Little boy’s hair cuts : Should we force them?

Boy's hair styles :: should we be cutting their hair?

As you can see Toby is sporting a rather unkempt look – but it’s clean, it’s combed and it’s HIS hair.

Hooray for Spring! All of a sudden it seems to be warmer, brighter and just downright lovely. Which is great and all but it has led to one big fat disagreement in our house over: Hair.

Yup. Specifically the boy’s hair cuts.

Now, as you probably know if you follow the blog, I am a firm believe that a child’s body is THEIR body, totally up to them what they do with it within certain safety and hygiene boundaries. This applies to their hair in my mind, OK? So, if a child doesn’t want their hair cutting, provided they are willing to have it combed, nit combed and treated, and it’s not impairing their eye sight or anything else, it’s up to them how to have it.

Adam disagrees.

Adam calls this (and I quote) “new age parenting bullshit that means the adult gets to shirk their responsibility – it’s your job to tell them what to do with their hair”. He’s a sensitive soul and so considerate with his words.

The argument that we have come to us that we should have the boy’s hair cut, which they do NOT want, because the weather is getting hotter, we have to treat and comb them for bits at least twice a week and it’s easier if we are only doing it on short hair. My argument is that their hair is not in their eyes, they understand longer hair takes a time to brush through and nit comb (which is a bitch) and they will have to have that done. When their fringe grows, it gets cut so it isn’t in their eyes – there for it doesn’t impact their sight of health. Anything else is irrelevant.

Adam’s main point (other than the fact that I am a “new age parent”) is that they will be over heated, uncomfortable and therefore more likely to struggle with hygiene in the summer. I’ve put it to him that this is something he is considering for his sons – but won’t dream of for his daughter. He says his daughter will have her hair up (which the boys don’t want) so it’s a moot point.

To me, it’s bloody well not. It’s a gender bias that he has been raised with through a society that believes boys have short hair and girls have long. When the time comes, if E wants her hair down, I don’t see why I would force her to have it up, but Adam refuses to see my point of view. We have a very outdated attitude towards the way genders should dress, act and be styled. The truth is, I love Roo’s longer hair, but Toby doesn’t suit it and it looks tatty half the time – it isn’t something for me to choose though.

Having spent ages in the hair dressers with a tiny Reuben, I can tell you there is NOTHING more awful that pinning your child down for a hair cut while they scream and cry – especially when it isn’t necessary. I’ve explained to both boys that the choice is theirs HOWEVER if I say it needs trimming on their fridge, it needs it. If I say they must have it cut because they won’t let me comb it – they don’t overrule that. They have a choice until I have to step in and be the parent for a reason that they are too young to control or prevent. They have choice because it’s their hair. Not mine.

I’ve told Adam that he can take them and cut their hair – something I’ve previously been lumped with – but I want no part in it. It is 100% up to them in my eyes. He will have to explain to them why he is so insistent it is happening and hopefully they will understand.

So… Thoughts? Team Adam or Team Harriet?


  1. Avatar April 7, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    My wife not agree to cut the hair of our little angel, while my mother and other believe that we should cut her hair. I almost everyday argue with her that next in summer she will feel more comfortable with short hair. So its every home story i think.

    • Avatar
      December 22, 2018 / 12:25 am

      Team Harriet!

  2. Avatar March 13, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    Great to see all the views here from the parents. I thought I was alone in allowing my children to decide for themselves.

  3. Avatar April 12, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    I do prefer my O to have short hair. Purely because it’s easier to keep looking tidy. He had longer hair when he was younger and hadn’t met the right hairdresser for him and he did quite suit it (much to my husband’s joy!). We have since found a hairdresser that he trusts and likes, and actually quite enjoys going for his hair cut now. So, my view is to let him do as he pleases – if you or he becomes desperate for a cut, try going to a hairdresser that cuts hair for other members of the family. Cousins etc. That’s what gave O that trust! x

  4. Avatar April 12, 2016 / 11:36 am

    Definitely Team Harriet here. I prefer my son to have shorter hair, but if he wanted it long then it wouldn’t worry me if it was in the same confines that you state. I really don’t see the issue, and I would definitely be washing my hands of the entire episode if he feels that strongly about it. Let him have all the hassle!

