32 answers

Son Won't Allow Hair Cut

My almost-three year old son will not allow his hair to be cut. We were able to get it cut twice with lots of screaming and fighting (at a salon), but the last time he was so violent in resisting the stylist was scared she'd hurt him. I've tried to cut it on the sly when he's in the bathtub, but the second he hears that scissor noise, it's all over. At the salon, we've tried it all: holding him in our laps, letting him see Daddy get a cut first, trying to distract him with a new toy or candy. I kind of like his hair on the longish side, because it's really wavy and adorable, but at some point it will have to be cut. I don't want to buzz it all off because it really is lovely hair. Any suggestions that have worked for you?

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Featured Answers

Hello S.,
Have you tried allowing him to cut a dolls hair? My daughter was the same way. I bought her a doll with long hair as well as some small scissors (made for children, but still sharp enough to cut the doll's hair) We pretended the doll was getting a hair cut, used a piece of material for a cape and I helped her give the dolls "1st hair cut". She saw it wasn't scary and decided it was ok to get her hair cut too. Good Luck!

Have you tried to take him to one of the kid-specific salons? They are amazing. There is so much to distract them they don't have time to put up a huge fight (usually). It might be worth a try - although it can be a little spendy. My girlfriend took her 3 yr old son, who was completely out of control for all prior cuts, and he did pretty well!

Good Luck!!!!

Hi S.,
try "Snip & snap" for kids on Bell between Reems and Parkview.
They specialize in kids haircuts and do portraits. You can get just a cut if you want though. They have a play area and video games, an aquarium and any movie or dvd that the kids want to watch. Most of the stylists are trained to deal with scared children. Good Luck.
K.

More Answers

do you have to cut it? obviously he doesn't want it cut. what would be the problem if you don't cut his hair? i am more of the "consensual living" type of person - i try to respect my little one's wishes as much as possible even though some would ask why since she is "only" 13 months old. but she is a person and just because she is young doesn't mean her opinion of what she likes/dislikes is any less valid than mine. i am sure one day he will want it cut and until then i would just enjoy his beautiful hair.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same problem with cutting toe nails on my little girl. I actually let her cut one of my fingernails with the clipper and she felt much more comfortable with the process. Maybe if you let him cut a little of his own hair he might feel a little more in control of the situation? Just be prepared for a little bit of a funny looking spot, but it will grow back :) BUT also make sure he knows that he can only use scissors on his hair is with an adult present! Good luck :)
T.

My 2 1/2 year old son is the very same way. The way that I have found to do it is to keep it longer such as the style today and trim it every once in a while when he is taking his nap. I wait until he is deeply asleep then just carefully trim it. There are times where it takes 2 days to cut because he wakes up in the middle of it, but even then it is less stressful for both me and him. You could try cutting it at night as well if he dosent take a nap. Hope this helps and good luck.

We are frequent visitors to the hair salon. My son has tons of hair and had his first haircut at 8 months old. We have been just about every other month since then and he is now four. We have tried every hair salon on this planet and it never matters where we take him, he has a fit! (I did the same thing when I was a child!)

Last November, we needed to get my son's haircut. We were leaving the next day to go to Disneyland and it was 7:00 at night! We went to three salons and they were all busy. We ended up going to Supercuts. My son never moved, never cried, he didn't kick and scream like always. I about fell off my rocker! I couldn't believe it! TO make a long story short, I think he just matured! I also did not go over to the chair with him, I watched from the waiting area. I really don't know what the difference was, but last month when his bangs were starting to go in his eyes he said, "Mom, I need to go to Supercuts!" I just think he will outgrow it and until then keep trying different salons until you find one he feels comfortable at!

Your son is 2. He will change. I would keep the first experience positive - it's not worth the trauma. Use conditioner and put it in a pony tail. If you can't stand that, some malls have places specifically for kids. They're a little Disney-ish for my taste, but could be worth it for you. Lots of distractions and people who are used to kids. My husband cut off my son's ponytail when he was 3. He was so upset about his hair looking awful and uneven, he let a friend "clean it up". lol

We started our kids haircuts at 4 months so they were used to it. My gut is that you'll have to let him cut it himself....yes, give him the scissors, so he sees how cool it is (!) and how it doesn't hurt. IF, he promises to let you "fix" the rough spots when he's done.
You may have to get over the longer cut and admit he might need a buzz in the end (it grows back quickly.) You can give him a long buzz with a long comb (guide) on the end of the clippers. That can be done - his whole head - in a matter of a minute or less. That can be the fixing part. I think if he has an active role in cutting his hair, at least until he's over his fear, you'll find he can tolerate the "fixing" part alot better.
And, of course, bribes and rewards are a must for this type of a transition....good luck! I can't wait to see what works.

