Does 5 Yr Old Girl Need Further Discipline for Cutting Hair?

Updated on October 25, 2010
P.L. asks from Fairfax Station, VA
18 answers

So my daughter was sick for a long time! I realize the anitibiotics and other meds she was on made her act out and act differently but she has been med free since friday morning. She seemed to be acting her normal happy self this weekend. Sunday wasn't bad although she did have couple time outs.
we get home from church, yes it's past her bedtime so I was helping her get ready for bed and she started brushing her teeth(or so I thought). I ran to laundry toom to start dryer and when I get back she's all done, yay. I checked her teeth looked clean and her breath was minty :)
Anywhoo as I was taking out her hair tyes, huges clumps of hair fell into sink. She claimed she was shedding(uh-huh).
She denied any wrongdoing so I gave her a 5 min think time. Afterwards we talked and I was trying to explain that playing with scissors or knives is DANGEROUS. I also said I was disappointed that she lied to mommy and cut her hair. I asked if she didn't like her hair or wanted a haircut? Nada.
Then as she was going to bed she said she didn't want bangs. I said she didn't have bangs but if she had cut the front of her hair she would have them. Since it was late and past her bedtime I said we could talk about it in the morning and decied what a fair punishment would be woith playing with scissors and not asking or having mommy or daddy there.
What should the punishment be?

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So What Happened?

Well the scissors were on top shelf in medcicine cabinet.. as for spanking me? what? sheesh. Do you all keep your butter knives and kitchen utensils on top shelves in the kitchen??????? As for sharpes what about pens and pencils. I dont have babies or toddlers in my home so when my FIVE year old could open baby gates, I took the one in the kitchen down and try and keep all sharps out of her reach. Including her kiddie scissors on top shelf in the arts n craft room. Anywhoo.
If you think about it a lot of things are dangerous for kids and I dont have enough bubble wrap to put in the house, oh wait we have front porch steps that are cement, what do i do with those? Put rugs outside. HEY! There's a sidewalk in front too, maybe I should put something soft outside surround the house? Sorry but its been a long day and to say that mommy needs a spanking is DUMB. We cant coddle our kids and be hovering parents. Um how would they learn? Anywways yes the scissors were on the top shelf, now they are in the trash just cause they pissed me off.
I like the soap idea for lying. I wdefinately do not stand for lying. We tried vinegar and hot sauce in the past but they did no good. I am going to let her go to school tommorw tomorrow with the haircut she gave herself. Also in the morning reiterate the importance of how dangerous things like knives, scissros are and other utensils like that. Maybe I shoul warn her teacher, in a class of 21 students any kiddie scissors out could be lethal. hahahaha. I have to joke about it or i would go insane. Time to wash some dishes..

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answers from Washington DC on


For what it's worth, I wouldn't punish her. She cut "her" hair. So that part is done. I realize she shouldn't have lied but it seems like you came out pretty harsh and she knew that would happen. A week or so from now take her to get her hair fixed and then drop the issue.

As for the scissors, really? Kids find all sorts of everyday dangers that why we warn them. But you can't monitor her every second of the day. She's 5. I'm certain she knows how to use scissors properly. Just maybe not when.

I promise you that a year from now you will look back on this and laugh.

Good luck.
(mom of 3 hair-cutting, body-sharpie-marking, keys-in-outlet-putting boys)

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answers from Boise on

my opinion is to keep in mind her age and her ability to reason. You don't want to overpunish when kids that age can't really think ahead of the consequences of their actions all the time. Their imaginations are very, very wild at this age and they still have trouble differentiating between imagination and reality.

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answers from Washington DC on

Let her go to school with her new do. The kids will be brutal and she will have a natural consequence. THen you can make a hairdresser appt to get it cut short.
I shaved my son's head for doing this. My daughter got a really short boy cut. They both hated it really bad. I said that is what you get for using scissors on your head.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

This is kind of a rite of passage for little kids (girls especially), isn't it? I think I'd focus more on the lying than the cutting. Tell her your dissapointed she lied and that lying is totally unacceptable. I always tell my girls that they'll get in WAY more trouble if they lie about what they did, than for the act alone.

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answers from Boston on

My punishment would be a haircut to even out the clumps that she cut out herself. My 5 year old would be so mad to have short hair again (she's been growing it for about 1.5 years).

As for the lying, I would explain (again) why lying is unacceptable. I would give a secondary punishment for the lying (extra chore?) but honestly, I understand why she lied; she knew she was going to get in a ton of trouble for cutting her hair. Not excusing it, of course, but I probably would have lied in that situation too!

