I Feared My Daughters “Boy” Hair Cut

I have been a mother for seventeen years. I have three children, and between three different souls, I feel I’ve been exposed to every parenting situation in the book. However, with my youngest daughter, Gianna, I received a lesson for the books. She taught me one of the biggest lessons I’ve had as a mother thus far.  

As a parent, it’s my job to teach my kids right from wrong, to respect others and to think before they speak. I hope that my children are confident, empathetic, self- thinkers who learn through my positive example not to judge others based on their looks, beliefs, race or gender.

 

I feared my daughters "Boy" hair cut
 

Judgment and gender have played a major role in my family.  It’s something that I have struggled with for a few years. When my kids were young, I dressed them how I wanted them to look.  I followed the stereotypical gender norms to a tee; from clothing to toys, books and bikes, I was all for pink and blue.

 

Wanting to be like her big brother
 

When my daughter entered first grade, I noticed a shift. She was no longer interested in pink dresses and headbands; she made it abundantly clear that she wanted to dress like her brother- *Hanes white t-shirt and all. We fought constantly and I was always coming up with reasons why she couldn’t wear that white t-shirt.  I hated that white t-shirt.

Gianna's Elementary School Collage
One trying morning, the day of picture day, we both completely lost it.  She wanted to wear the white Hanes T-shirt she loved so dearly.  I was adamant that she wore a dress, or something, in my mind, “more appropriate” for picture day.

 “You can’t wear that t-shirt to school, it’s picture day and you’re wearing this dress; end of discussion!”  Enter the tears and tantrum. It was at that moment that I realized I was tired. She was tired.  I thought, I could either continue fighting over her choice of clothing, or I could pick and choose my battles. If this was any indication of what life with her was going to be like, I was certain there would be many battles ahead of us.  I looked down at her and instantly saw the sadness in her eyes.  I quickly realized that she was begging me to allow her to explore her individuality.  This was not easy for me, but I did let her explore.

Gianna's Collage of Looks
As the years went by, as much as I loved her uniqueness, I also struggled with it.  I was envious of her, yet I was scared for her. I witnessed kids teasing her because she was the little girl wearing “boy” clothes and playing basketball with the boys instead of “house” at recess like the “girls” did. I also saw my little girl become more and more comfortable in her own skin. I saw my little girl beam with confidence, strength, bravery and overall happiness with who she was.  She didn’t care what others said or thought about her- which, when you think about it, is something that most adults struggle to achieve in their lifetime.

 

She loves her boy t-shirts
 

Then it happened.  For a couple years, she had been making comments about wanting to cut her hair.  She didn’t want just a regular hair cut, she wanted, as she called it, a “boy” haircut!  She had long, beautiful hair and I was not at all ready to let her cut it.  I kept thinking that if I ignored her, she would change her mind. However, she was determined and she had her mind set on cutting her hair “like a boy”. I absolutely hated the idea of her having a “boy” hair cut. I knew what she had encountered in elementary school and I feared what would come as she entered middle school.  She already dressed like a “boy” and to eliminate her long hair would only add fuel to a fire that I didn’t know how to extinguish.  I am her mom, her ultimate protector, how could I let her do this knowing what she could potentially encounter as she prepared to enter a new school, with new kids, and new teachers? 

I was afraid.  I didn’t know how I would handle seeing her with short hair.  I know it’s only hair and that it grows back.  Logically, I understood that part, but emotionally I just was not ready.  To me, her hair was the only thing that I had left; the only thing that made her look like a little girl. However, I kept thinking, if I don’t let her do this, I might wake up to see that she took the scissors to her hair herself.

 

Little girl loves her baseball hats
 

I realized that I had to let go.  I had to allow her to make this choice for herself; I had to have as much confidence in her as she already had in herself.  She was trying to express herself and the only way that she knew how to do that was through her clothing and her hair. I knew in my heart that she would be happier with short hair but I was mentally resisting it.  

Together my daughter and I drove to Sport’s Clips.  I looked over at her sitting next to me and saw the excitement in her eyes as she looked back at me. When we arrived at Sport’s Clips, our stylist, Jackie, was there and to be honest, I’m not sure I could have made it through that haircut without her. She made my daughter feel so special by mentioning how “cool” she thought she was for being such a confident young lady. 

As each clump of hair hit the floor, I watched as my daughter shed her skin and slid perfectly into the one she was meant to be in. By the time the last strand was cut, I could tell that it was the happiest moment of her life and one that we would both cherish. I watched as she looked at herself in the mirror; she had the biggest smile on her face, a smile I had never seen before.  What I was witnessed was not only a life changing moment for her, but for myself as well.