Hello S.,
Have you tried allowing him to cut a dolls hair? My daughter was the same way. I bought her a doll with long hair as well as some small scissors (made for children, but still sharp enough to cut the doll's hair) We pretended the doll was getting a hair cut, used a piece of material for a cape and I helped her give the dolls "1st hair cut". She saw it wasn't scary and decided it was ok to get her hair cut too. Good Luck!

Have you tried any of the kid salons yet? They have cars for them to sit in and they have cartoons playing right at their station. It helps to keep them distracted. We've gone to Cool Cuts 4 Kids.

did you say that "as soon as he hears the scissors he freak? ever considered putting on headphone set to hear of any music of his choosing? then cut it or have it cut

Hi S.,

I had the same problem with my son. When he was yonger, I took him to a barber shop, he was fine for the wait but got really stressed by the time he got a cut. We tried Dad holding him on his lap, me holding him on my lap and the treat (candy, fruit snacks, snacks ect.) but that did not help. We would leave as soon as we got there with no results. We found a "Sports Buzz Cuts" shop that specilise in Family cuts and the atmousphier is great. Now when he wants a special cut (he got one for Monster trucks that took 2 hours of detail) we can go to the Barber with no problem. When you go to a salon, ask for someone who has experience with children, don't spend alot of time waiting for your turn either, it makes the child stress out more.

Good Luck!

my son had the same problem -the only place I have been able to take him is in Mesa on Power and Baseline -its a kids salon and they have games and movies he can watch while they cut his hair -its a little expensive, $13, but he sits still the whole time -He loves going there now :0)

S. I feel your pain. My husband is a barber and to his amazement his own grandson did the same thing. He is now 4 but still give Papa a hard time. We first cut his hair while he was sleeping. It took ALOT of patience but that worked for a while. Then decided that it was the buzzers that he hated. So we started by putting the buzzer on his hand, so he could see that it didn't hurt. All the child understands is that a noise is going on behind his head and thinks it is cutting him.

My husband is an excellant barber and great with kids, so most of the time when a young one comes into the Salon/Shop he gets them. He actually becomes their friend. So try taking your son into the salon without getting a hair cut allowing him to get relaxed going there. Hope it works.

Mema

Hi S.,

After seeing this at a salon, I started letting my son watch his favorite video while I cut his hair and giving him a sucker (he wasn't alowed any candy regularly, so this was a big treat) either during or after the haircut. Basically it's the carrot in front of the horse thing. You need to find his button (whatever his favorite things are and hold them until haircut time). If he wants them bad enough then he will sit still. It is always helpful for your husband to be there for moral support, helping him to sit still and to be the bad guy. Keep it fun, that will take the stress off you as well. Stay strong, don't give him any options. He will probably get use to it and even look forward to it after while.
The above tips are also good for anything else he doesn't like to do such as potty training, clean up, baths, etc...

Success

My son was the same. The first couple times we tried, we just had to leave the salon, he was freaking out so badly. We tried everything, too. My friends give their son's a lollipop to eat during the cut and that seems to work for them, but not for my son.

We ended up having Daddy buzz it at home and then it was so short that we didn't need to deal with it again for a long time. After Daddy did 3 or 4 haircuts, he would let a stylists do it at one of those kid's places while his sister got hers done, too. You might have to say goodbye to the pretty hair for a while and just bite the bullet and buzz it! :) Or, learn to like it long!

My son is the same age with the same problem. And he sees me all the time cutting Daddy's hair, so I don't get it. We go to CoolCuts4Kids. They're super fast and just do a classic boys cut. He pretty much crys throught the whole process, but its over in 5 minutes. They have movies, toys, candy, everything to distract. I'm thinking it's just their age and they don't understand what's going on. Next time I'm going to get play scissors and have him "cut" a dolly's hair. Good luck.