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answers from Detroit on

Swats for playing with scissors?? What about kids craft scissors? That's what my daughter uses, and I don't put them away. But that's another topic altogether. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. I'm sure if you took a poll of parents of teenage girls asking how many of their girls cut their hair or the hair of a sibling or friend, you'd be overwhelmed at how many have done it. It's sort of a rite of passage. It doesn't make it right. But I wouldn't make an enormous deal out of it. It certainly sounds like you have an awesome tool to use in regards to the bangs thing. Just tell her in the morning that Mommy is very serious that if she does it again, she's getting bangs. I'm pretty sure that would curb the entire hair cutting problem. In regards to the lying, your options are varied. In our house (and we're a non-spanking house), anything involving the mouth (bad words, lying, sassing) gets punished with a hint of soap on the tongue or, if their older, a drop of hot sauce. Also completely curbs the problem :) Good luck!!

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answers from Las Vegas on

I don't think any additional punishment is needed. She had a 5-minute time out and you have talked to her a lot about the being her own hair stylist situation and her not telling you the truth. I think that was appropriate and enough for now. Also, I think you should take into account that practically every little girl on the face of this Earth has probably tried to trim her own hair at one point or another. It's almost a rite of passage.

Wishing you and your 5-year old "shear genius" wonderkind all the best.

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answers from Tulsa on

my opinion is swats for playing with anything sharp but they also should not have been in her reach

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answers from Williamsport on

Don't do anything else. I'm not sure if you had clear "no scissors, no lying" rules in place, but even if so, a consequence the next day would be obnoxious. And if this is the first time she's done it (with no advance warning from you for those specific actions) she shouldn't get more than a very clear direction and warning not to do it again.

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm assuming this is the first time this has happened yes? It's unlikely that she has the cognitive skills to put 2 and 2 together and realize that it's not ok for her to use the scissors. I'd leave it at the lecture but come down on her like a ton of bricks if you find her playing with scissors or knives again.

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answers from Atlanta on

No I'm sorry I don't believe in putting ANYTHING away from children within reason of course. She is five years old. I have 7 1/2 year old twin girls and from a VERY young age they were taught to leave things alone because I felt like I should be able to take my children over to someone elses home and not have to worry about them breaking something. Its teachable and its exhausting but by 5 mine knew what the word No~ no touch meant and what would happen if they didn't listen.
Also my neice cut her hair down to the scalp pretty much when she was 5 or 6 with those kiddie scissors-we still don't know really how but they are still scissors and still can cut. My twins also got hold of a pair of scissors too and cut their hair as well-not as bad as my neice but it was pretty bad-I think EVERY single kid at some point in time gets a hold of a pair of scissors and whacks away-I remember doing it as a kid myself. No big deal momma-just make sure you discipline her as you would anything else. This is no different and I cannot believe others on this post-sometimes they act like they should get a mom of the year award-I KNOW I'm not perfect and neither are my kids and I surely don't rant on someone else for being neglectful or whatever. There is a big difference in being neglectful and something like this just happening.
Kids will fall down, kids will lose teeth, kids will do all sorts of stupid things and as parents we can't always be there every single second and these things just happen-you have to give them the tools to deal in certain aspects of life-you as the parents are not the tool for them to run to. Only the kids with hoova around parents will they ever NOT get into trouble/accidents or things that just happen and you know what when faced in the real world they won't have what it have to make mistakes in order to "learn" from them so yes I watch my kids but I don't get involved in every single thing either because they need to learn from it!!! Fortunately they "could have" been worse but wasn't-count your blessings! Don't worry about these others-I can tell you are a good mom just from your post but as always you gotta have the haters in here too-lol! Take it with a grain of salt.

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answers from Dallas on

Honestly, I was one of those kids that was always cutting on my hair from an early age. The worst punishment is walking around with some crazy hair! One time when I was about twelve, I cut my hair really short and then put a tight curly perm in my hair...use your imagination. My mom would not let me wear a hat to cover it up.

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answers from Denver on

1. I think every little girl tries to imitate a hairdresser. Mine did. On her little brother.

2. I always emphasize the rule is scissors are for paper only. Makes it plain as day that paper is OK, everything else is not. Like the living room pillows, hair, curtains, etc.

3. A pixie cut would seem to be in order...she'll get to see who is supposed to use scissors on hair -maybe have the hairdresser talk about how many hours she trained, show off her license and demonstrate how different the scissors are from 'normal' scissors to make the point. And a short haircut is a good natural consequence of using scissors incorrectly.

