Friday, May 18, 2012

my happy hippie boy

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This post was written as a contribution to the Boys Have Long Hair, Too Blog Carnival.  The participating bloggers are sharing their experiences, struggles, and opinions surrounding having a son who has long hair.

howoldisshe?whatanicelittlegirl!howareyou,princess?
these are oh-so common statements Bear and i hear when we are out in public.  he is 31/2 and has yet to get a hair cut.  i've trimmed the front and the sides so they aren't in his eyes, but he still has all of his baby hair in the back.

many think that children cry when getting their 1st haircut because they see their hair as an extension of themselves.  when it's removed from their bodies, with no reaction from their parents, it causes turmoil in the child.

we're often asked when we plan on getting Bear's hair cut.  our response is,
"he'll get it cut when he wants it cut."

Bear loves his long hair.  he lets me pull it into a ponytail on occasion.  whenever we're out in public, i make it a point to show Bear other men with long hair.  i want him to know that his choice is acceptable as long as he's comfortable.  this morning, he actually pointed out a man and said, "he has long hair like me!"  ultimately, it's his body and i respect his wishes.  i won't do anything to my child that i wouldn't do or have done to myself.  would i want someone cutting my hair against my will?  no. 

i am afraid, though, that some insensitive person or another child will make say something that makes him feel embarrassed.  i don't want him to get his haircut because he feels ashamed of his hair or pressured to conform.  there's enough of that with the current status of public schools and societal pressures. 
we all want our children to be accepted and have friends, but i can't justify getting him an "acceptable" haircut {against his wishes} just to blend in to what has been deemed normal.  i've noticed that many others make judgments and whispered comments about him, myself, or our family in general based on the few things they know about us.  through supporting my son's decision to keep his hair long, i'm telling him:
i respect his choices.
i will not try to change him.
i love him as he is.
whether or not, others agree with my choices doesn't matter.  because at the end of the day, when i see him sleeping with his hands tucked behind that head of long hair, my heart tells me i'm doing this right. 


We'd love it if you stopped by to read submissions by the other amazing carnival bloggers

Boys Have Long Hair, Too: A Father’s View -- Alex from Glittering Muffins says it happens that not only does his son, Nico have long hair, he as the father has no problem with it either. He personally does not find that long hair emasculates a boy (or adult alike)...

Boys Have Long Hair, Too: A Maman’s View -- Valerie from Glittering Muffins son has been called a cute little girl for about a year and a half (he’s 2.5 yo). So she corrects people and tells them he’s a boy and loves his long hair (Once in a while she even throws in a “he also loves to watch Strawberry Shortcake”). 

Boys Have Long Hair, Too --The Monko from Taming the Goblin explains why she likes it when her son is mistaken for a girl and asks the question "Do mums of girls feel this guilty when their child doesn't like having their long hair brushed?"

Sampson -- Kellie from Our Mindful Life reflects on how long hair gives her son power.

Trials and Tribulations of a Boy with Tresses -- Carolyn from Mama's Little Muse talks about her experience in raising a boy with hair too beautiful to cut short. It is about how people have reacted; how she has created keepsakes featuring his hair; and also how they have arrived at a game that they play so that the hair brushing experience goes more smoothly.

His Hair, His Decision -- Lyndsay from Our Feminist {Play}School asks the question “why shouldn't a boy have long hair?”. Her 'answers' are historical, personal and family-specific.

Boys Have Long Hair, Too -- Sarah from This is Me…Sarah Mum of 3 is mum to 3 children a boy aged 10, girl aged 8 and a boy aged 5, Always loving the longer hair styles for boys her two boys have had many different hair styles over the years but always seem to resort back to the longer locks even against the negative comments they sometimes recieve.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally, my son( now 30) always had long hair as a young boy.He really hated the barber!His hair was really beautiful and I did not want to cut it either. We compromised on a mullet when he went to grade school, which we maintained three times a year. Oddly enough, he now likes short hair, and my other son ( now 28) who like buzz cuts as a kid, now had long hair.Funny.Each kid is so different.

Sarahmumof3 said...

Great post Andie, if your son is happy with his hair then your doing the right thing, it is hard when people make comments and I have cut my boys hair in the past because of the comments then always wished I didn't, now they are older it is easy because they can make their own choices and so if they ask for a trim then I let them x

Absolutely Kathy said...

you are doing the right thing. if he loves his hair then let the child be happy. It really is just hair , so people shouldn't stress so much. And it is sad that people are making comments about your child. That is just wrong. Sad thing is that a child may make a mean comment to him. But I hope he stands strong. His hair is beautiful.