  5. Avatar
    April 12, 2016 / 12:07 am

    I have no idea where I sit with this I’m afraid! I’d like to think if I had a boy and they didn’t want to get their hair cut I’d be fine with that provided it’s neat and tidy like you said. However once it got past shoulder length I think I’d be itching for them to have it cut ?. As a girl my mum wouldn’t let me have my long hair cut just trims so I cut it myself (nooooo) it ended in disaster that had to be sorted….I hated it! Since then I’ve never had short hair lol. Xx

  6. Avatar April 11, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Team Harriet all the way. I think that a child needs to learn to make there own decisions x

  7. Avatar April 11, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    my husband is just the same. when my eldest boy was little I didn’t get his hair cut til he was almost 3 and he had very long blond hair and everyone thought he was a girl, but I didn’t care and I loved his long hair and so did he. Now he is 11 and he has his hair short, but most of his friend have quite long messy hair, and he want;s his like this too. I am happy with whatever he wants has long has he washes it!

  8. Avatar April 10, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    My son has had an afro on and off now. I think he looks cute with it and I love seeing a bit of hair on little ones. Nothing longer than a fro though.

  9. Avatar April 10, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    This subject is my absolute nightmare. Same for cutting nails. My boy absolutely hates it. The only way I get around it is pinning him down. There is no other way around it. We tried treats, his favourite shows etc. EVERYTHING. It doesn’t work on him. He hates being touched because he doesn’t like his combed either. So far I managed to get away with it but the only he gets the stronger he gets but I hope he will be a bit more understanding then. He just throws tantrums straight away so there is no point explaining.

    • Harriet April 10, 2016 / 9:47 pm

      Oh bless him and you Janine, what a nightmare! I know that my son got quite forceful as he was getting stronger BUT he can be reasoned with a little bit now. I hope it improves for you xx

  10. Avatar
    My Life As A Mummy
    April 10, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Definitely Team Harriet!

    My youngest has really long hair (hes 2) and I have no intention of cutting it short. He has golden curls and he looks beautiful. I keep it trimmed but it will be up to him whether he wants it long or short.

    Laura x x x

    • Harriet April 10, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      High five Laura – welcome to the side haha@ H x

  11. Avatar April 10, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    What a great post. I’ve never actually given this much thought. I guess ultimately it is up to the child and if he wants it long then that’s his choice. I would prefer a boy to have short hair but I commend you letting him make his own decision.

    • Harriet April 10, 2016 / 10:04 pm

      Thanks Tori – I just believe that it is their choice how they have their hair provided they will allow me to care for it in the way that is hygienic etc.

  12. Avatar April 9, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    What a really interesting debate. I’ve never really thought about it. Ben has been having his hair cut since he was 6 months old as it grows really fast and gets in his face. He’s never once complained about it or asked to grow it so I guess we haven’t come up against it.
    My girls both have really long hair which I insist is tied up for school or childcare but they can wear it down at the weekend (unless they moan about getting it brushed in which case I tie it up to stop it getting so knotty)

    • Harriet April 10, 2016 / 7:41 pm

      It’s interesting to hear from someone with both genders who are old enough to have long hair Colette! x

  13. Avatar April 9, 2016 / 10:33 am

    I’ve always grown up in a household that was very free willed, we could do what we wanted within reason. My dad had beautiful long flowing curls, my brother grew his hair long and it was all out of freedom of choice as it was up to us. Now that I’m a mother myself I try to do the same with my daughter. I’m a trained hairdresser and there is no difference in hygiene for long boys hair compared to girls, my girl refuses to wear her hair up most of the time and comes back a sweaty, grubby little thing after playing and I don’t think gender should play a role in hair length or style xx

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:09 pm

      Neither do I Charli – and the fact that you are a trained hairdresser makes my point more valid haha!

