Single Dad Follows Through With Threat of Cutting 7-Year-Old Girl's Hair After Warning Her To Care for It


hair cutting

Empty threats in parenting are generally looked down upon. If you warn of a consequence, it's important to follow through with it, within reason. So that is exactly what one single dad of a 7-year-old girl did when he warned her about taking care of her hair. 

  • The dad began explaining that his daughter has long hair down to her belly button, and no matter what he did, he couldn't get her to take care of it. 

    "I've warned her over the last year that if she doesn't start brushing her hair at least twice a day, we're getting it cut shorter," he explained. "Every morning is a battle. I've talked to her mom about it and she agreed that I can get it cut if she doesn't take responsibility for her cleanliness."

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  • As a man with long hair, he felt his request was reasonable. 

    While the dad further explained that he does brush her hair every morning, over the last three years he had been trying to get her to take more responsibility for it and to actively try to keep it neat. 

    "I told her that I can do it, and so can she," he wrote. "I've shown her multiple times how I bring my hair over my chest to brush the bottom, which she doesn't have the dexterity to do. I brush from the bottom and slowly work my way up; I know how to brush hair since mine is long...She doesn't have to be self sufficient, but she needs to at least try."

  • So after another argument, the dad made good on his promise. 

    "I cut her hair to about an inch below her shoulders," he wrote. "She was devastated. She continued to cry for another hour as I drove her to my parents place to watch her as I went to work. My mother and my sister both got very upset with me. My mom told me I'm going to ruin my daughter if I don't start taking parenting classes and that cutting her hair was completely unnecessary."

    Even though the dad got the blessing of the child's mother, and even though he feels it was important, he's now wondering if he made the wrong call.

  • People were a little divided on what the right call should have been. 

    "That it needed to be cut, I don't disagree with," admitted one user. "That you didn't freaking SHAVE her head, but instead she still has hair just below her shoulders, I don't disagree with. I do disagree... with your cutting it in the heat of the moment. Saying 'Okay, well, we've talked about this fifty times so tonight after work we're going to have to cut it' and then doing it later would have been a better approach. She's only seven."

  • Some thought she was too young to be responsible for her own hair, and the dad would have handled it better if they worked on a solution together. 

    "Keep it in a braid and wash and comb it regularly to keep the tangles down," suggested one reader. "Insist on those things first and then if she's unwilling, come up with a win win together, which may be cutting it. Don't argue with your child, connect and come up with solutions together. 'The problem is, your hair is tangled and not taken care of. What can we do so that it's taken care of and I don't have to brush it for you?' She IS old enough to problem solve, and your job is to coach her in effective problem solving, not do it for her. That's how we prepare our children to become adults. You were close to a 'natural' consequence here but not quite since you intervened and didn't involve her in the decision."

  • There was one comment of support from someone who was in his daughter's position when she was younger.

    "My mom did this to me, but not as dramatically," the commenter noted. "I had waist-length hair and I am especially tender-headed. So every morning and every evening lead to a complete meltdown from the time I was 2 until I was around 4. Mom warned me that if I couldn't stop crying and screaming when she brushed my hair she would take me to get it cut, but of course nothing changed so she brought me to a salon to cut it and... I didn't care one bit. It made me no difference whether it was short or long, but I was in a consistently better mood every day because I wasn't starting the day off with pain in my scalp."

    The dad updated everyone and noted that he apologized to his daughter and vowed to take a different approach.

    "With differing opinions on what actions I should have taken, I think what I can learn from this is to set clear boundaries and consequences and always follow through with a cool head," he wrote.