Joyce said...

This is so incredibly well written, Andie. And you are absolutely right. That is what you are telling him. Those three things. And that's so important. <3

Amanda said...

I can't believe that people get so hung up over a childs hair! Surely there are more important things to be concerned about, so long as the child is loved and cared for what's the big hooha! I shall step down from my soap box now, this is so well written and you are so right about the message you are sending to your son.
Sod what ever other people think or say, it just shows their narrow mindedness and ignorance.

KitchenCounterChronicles said...

Great post and great series. I have girls and struggle with the need to cut their hair...even if they don't want to. Love this perspective!

Miss Courtney said...

This is a beautiful post! My BFF is a hairdresser and it makes her ECSTATIC to cut Bobo's hair, but I love his curls. When it's short it doesn't curl as much. Fortunately, he loves to be fussed over and look "handsome" so getting a cut isn't traumatic. I think your decision and the reasons are great.

Kellie Barr said...

I always point out men with long hair too. I also think it is funny because my father had long hair the majority of the time I knew him, and yet my family has such issues with Walter having long hair.

Kali at The Vintage Milk House said...

Wow, I never thought of hair in that way. In that it's their hair their choice. Even at a young age. Makes total sense. I ask Wes HOW he wants his hair cut, never though IF he wants his hair cut. I believe I will be re-thinking my approach to that. As always, thanks so much Andie for a thought provoking post! Btw, Bear has beautiful hair! :)

Ms. Liz said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing, and for this blog carnival! As a mother to a 3 year old who has never had a hair cut, I am enjoying all of the blogs sharing similar stories, feelings, etc. Recently we went to a football game and my Son saw a football player on the sidelines with long curly hair flowing out of his helmet. His Joy at realizing you could play football with long hair was too adorable. He was ecstatic to say the least! Now he may never want a haircut :D Which is fine, right? Is there anything more important we can teach a child other than I love you as you are?!? Bravo! I wish we could get our long haired boys together for a playdate :)

Michelle said...

Your post makes a lot of sense. Boys with long hair is common at my daughter's school, but that is probably due to the fact that she attends a Jewish preschool and many of the families chose to follow the tradition of not cutting their sons hair until they are three. From what I have noticed, by then they have all gotten used to it and they end up just keeping the long hair. Many of the boys in the three year old class have very long hair and either leave it down or pull it back into a pony or braid it on occasion. Even though they technically have already followed through with the tradition, they have have made the choice as a family to let their children make the final call. I think it is fabulous!

Ms. Liz said...

Me again! Guess this topic stirs a lot up in me. Just wanted to share that at the playground not too long a little girl, slightly older than my Son, did decide to get very insensitive and continued to call him "her", and say "she", even after he specifically told her, "I'm a boy with long hair." I was so proud of my Son though, as he decided to walk away from the little girl and her taunting and tell his Daddy, "She just doesn't get it!", while completely shrugging it off. He was able to stand up for who HE is, and walk away from the conflict. That is a proud parent moment right there ;)

Carolyn @ Mama's Little Muse said...

Hi Andie! I LOVE IT! My very best friend's son, who is now 22, has always had long hair. And let me tell you, he was the most beautiful boy, but just as beautiful if he was a girl too. I think most of the time he was mistaken for a girl, and he never minded one iota. It was his choice thruout his life to keep it long. I think that is pretty cool. I'm sure throughout his life too, other children probably picked on him, but he didn't give their comments any power. I like that. I think in a way, letting your child have the hair they want helps them to feel comfortable in being truly who they are and not bow to conformity. That is a good character trait to have, and to teach them!
Thanks for putting on this Carnival! Great to see you and the other bloggers' perspectives and experiences on this matter!

Debs- Learn with Play @ home said...

I love my daughters long, beautiful hair. She gets comments on it all the time. It's sad to think that just because of being born a different gender, boys with the same glorious hair might be shamed etc. I don't know what we'll do with Noah's hair once it grows longer... I guess as parents of young children we are always making a choice, be it to cut it or to leave it (at least until they are old enough to voice an opinion). I know that Madeline (3.5 years) does NOT want her hair cut (well, she's asked for a hair cut, but only to "cut it longer" haha) so perhaps I'll see what Noah wants too. :)

Tammy said...