  14. Avatar April 9, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Toby’s only just got enough hair for it to look slightly messy so this isn’t likely to be an issue in my house for years bless him haha I do think that your boys are old enough to make a decision, so if they feel uncomfortable in the heat (which let’s face it there isn’t much of) or they get sick of the need to comb it, then they can tell you that and it can be cut xx

  15. Avatar April 9, 2016 / 8:12 am

    I’m sorry. Please don’t hate me but I am team Adam. I am a strong believer that boys should have shorter hair and girls longer. But then I have three girls who all have never had their hair cuts because they don’t want to. Oh I think I might be mixed.

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:16 pm

      Oh Jodie… the betrayal!! Haha I’ll let you off! H x

  16. Avatar April 9, 2016 / 8:11 am

    I see both points of view but personally lean more towards Team Adam on this one. My girls have their hair (not just the fringe) trimmed every two months to keep it neat and they don’t get to choose whether they go or not – they’re still little and I make those kind of decisions for now (that’s my style of parenting though rather than a disagreement with your view on their hair, their choice). I like their hair to look neat so if we go out, it’s always, at least partly, tied back. My eldest now gets some choice in how she wants to have her hair tied back but I tend to just go with whatever I think is easiest for my little one. If having it tied back became a huge battle then I would probably have it cut shorter so that it doesn’t get in their face and get constantly tangled (the reason why it gets tied back most of the time). I don’t see why boys shouldn’t be able to have long hair (although in all honesty, if I had a boy I would probably keep their hair short to keep it neat so yes, I guess I do help reinforce those gender stereotypes). I agree though that if Adam feels so strongly about this, he should be the one to explain it to your boys and take them himself to get it cut. Good luck with coming to a decision on this one!

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:17 pm

      Thanks Louise – I hope we do too! H x

  17. Avatar April 9, 2016 / 7:00 am

    Definitely team Harriet here. Goodness, Let the kids find out for themselves that a shorter hair cut is cooler in the summer months. Besides, I think little boys with long hair look adorable. It used to be the fashion. I think buzz cuts make boys look like football thugs!

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:18 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth! H x

  18. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 10:34 pm

    Personally, I’m not a fan of boys or men with long hair and my son has his quite short. He does have it longer in the winter but come summer he has a grade 2. It’s how he likes it

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      I think for me if that’s his choice then I would agree with it!

  19. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    I think what you’re doing is right. When I was a kid, I used to hate having my hair down but I always loved it long and the one time my mum tried to change that I kicked off and refused to go to school until it was sorted out. I’m glad that as I’ve grown up, I’ve had the choice to wear my hair as I want to wear it because otherwise I wouldn’t still have the long hair that I have and love today!

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      Thanks you Kira πŸ™‚ H x

  20. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Oh I will actually be BAWLING when I have to bring my fall and I can totally see both sides here!!!

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      I know – I was sad too! H x

  21. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    I’m not bothered either way although if they have long hair and have school it must be in a pony tail and out of the way as far as I’m concerned.

    • Harriet April 9, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      Thanks Melanie – I have told them that if it’s in their way at school and they won’t wear a pony tail then it has to be cut! H x

  22. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 8:08 pm

    If I had my way, I’d want my daughter to have shorter hair. She’s five and all her friends have long hair and she refuses to have it cut. I let her have her way. It’s her hair, but I told her that she needs to have it trimmed, just so it would grow properly. She’s fine with that, so last Tuesday, she and I had a mother-daughter haircut appointment. She loved it πŸ™‚ So I guess I’m team Harriet then πŸ˜‰ x

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 8:19 pm

      Yay – welcome to the kooky side! All joking apart, I think that it’s important for kids to choose – provided they allow proper maintenance! H x

  23. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    Oh don’t get me started! Pickle has beautiful curly hair – and I am SICK of the digs (from family as well as strangers) about having ‘girls’ hair etc etc. He had his first trim about a month ago – MY choice – no-one else’s! (He is 3) Good Luck to you hun. Kaz x

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 8:20 pm

      ARGH it’s not “girls” hair it’s just HAIR. Humph.

