I want to talk a little bit about something that we struggled with as a family for a few years: J’s hair. I, personally, don’t mind when little boys have long hair. While I don’t prefer it, with the way things were going with J and his tantrums, it was something I was going to just roll with for as long as we could to avoid an epic meltdown.
Now, you might be thinking “a haircut? Big deal”, but oh, it was a very, very big deal. His meltdowns could happen over literally nothing and could last up to an hour, so I was always avoiding giving him an actual reason for a tantrum.
J has always been very sensitive and he has had some sensory issues that we have worked through, but when he was a year and a half, we agreed that we had to give him a haircut. His hair was getting a little out of control. So while I was ready to just let it grow because he kept saying he “doesn’t want a hair cut” and was having tantrums and meltdowns on an hourly basis, my husband insisted it was time we do something about his crazy hair and I finally caved. He is such a precious little boy with the most perfect face so I wanted to be able to see it without his hair always getting in the way.
So we sat him down, showed him the buzzer, the scissors, and the combs that we were going to be using. He was okay with it until after the first buzz. Once he felt that hair tickling the back of his neck, he started crying. But at that point we had already shaved a section of hair off – we obviously couldn’t stop then. I offered him his kindle, a lollipop, ice cream, really whatever he wanted if he would just sit still and let us finish. But there was no consoling him – he was hysterical. He was throwing himself around and I had to physically hold him down while we finished the hair cut. Poor Rylie was home too, and she just kept asking what she could do to help (bless her big sister heart) but there was nothing we could do but power through.
As a mom, I always want my kids to feel happy and safe and loved and after that haircut I remember feeling like a failure because I know he did not feel happy or safe. He was uncomfortable, sad, angry, scared, and that truly broke my heart. But what was I supposed to do? Once we started, we could not stop. We had to at least make sure his hair was even.
It was over a year before he got another hair cut. His hair ended up getting so long that I could almost put it into a ponytail. I had so many people commenting on how I need to get his hair cut, but I could not bring myself to do it again. It wasn’t until he said that he was ready that I did eventually cut it (with scissors because I know he doesn’t like the buzzer and the scissors have a lot less pressure, in my opinion, since I could stop at any time).
Even now, I am still so traumatized by that hair cut that I am worried each time we go for a trim. It was a tough experience for all, and I am so happy to that he is working through all of his sensory issues. That one tough haircut, though, will always be something I remember.
I am so lucky that we are out of that stage of tantrums, but I want you to know that if you are dealing with a kid who has meltdowns, you are not alone. We dealt with it for 3 solid years with J, so I know how difficult and draining they can be. My only advice is to keep doing your best, and if it feels like maybe there’s an underlying issue, then look into talking to someone about it. Haircuts are not supposed to be traumatizing; but when you have kids, you never know what is going to be tough for them. You just have to roll with it and continue to put your kid’s needs first and remember “this too shall pass”.