Hi Andie! I laughed out loud when I read your post. I love that you are allowing him to choose. I was the same way with my son, who always wanted a Princeton cut. My daughter on the otherhand was bald until she was three. I actually taped bows in her hair, taped! Scotch taped bows! And the people whould say what a cute litte boy I had. I had her ears pierced at 5 months and ribbons taped on her head, and she was still a "he" because of the lack of hair. I hate that people feel the need to conform to a set standard. It's boring and gray being like everybody else.

Gina said...

Love this post! My sister and I have had so many discussions about how to raise children without pointing them towards the path society wants them to go down. My son has his own baby doll, plays with "so-called" girl toys, and loves to bake. He also loves cars, gets dirty all of the time, and just learned how to play T-ball. Who created these stereotypes anyway? Love that you let your little guy make his own choices as well. What a great Mama! :)

tricia said...

This is thought-provoking- I had never viewed our kids' hair in this light!

lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool said...

This carnival is so great!!! I love that you point out other men with long hair - I have to remember this one. I don't do that often enough. Your son's hair is beautiful and he is so lucky to have such a peaceful and loving mama to support him and love him through his life.

The Monko said...

oh I love the quote about Hair being a tangle of mysterious prejudices, its so true. Thanks so much for organising this Carnival.

Sheri said...

Your love is so pure Andie, and I love that you instill a "You are perfect just the way you are" safe feeling in your little Bear. It definitely isn't the norm. It takes a lot of strength to go against the grain, and my hat goes off to you, and my heart goes off to you my friend!!

Rebekah said...

Such a beautiful post, Andie! You are teaching your son to be confident, and that alone is worth it.

Interesting point about children being shocked by the initial haircut. We did cut Miss E's hair for the first time even though she didn't really want to. Her hair is so thick and curly, that cutting it really helps me control it some. Thouh we didn't go with my husband's families tradition of shaving the hair completely off at one year old. I just worried so much that she would be completely upset if she saw herself in the mirror with no hair at all, and I couldn't that to her. I know she was only one but even at that age she expressed firm opinions and feelings, and I have to honor those.

Kimberly Sminkey said...

It really is a shame how such a stigma can be attached to our children over the length of their hair. If he is happy, let him be! I've always had my son's hair cut because I never really thought much about it except that 'it's what you're supposed to do'... I'm so glad you shared your thoughts and I'm sorry I hadn't given more thought to the whole process when mine were small. You might remember, last year I gave him his 1st mohawk and he loved it. Daddy hated it but I reminded him that he is expressing his individuality in a way that harms no one! Who cares what others think! My daughter was bald until age 3, we had the same reactions as some of the other comments above where people insisted on telling us what a handsome boy we had... even if she was wearing a pink dress with a bow in her hair! Because she was quite the little chunk, many men would comment that we had quite the bruiser on our hands... sign him up for football! People, they can make you so mad... but mom's like you are one in a million! Love ya Andie

Carrie said...

My nephew had long hair for many years. I remember visiting them and having his teacher having clipped it back for him so it wouldn't get in his eyes and to be cooler since they live in North Carolina. My sister felt how you do and she did not want to cut it at all anyway. My daughter and I have had similar discussions. After I get mine cut she wants hers cut like mine, but I explain she will lose her natural curly ends when we cut it (since I did), so she usually changes her mind. We just cut her bangs so she can see.Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday! I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Paula Boudreaux said...

I love your sons hair! I have 6 boys, and no girls...so when son number 4 came along, my husband refused to cut his hair. He has lovely soft brown hair and we didn't cut it until he started 4th grade! (well we trimmed it, but it was well past his waist, sometimes long enough to sit on)
Finally Eli asked to cut his hair, so we had it cut and donated the long ponytail to Locks of Love!
Eli is now 15 and only wears boots and wranglers, keeps his hair "high and tight" with a cap on ALL the time!

I miss his long hippie hair! So enjoy your sons beautiful hair!

Sylvia Phillips said...

Three years ago during the summer, Eyeron was "starring" in one of my other son's movies. He had to let his hair grow for the part because he was playing a little boy who got lost in the woods and had to survive for a long time. We had to keep his hair long for over a year because Big bro wanted to shoot winter and then summer scenes again. We thought he looked so cute with long hair that we kept it long for more than 2 years until he wanted to cut it himself!

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