Parents want the best for their kids, but so many parenting methods contradict. That’s how some parents with the best intentions may make mistakes with their kids. That’s what happened when one single dad took to Reddit to ask: “Was I wrong to cut my daughter’s hair?”
Parents give out empty threats all the time, even though they are usually unhelpful. It’s recommended to follow through on promises, which is what this father did. He told his kid that if she doesn’t take care of her hair, he’d cut it off. When he followed through, many Reddit users answered his question with “Yes, you were wrong.”
Single Dad Cuts His Daughter’s Hair
The single dad begins by explaining the situation. His daughter is seven with long hair to her navel. He warned her on countless occasions that if she doesn’t brush her hair twice a day, he was going to cut it short. He describes every morning is as a battle. The girl’s birth mother was on board with the haircut. Keep in mind, the father is not a stranger to long hair, since his goes past his chest, and he’s shown her how to brush it. He views her caring for her own hair as a responsibility for cleanliness.
“I told her that I can do it, and so can she,” he wrote. “I’ve shown her multiple times how I bring my hair over my chest to brush the bottom, which she doesn’t have the dexterity to do. I brush from the bottom and slowly work my way up.” 
One morning, after yet another argument, he followed through on his threat.
“I cut her hair to about an inch below her shoulders,” he wrote. “She was devastated. She continued to cry for another hour as I drove her to my parents place to watch her as I went to work. My mother and my sister both got very upset with me. My mom told me I’m going to ruin my daughter if I don’t start taking parenting classes and that cutting her hair was completely unnecessary.” 
He then asked Reddit for honest feedback on his reaction, asking if he had overreacted, or if he should have given more warnings before snipping.
Reddit’s Advice — and Rebuke
And Reddit answered.
Many people didn’t disagree with him giving her the consequence, and appreciated that he gave her a shoulder-length trim instead of shaving her head. However, they scolded the single dad for “cutting it in the heat of the moment. Saying ‘Okay, well, we’ve talked about this fifty times so tonight after work we’re going to have to cut it’ and then doing it later would have been a better approach.”
Some who agreed with him also had their hair cut as a child or dealt with a similar issue with their kids who were not ready for the responsibility of long hair. After all, long hair tangles easily and most kids don’t enjoy the boring and sometimes painful process of brushing it out.
Some argued that she shouldn’t have to be responsible for her hair at this age. Others gave him hair advice, like detangling sprays, conditioner, and wearing it in braids. Some seemed to think that seven-year-olds are perfectly capable of taking care of their own hair.
One user gave advice for how to move forward. “I suggest you sit down with your daughter and apologize for what happened. I think it would cheer her up if you helped her do something fun with her new hair… It’s important that you let your daughter express herself and taking her long hair away from her dramatically changes her appearance.” 
The Single Dad’s Response
The single dad returned with an update. There were details he had omitted in his first message he wanted to clarify.
“I do brush her hair every morning and for the last three years, she has complained about the tangles hurting. I’ve seen a lot of suggestions for conditioner and new brushes, but the ones we have were purchased with her in mind from a salon.”
Years ago, he had begun talking with her about how people with long hair need to put in extra effort to maintain it. He’s been trying to get her to start brushing, but he didn’t expect her to take over the job herself. However, this didn’t work. “She puts no effort into it and puts the brush down and wanders off to play games and this is where the argument comes in. She doesn’t have to be self-sufficient, but she needs to at least try.”
He’s also taken her to a salon to get her hair professionally cut. The single dad vows not to snip her hair again and has apologized to her. Fortunately, the daughter seems to be doing well. “She seems to have bounced back already. She’s not upset anymore. I guess the initial trauma struck her hard this morning.”
He also clarified one horrific assumption people were making about the situation. “I did not HOLD MY DAUGHTER DOWN. I told her to go get the scissors, she did, handed them to me, and I told her to sit down in front of me.”
His main take away from this experience is a lesson for all parents. “I think what I can learn from this is to set clear boundaries and consequences and always follow through with a cool head.”
This is a great way for parents with the best of intentions to ensure their actions are only beneficial to their children. Kids often require different methods of discipline but all need well-defined boundaries and consequences dealt with calmness and love. Kudos to the single dad for learning from his mistakes and looking for ways to improve his parenting skills.
- “Single Dad Follows Through With Threat of Cutting 7-Year-Old Girl’s Hair After Warning Her To Care for It.” Café Mom. Lauren Gordon. June 25, 2020.
- “Dad Followed Through With Threat To Cut Daughter’s Hair Saying She Couldn’t Take Care Of It.” Moms. July 1, 2020.
- “Was I wrong to cut my daughter’s hair?” Reddit.