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How I Took the Terror Out of My Son's First Hair Cut

How I Took the Terror Out of My Son's First Hair Cut

How I Took the Terror Out of My Son's First Hair Cut

Haircuts are very personal, at any age. But your child's first haircut might pose issues that you can't anticipate. Some babies don't even seem to notice, while others scream as if they're being injured.

My son didn't have a ton of hair when he was born, and what he had was very wispy, so it was impossible to wait beyond the 18-month mark to cut it and not have him walk around with a mullet look. I wasn't nervous at all; he'd seen the "Baby Bear Gets a Haircut" episode of Sesame Street and laughed with glee every time Papa Bear sat in the big barber's chair for a demo. Yet when it came to his own first haircut, my son screamed bloody murder as if he were being forced against his will — despite the fact that we'd gone to great lengths to find a kid-friendly stylist with the gentlest manner imaginable and complete with videos at the cutting station.


No matter. And no matter that we went to the farmer's market on the way to our appointment, and got him his favorite breakfast, a buckwheat crepe with smoked salmon and creme fraiche. He couldn't have been in a better mood when we arrived at the salon. He didn't seem to mind at all when the apron went on or the scissors came out. 

But when the actual haircut began, with a harmless squirt of water to flatten his hair for an even cut, Olin was horrified, terrified, and adamantly opposed to participating, or even sititng there passively. He screamed so loundly that the three adults in the room backed up from his chair. We tried, in vain, to comfort, to cajole, to distract. But it became abundantly clear that nothing we said or did was going to change the situation, so we actually took him home with half a haircut — or more like a quarter — and I finished cutting it myself (poorly) when he was asleep that night. Later, several parents told me they'd experienced the same thing. Most had let the process continue, only to find that their kids seemed scarred for life, or at least for the forseeable future.

Given that I am, by nature, not a geometrical, or even symmetrical cutter of anything, I was worried that my son wouldn't have a proper haircut before high school. So, I fretted. I plotted. I planned for the next experiment to be successful. But as with many things related to child development, my son took the lead. 


One morning, Olin came to me with his hair in his eyes. I offered him a clip or an elastic band. He siad no, he wanted a haircut. I asked him if he wanted to go back to the place we'd been before. He said, "No." Then I remembered he'd been with me on my last haircut, and I decided to call my stylist to see if she'd cut his hair. This phone call felt a little bit like spitting into the wind. But, for whatever reason, only a few weeks after the failed haircut attempt, Olin sat with patience, curiosity, and even pleasure as my stylist, who'd been warned that he might scream, quickly cut his hair with little fanfare. Now he goes for haircuts regularly and happily, with no special preparation or bribery.

The point of my story isn't to explain or advise, except to say that your child will let you know when he or she is ready for a haircut. There may be some false starts and some partial outcomes, so be prepared to bridge the gap with hats, clips, bows, or bands. And then wait for the authentic deal. It will come, and everyone will be happy — and well groomed!

Image Source: Photo courtesy of jusgre via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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