I took my daughter for her first haircut to Little Chops. It is a place just for kids. The have fun planes and cars for chairs and they get to pick out a movie to watch while they get their hair cut. You might want to check to see if they have something similar in your area. Or maybe have him look in a magazine for a hair style that he likes. If he chooses it himself, he might be more willing to sit and have his hair cut.

Good luck to you.

You've got some good options, I'll mention one more -- cut it yourself.

When my youngest was two-ish he also would not sit still for a hair cut. So I bought an electric razor and a hair cuting kit ( at Target, I think) and a bag of lolipops. He was only allowed a loli if he sat still while I cut his hair. I learned to do a passable pageboy on him, and since he wouldn't sit still in the salon, the edges were straighter when I cut his hair. This way, we could work thru the wiggles or fits without me being tempted to give in to his behavior so that I wouldn't be embarrassed in public.

Eventually, he managed to sit still voluntarily for a haircut at the barber shop, I think that happened around first grade age, and now goes without fuss.

I had a similar experience with my son at the dentist. We thought the drill was hurting him however come to find out it was the noise of the drill that caused my son to let's say "not want to cooperate". You mentioned the "sound of the Scissors" so maybe you could have him listen to some music with earphones and not have a mirror around when cutting his hair. The sight of the scissors still may trigger him to react.

Good luck!!

Hi S.,
try "Snip & snap" for kids on Bell between Reems and Parkview.
They specialize in kids haircuts and do portraits. You can get just a cut if you want though. They have a play area and video games, an aquarium and any movie or dvd that the kids want to watch. Most of the stylists are trained to deal with scared children. Good Luck.
K.

Sounds like you have covered all the bases.

Have you considered letting his hair grow? Sounds like it has turned into a nightmare, for you and him, and may be now a control issue. I would ask myself, "Is it worth fighting about?" What is the worst that will happen if he has long hair for awhile? You might decide to let him decide if/when he wants it cut. Just a thought.

Don't sweat the small stuff. It is amazing how much difference a couple of months makes in a small child. My boy did the same thing then we just decided to let his hair grow out. In the mean time, we would take him to the mall and walk by whenever a small child was getting his hair cut and just say "wow he is a big boy he looks so cute". In no time at all he wanted to be a big boy and wanted his hair cut. Scissors can be very scary to a little child. Hope this advice helps.
S. Parker

S., here's a very O.T.-ish response, so sorry ahead of time.
There are many possible reasons for your son's behavior, and depending on the reason changes how you respond to it.
Is it a learned behavior? Was the first time mildly scary or unpleasant in some way, and each new time does his reaction grow worse and worse?
Is it sensory-defensiveness? Is he sensitive to other types of contact (doesn't like his back rubbed? His hair brushed? The feel of rice on his tongue? etc.)
Is it aggression? Does he react this violently in other situations? Is there someone else in his life who behaves aggressively?
Is it his "job?" Has fighting a haircut become a major topic of conversation in the house, and now he maybe believes he's supposed to resist?
Sorry, more questions than suggestions...
T

My son is 2 1/2 and has issues with getting his hair cut also. We've tried the same things you have. What's working for us now is that we have somebody come to the house. We got lucky because my sister-in-law has a friend who used to be a beautician. We call her to do everybody's hair at once. She comes to the house and while we're there she cuts both of my nephews hair while my son is playing. While she's doing that I just make sure my son sees his cousins getting their hair cut and I comment on how they're such big boys, how they're not crying, and how proud of them I am. Then when it's his turn he fusses a little, but for the most part he does ok. The other big help is that we do it in front of the TV and I either let him pick the movie or what really helped the last time was that my brother was watching something new and that really took his attention off of what was going on. I also don't make him wear the cape. For some reason that really seems to bother him. I let him keep it off and then I take a clean shirt and wash him off really quick before putting the new shirt on. (the hair gets everywhere and sticks to his neck and really bothers him!) The lady that cuts his hair uses baby powder on his neck to kind of help get it off. Maybe you could get some of his friends/family together that are some what similar and age and find somebody that would be willing to come to your house. If it were enough people and enough money you might be able to find someone who is willing to make a "house call"! GOOD LUCK! I feel your pain. We don't like our son's hair long so we go through this a lot. The first 2 times he did great and after that I think people thought we were killing him with the way he carried on and screamed.