  24. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    Hmmm when I was a child, I always looked forward to having my hair cut so I can’t really comment. I guess if it looks untidy and a mess, then it’s best to give it a little trim. πŸ˜‰

    Oliver β€’

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 8:21 pm

      I wish they did Oliver, it would make life so much easier! H x

  25. Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    I agree Tara – and I do think you are different as a parent!

  26. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    I don’t see the harm in cutting their hair. I have a little boy who has a gorgeous curly afro. I would never want to shave it off, but I do trim it now and then to neaten it up.

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:35 pm

      Oh how wonderful Jemma – I love curls on little ones – afro or otherwise πŸ™‚ x

  27. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    I see both points. I personally dislike boys with long hair, I used to teach in schools where I would have been unable to tell if I was talking to a boy or to a girl due to long hair. I do not advocate very short hair or shaving and all that but as you say, hygiene wise is also easier if children have short hair.

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:38 pm

      Ahhh but would you think it was easier to be hygienic if it was a girl’s hair? That’s my point – and I wouldn’t assume a child’s gender based on their hair length, I would just ask their name x

  28. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    It’s a tough one. I would never force a child to go for a haircut as it can put them off in future. I don’t have a boy so I am not sure what I would do but I will know in a few years!

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Yes you will! How exciting! I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to it really, just personal choice but I do like to think of it as their body, their choice πŸ™‚ H x

  29. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 10:46 am

    Team Harriet for sure!!! I am not a new age kinda parent, but if they are happy with it, then that is good enough for me! Maybe if he sees what a nightmare pinning a child down for a haircut is, he will change his mind too!

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      Haha whoop whoop – welcome to the team Tanya! πŸ˜‰

  30. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 9:34 am

    Interesting! And timely for me as my son’s hair is getting to the stage where it looks a bit untidy and needs a cut. We’ve only had one haircut to date, which went fairly smoothly, so for now, I’m inclined to keep on with the haircuts, but I think long term I agree with you – if he doesn’t want to have his hair cut then I don’t think I’ll be one to make him. If they’re aware of all the negatives that come with long hair but still want it, then I think I’d probably go with that. But then I probably lean towards the ‘new age parent’ side of things!

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:43 pm

      Yay! I do love a good “new ager” haha! In all seriousness, had the boys entertained hair cuts then I would have had them trimmed on a frequent basis I think – especially Toby as I personally prefer it on him, and if he wasn’t fussed then, why not? The first hair cut for Roo was fine ironically, it was number 2,3, and then finally 4 that he screamed through – and I have no ideas why. Now he is great at his fringe trimmed but not the rest of his hair. We’ll be playing it by ear I think…

  31. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 9:08 am

    Found this post really fascinating! I’ve never seen a blogger discuss this issue, and it something important that really affects little boys. Having long hair on a boy, and even short hair on a young girl causes gender confusion amongst parents. Not that gender should matter, or be defined by haircut, but it is something I have witnessed.

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:45 pm

      Absolutely Zoe – it’s something I think we need to change as a society. Your hair length should never define your gender, but sadly we’re still struggling with that… though apparently the “hot style” for men in 2016/17 is shaved sides and long enough to top knot… to each their own!

  32. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 9:06 am

    I do think that it’s a childs choice as to their hair, but it’s more of a case of when are they old enough to make that decision? x

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      Hmm that is what Adam is trying to get across – I believe it’s right from the start – as long as I get to trim their fringe and make sure it’s not harming their eyes or getting knotty, it’s up to them x

  33. Avatar April 8, 2016 / 8:28 am

    I can understand both points of view, I think it’s important to try and agree one way of the other as kids are great at playing off one parent against the other. Also I think it’s important to be firm when things need to be done like a fringe needs to be cut. Get him to take them if he feels so strongly about it.

    • Harriet April 8, 2016 / 7:48 pm

      This is where we’re at right not Mellissa – if he’s that determined he can take them and explain why they are being forced to cut it… they are actually very good now – nit comb is used most nights, brushed, washed, conditioned and then trimmed across the fringe all without much complaint. I’m very impressed with them – but they are reminded when they do complain that they will have to have it cut if they won’t let me take care of their long hair. I think because they see me with uber long hair, sitting and brushing it, nit combing it etc they just get on with it now! H x

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