 

I feared my daughters Boy Hair cut
 

Looking back, at that life-changing experience, it had nothing to do with the length of her hair and everything to do with me wanting to protect her, but I can’t.  We can’t.  We can’t protect our children from everything, especially themselves.  My daughter is happy, she is proud of who she is, and she ended up teaching me one of the greatest life lessons: sometimes we need to allow our children to pave their own path, so they can create their own identity.

 

Short Hair - Don't Care!
 

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I feared my daughters "boy" hair cut
 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “I Feared My Daughters “Boy” Hair Cut

  1. oh man that would hard for me too… but we absolutely have to let them be who they’re supposed to be. i think she looks uber cool. and i bet she FEELS like she is… which is ultimately what matters.

    1. Thank you Nicole! It was very hard and I struggled for weeks following, but looking back, I am embarrassed at the amount of time I spent letting my emotional attachment to hair get in the way of a young girls happiness in simply being herself!

  2. This is a beautiful post, Phyllis! As parents we want to do everything we can to protect our children. I can understand your fear of how the outside world might react to her cutting her hair and what it took for you to let go of that and accept her for who she is.

    1. She is so much stronger & braver at her young age of 11 than I am at 47. She has no fear of being judged and that’s all I do fear. I’m just so happy that she can be herself in her true form at such an early age.

    1. I kept trying to tell her that she could have long hair and still be active and wear white t-shirts, but she wasn’t having any of that. She wanted it short and she wasn’t going to give up until it was cut.

  3. You did the right thing and what an awesome mom you are for that. It sucks that gender norms hinder what people think about us and our children, but people like Gianna remind us that above everything else we need to love who we are and embrace what makes us unique. This was a lovely story. ❤️

  4. I remember your post on Facebook when she first got her new cut and I still love it! I know it’s hard letting kids make their own decision because we want to think we know what’s best for them. You did the right thing. You’re an awesome mom with a happy kid!!

  5. Hi my name is Vanessa,
    I’m used to get my hair cutted like that for years, first my mom dont wated me to have short hair but it ended like your story! U have done everything right!
    Greetings from germany

  6. Such an emotional post and such an amazing story. It can be hard when things don’t always go as we expect, but your daughter is healthy, happy, and has a beautiful soul and I think those are the most important things. Your love for your daughter is evident, and she is lucky to have you and your support! <3

  7. My daughters are into dresses and princesses. Sometime I wish they are more out-doorsy. Your post reminded me to accept them for who they are and enjoy them for their uniqueness.

    1. She actually started out girly – nails polished, dress wearing but then something just clicked for her and that was it… I realized then that we can’t change what can’t be changed! 🙂

  8. Gianna is such a beautiful soul, her happiness beams through in each picture you post here and on IG. It’s something to be said about how you love her and except her for who she is. I wish more parents would do that, I could probably do that more. Why do we worry about how others will react? We shouldn’t have to worry about how others will treat our children based on their looks, that doesn’t even matter. It’s crazy how we tell our kids not judge people on their looks and then worry how people judge, shouldn’t all parents be teaching their kids not to judge. But that’s a whole blog post in its self or another 2 hour phone conversation. 🙂
    Love you & G!!
    XO

    1. Awe thank you! I wish people wouldn’t be so quick to judge but it happens and all I can do is prepare my kiddos for the world in which we live in. BTW – It was great chatting with you! We need to catch up more frequently! 🙂 I miss ya!

  9. I got my hair cut short as a young teen–I was having problems with hair loss and I hated seeing the long hair fall out–and later, I loved the short and spunky curls my short cut gave me. At the time, I wore mostly t-shirts and jeans and no makeup and I was mistaken for a boy on a number of occasions. But I survived just fine, and don’t regret the short hair cut. I still wear my hair relatively short, and am pretty sure I’m a short-hair girl for life, though I do have a more feminine style these days….and slightly more curves…and am no longer mistaken for a boy. 🙂

    1. That’s awesome Rachel! It is my hope that her confidence stays with her and she doesn’t let anyone alter that because of what they say! We still get the “he”, or “buddy” comments and we actually shut down one guy at a carnival! He was one of the guys that does the games and we went to purchase darts for her and he said, “He’s got this” and my husband jumped in and said, “Yes, SHE does!”…that guy took his glasses off to look at her and said, “Really…a girl?”, my husband told the guy to NEVER assume based off of looks! My daughter just had the look of pride on her face! It was the first time her dad said anything to anyone and it was a long time coming! These type of comments are typical daily comments and they shouldn’t be.

      Keep on rockin your short hair! 🙂

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