PS, loved your update :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi - I have two teen girls and, yes, this is NORMAL. While I risk sounding like a broken record, rather than thinking about "punishing" her, please consider a natural, reasonable and related/relevant consequence. She didn't do anything "bad" - punishment (hate the word) can only lead to shame - think about your own childhood. When my daugther did this at about age 6, the consequence was walking around for a while with a goofy haircut. She then pitched-in a dollar or two to get a haircut at the salon. She never cut her hair again (of course, there were several conversations as well about what she could do differently next time she didn't like her hair - discussing an alternate strategy for any undesirable behavior is always good). She is lying (again natural, natural) to protect herself. Ask her what she thinks the consequence for doing this should be - see what she says. It will make a HUGE difference in her attitude. Work it out together as opposed to "taking opposite sides." Whenever I do this with my daughters (much harder when they're teens), the results are amazing. They are part of the solution and it really builds trust. I encourage you to start that process now since this is not a major deal. She is a good kid, you're a good mom - you can figure out a productive way to resolve. Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

Well...I think almost all girls about her age cut their hair. My daughter at that age cut the front super short and I had to make an emergency run to have it fixed somewhat. I didn't punish her besides the speech about scissors. The short hair cut was a bit of punishment in and of itself. So, I wouldn't stress about it too much -- one thing if you are worried is to put away all but the safety scissors for awhile. Then, if she cuts her hair with the safety scissors, she won't hurt herself. My daughter, yes, cut a piece of her hair after the major hair disaster. I would ask her though if anyone at school is teasing her about her hair or if she wants her hair like another girl at school. In my daughter's case, the teacher was bothering her about her hair being in her face and my daughter hates anything in her hair, so she decided to cut bangs into her hair to get the teacher off her back without wearing barrettes or ponytails. We solved that by buying her head bands, which she found more comfortable.



answers from Washington DC on

Definitely let her go to school with her new haircut! I'm glad you're beginning to laugh about this now. Once you're removed even further from the situation you will laugh even more. My girls are 9 and 7 now, and I actually have a fond memory of when my then 5 year old cut my 3 year olds hair. She gave her a lopsided mullet! The funniest part was she TRULY thought she was doing me a favor - I had been saying that the little one needed a hair cut for weeks! I began to watch what I said a little more after that. My 3 year old had school pictures less than a week later (of course) and to this day that picture makes me laugh. Even better, the poor thing had a broken arm with a big green cast. She looked like a mess. It's amazing no one called CPS on me. Anyway, as long as you showed your disapproval then I think that's enough. My kids have never done that again. Oh, and for the record, she did use kiddie scissors to massacre her sister's hair. Kids.....



answers from Minneapolis on

Maybe what you are searching for is your daughter to feel badly about doing something wrong? I know I've felt like that many times. I've wanted to discipline harsher to get what should be the desired response -- but then I realized that my child would be responding to my discipline *not* the crime. So it really isn't doing anything for her but for me.

Sometimes you do something wrong - and nothing happens. That's just part of life. Sometimes you get a little break. I would think having weird hair is embarassing and will teach a good lesson. This way she focuses on the haircutting. If you gave a harsher punishment, it would run the risk of focusing on what you did (punishment) instead of what she did. (use scissors without supervision).

Did that help any?



answers from Tulsa on

Kids cut hair, it's like it's in their gene's or something. K's hair in her 4 year old picture was below her waist and dried in slightly loose long curls, It was beautiful. She cut it 7 times over the next 3 months.

The first time she cut it was at Head Start with the safety scissors while doing crafts. She cut the entire left side of her hair off even with her left ear. It was still long behind the ear so I just trimmed it short on both sides in front of her ears.

The next time she cut her hair was at the farm while we were house sitting for my FIL while he was traveling. He had scissors in the oddest places and we missed a pair of them. She cut a huge chunk out of he back middle, again,I could cover it up with just a bit of a trim.

The next time she cut it was again at Head Start. She had a plasti-band ponytail holding her front hair out of her face and she took the scissors and cut straight down in front of the plasti-band. So, when I took it out that evening all the hair came out in the band and she looked like a Cockatiel bird on top. I was so distraught I puked and left for about an hour to get myself under control.

Her b-day is in the Fall and in the late Winter we had pictures made and her hair was so short on top it wouldn't lay down without lots of hairspray and hair gel. The pictures turned out fine but I look back and think "What could I have done differently"? There was nothing. Putting the scissors up did nothing, she found scissors other places. Spanking did nothing, it was an impulse and kids don't have very good impulse control, it's a learned skill. it comes with age.

My BFF has a daughter just 3 1/2 months older than K and she just cut her hair for the first time last week, at 7 years old. It looks awful too but she likes it, just loves that it sticks up straight on top. Her mom slicks it down with hair gel and puts a headband on it to keep it looking somewhat normal.

There is nothing that you could do to keep her from cutting her hair, anyone who says different doesn't understand the impulses of children.It was bound to happen.

I say talk to her again, maybe ground her from her favorite toys for the day after school with the understanding that she is not allowed to have scissors in her hands unless she has direct supervision by an adult.

You also have the opportunity to teach her that the consequences of telling the truth gets less consequences than being untruthful. You can decide about that but I would absolutely give a punishment for lying.

The other time she cut hair...we had just paid actual money to get J his first haircut to a boy cut. It was adorable, for about an hour, she cut his hair with my pinking shears from my sewing machine drawer. The sewing machine, serger, and ironing board are all strictly off limits, but if she had even slipped the tiniest bit he would have had a scar and stitches.

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