Our Daughters' Hair Length: Let the Armchair Psychoanalysis Begin

BlogHer Original Post

My daughter's hair is crazy long. Like past-her-waist long. People ask me all the time if I've ever cut it (she had a bob when she was two and gets it cut every few months) and if it's hard to take care of (heck, yes). You see, I don't make her cut until it fails the toilet test.

You read that right.

The toilet test goes like this: Put child on closed toilet. Have her lean back. If her hair piles on the toilet seat, that means it'll hit the water when she leans back while doing her business. AND THAT IS DISGUSTING. So we cut a few inches off and wait for the whole thing to happen again.

(exhibit a)

Both sets of grandmas ask her all the time if she wants to put it up or cut it into a bob. Not only does she not want to cut it, she doesn't even want a ponytail. The only time she'll let me braid it or put it up is for ballet class, and that's only because she fears the wrath of her Angelina Ballerina old-school teacher. And on my birthday. She lets me do her hair on my birthday. As my present. And so this past year, I let her grow out her bangs, even though doing so made me want to stick a fork in my eyeball every morning as I forced 32 tiny plastic clippies into her head.

(exhibit b)

Though I don't think she'd die or I'd die if we did cut it back into that bob she had at two (which was totally cute, and at two, totally necessary), I just don't see the point in forcing her to cut her hair that short. There are so few things children can control, and shouldn't their hair be one of them? I mean, there aren't any small animals growing in there, are there? What's up with everyone caring about little girls' hair length?

Tracee at The Girl Revolution wrote a great post a few years ago musing on the meaning of her daughter's hair to her husband.


I then made a huge blunder. I dropped my 3-year-old daughter off at my mother-in-law’s with permission to give her a “long bob, long enough for a ponytail.” She came back with a short Dorothy Hamill pixie cut. When my husband saw it, he got so upset he nearly cried and then left furious about what I had done.

There seems to be something magical about a little girl's hair for some folks. I know several women who told me they didn't cut their hair until they were six or seven. EVER. I can't imagine how long their hair was, because we constantly cut my daughter's and it JUST GROWS BACK.

And then, on the flip side, you have really really short haircuts and all the gender discussions that can lie therein. A Modern Mother writes:

I stopped and looked at my middle daughter, not knowing what to say. To save money, my father cut our hair (all five of us rug rats). After one of these barber sessions, my mother dressed me in a new frock and sent me to a friend's party. I remember a group of girls, hands on hips, telling me that boys shouldn't wear dresses. I was devastated, and vowed to never cut my hair short again. I still have long hair.

While she didn't cut her daughter's hair pixie-short, Felicia Lobato really likes her daughter's dramatically shorter 'do:


Her first hair cut was more of a trim but this time we didn't trim it we CUT it all off. I have no regrets although everyone keeps asking why? She loves her haircut and she actually wanted it that short. I notice it gave her a lot more confidence & that's what kids need.

Short hair, long hair, up or down -- does it really matter? How much control do you try to maintain over your kid's hair?


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