autonomy, but right now it sounds like she's just not developmentally ready for it and with CPS looking over your shoulder, I think you need to make sure that 'basically neat' can describe your daughter.


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#23 of 28 Old 05-07-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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.  I think I am doomed to have her resent me over this for a long time.  Heavy sigh.

 

It is possible she might understand (not today) that you judged the risks of hair-keeping (daily arguments and CPS) to be more significant than cutting her hair.

 

I did say earlier in the thread that I resented my mom for pressuring me into cutting my hair, but the circumstances were quite different.

 

1.  To the best of my knowledge I did not give my mother a hard time about brushing or washing - she just did not like the fact I chewed my hair and my hair was starting to look uneven.

 

2.  CPS was not involved in our lives.

 

I really think I would have understood her worry if CPS was involved.  Your daughter might understand one day. Moreover, I really like and love my mother    love.gif.  One hair cutting incident does not a bad relationship make.   I wouldn't make a pattern of going against her wishes on her body, but given your struggle on this issue I cannot see you doing that. 

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#24 of 28 Old 05-10-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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Would it work for you to offer for her to get her hair done at a salon?  Maybe she would enjoy having it washed, brushed, and styled at the beauty parlor.  They are usually pretty gentle and maybe she would like having her hair washed while sitting back in that special chair that they use.


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#25 of 28 Old 06-22-2012, 02:54 PM
 
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You may have already cut it, but if you haven't yet, I wanted to make a couple of suggestions.

1) comb it in the bath/shower WHILE THE CONDITIONER IS IN IT, starting with the ends and gradually moving up. That makes a HUGE difference, both in how easy it is to comb out the tangles, and also how long it stays untangled.

2) if she doesn't like getting it washed, have you tried bathing/showering with her, and having her wash your hair for you?

 

As for cutting it, if she has expressed so clearly that she does not want it cut, I think forcing her to cut it may result in some major trust issues.

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#26 of 28 Old 06-25-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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My fear of CPS is the only thing that motivates me to brush and groom my daughter's hair.  She hates it so much, and screams and sobs. My husband will not even try it.  We worked with her OT on this for a few months. 

 

However, I have found some things that really help --

 

having her chew gum and watch TV during hair brushing, start at the bottom and work up in tiny sections 

 

Globbing on TONS of conditioner during hair washing, combing it through and then rinsing.

 

Braiding hair at night if she will allow it

 

Just cutting out big tangles instead of combing through them, works well for tangles on the back where she can't see

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#27 of 28 Old 06-25-2012, 08:40 AM
 
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One last thought -- once all the tangles are out, using my globs of conditioner along with chewing gum and TV technique, see if she will agree to one long feminine braid at night, and to keep it braided as much as possible.  She might agree to that, and at least you could avoid being cited for child neglect. 

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#28 of 28 Old 06-25-2012, 01:57 PM
 
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Does she like to brush/comb your hair?  Maybe that might help her view it as something other than torture?

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