A little about me: I'm a SAHM. I have an almost 3yr old son who is the light of my life and am expecting another one in May! I've been married to my wonderful husband for almost 6 yrs!

My son was nicked getting a hair cut about two years ago. He was 3 at the time. For the last two years we have only been able to cut his hair when he is asleep. It is really hard to do and hard to get it straight, but that is what we had to do. We tried food, tv, buying toys as a reward and NOTHING worked. He is almost 5 and has finally started to get better. The last two times we have been able to cut it with him awake. He doesn't like it and still cries, but he doesn't jerk about like he used to. I know how frustrating this is!! Good luck!!!

Have you tried to take him to one of the kid-specific salons? They are amazing. There is so much to distract them they don't have time to put up a huge fight (usually). It might be worth a try - although it can be a little spendy. My girlfriend took her 3 yr old son, who was completely out of control for all prior cuts, and he did pretty well!

Good Luck!!!!

Well I am Native American, Navajo and Paiute, so I'd say let it grow, but that's just what we are used to. Sounds like he is really terrified of the process, so why don't you just give it some time and soon he'll let you know when he wants a hair cut. Traditionally, we don't cut our children's hair until they have started to speak clearly. Their hair is the strength and an extension of them. If his hair is really bothersome and maybe too thick to manage long, salons do have a "texture" or thinning tool. It is a comb with hidden blades inside of it and they simply run it through your hair like they are combing your hair and it cuts every other hair to give texture. My son has very thick coarse hair but he wants it long and plays sports so the salon used the comb on him, he loves it now.

My daughter strongly resisted getting her hair trimmed for a long time. By pure luck I happened to take her to a place where the stylist suggested using a razor to cut her hair instead of scissors (no noise with a razor). I brought along a portable DVD player with one of her favorite movies to distract her. I also let her have a lollipop which was a special treat for her. The only place she ever has lollipops is at the hair salon. I took her to get her haircut a couple of weeks ago and she climbed up in the chair and sat down with no problems. She has a cute little bob and pixie bangs. It took a year to get to this point, but she's not afraid any longer and she even tolerates the scissors when they are necessary.

Have you tried any of the kid friendly salons, like Kids Kuts or some of those? They let the kids play video games or watch a movie sometimes they can even sit in a car chair. My son was like that and this helped quite a bit. These places are more expensive, but worth the price.

I have been doing hair for 18 years. Whenever I have a child come in for a haircut and they are afraid I have a strategy I use. Do you have a patient stylist/barber?
First don't call it a hair"cut",because "cuts" hurt. Then let him go in and watch you and your family get your hair "done".Then let him look at the scissors but not hold them. Have your stylist turn on the clippers and let him hold them(with help) and feel the vibration.There are a lot of steps,but it does work.Just go slow.Do 1 thing per visit and don't use clippers for awhile.Yes it takes a while to overcome this fear but it is worth it.

We have a 2 year old who has very curly hair and does not like anything done with his hair, wash, brush, cut, etc. However, we just had our 3rd haircut at Lollilocks on Baseline and Val Vista and he now LOVES getting his haircut. They have lollipops and more importantly it is meant for kids so he can get his hair cut driving a truck, riding an elephant, etc. It is great and worth every penny b/c now he enjoys going. Check it out...

My almost three year old boy is pretty much the same way. My husband and my father have both tried taking him to barbers with no success. We usually cut his hair at home anyway though. I've found that he tolerates the scissors much better than the clippers, but he doesn't like either. The best way we've found is that when I start noticing it's time for a haircut I just keep asking him. Every time I think of it I'll say "do you want to get your hair done?" (I've heard that you should say hair done because of the implications that the word "cut" has to the little ones.. imagine volunteering to go get cut as they understand the word.") Then eventually he'll say yes with a little convincing most times. We'll sit him down in front of a movie to distract him and cut away. Usually we have to keep convincing him the whole time... he'll look so handsome when he's done, we'll go play in just a minute, etc. It always gets done or at least most of it.

Try Cool Cuts.
www.coolcuts4kids.com
I've had good experience there and I bet with a case like your son they'd be willing to let him come in and just get a style or something so he got comfortable, and maybe when it's time to cut he'll be more at ease.
If sitting in a race car while he watches his favorite movie or plays his favorite video game doesn't work, I say buzz. Hair grows back, and it will be a while before he needs a cut again in that case.
Good luck,
nessa

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