General Question

cdwccrn's avatar

Should I insist my 11-year-old son get a haircut?

Asked by cdwccrn (3605points) October 19th, 2008 from iPhone

or forbid body piercing? Or tattoos? How about his choice of clothing?

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17 Answers

syz's avatar

An 11 year old should be living by your rules – if you say no, then no.

ccrash3's avatar

As a long-time Mom, I have learned that you need to pick and choose your battles. It’s just hair really. Kids at that age need to find ways to exert their independence, and that’s probably the case with your little dude. My kids all went through the hair thing and they turned out to be wonderful, working, educated adults. Of course, it’s your decision in the end, but consider the seriousness of it in relation to all the pressures he’s going to be dealing with very soon. Just my opinion! Good luck!

cdwccrn's avatar

I understand your point. I have learned about picking battles while raising another child. You are quite right. Hair is just hair.

marinelife's avatar

I say within certain limits let your child have as much independence as possible and choice as possible.

For me, body piercings at that age would be out absolutely (probably until 18).

As to hair, what about letting it go as long as possible.?

Clothing, I say as long as the kid meets school guidelines, let them express.

gimmedat's avatar

I am all about independence, within reason. I have an 11-year-old son whose hair happens to be really long right now. He’s getting a haircut tomorrow (just a trim, really) because he’s starting to look shaggy, and I don’t like it. I also have a 15-year-old with her nose pierced, who wants a star tattoo on her foot for her 16th birthday, and will probably get it. I also have a ten-year-old son who gets regular haircut because he has the most unruly hair ever, and I’m not with letting him be a walking Brillo pad. I’m pretty much okay with the choices about appearance my kids make, as long as they don’t look stupid, and I decide what’s stupid. Also, my kids know that if they choose to break house rules, any independence is GONE.

iwamoto's avatar

one thing to keep in mind, say no, and they’ll do it once you don’t have anything to say over it, mom wouldn’t let me play with transformers, next thing i know i bought a $175 transformer… (by the way, don’t show that sort of stuff to you S.O, you know how it is “what, you spent that much on a piece of plastic ? are you crazy ?!”)

skfinkel's avatar

I always thought the flurry over hair was misplaced. Hair can either be cut or grown out, and if it’s purple, again, it can grow out. No big deal—and it is his own body.

Same for clothes.

However, anything permanent is another question—at least for me. There, the answer would be simply no.

Hopefully, though, you have more to talk about—lots of interesting political things, financial things, educational things—and maybe you can redirect the discussion to some of these areas—so you can talk and have something else in your lives you can share and not only these control issues.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I have to agree with gimmedat. I would have to say, pick your battles and lay down the ground rules. Tattoos and piercings, most places will not do them without your permission. I cannot anyone wanting to be an adult living with something they thought was cool at 11. Think about it. I would be okay with letting an 11 year old draw on themselves with a sharpie to fake a tattoo.

My rule on hair was, if I can fix it with a credit card in under an hour, then I wasn’t going to worry about it. I would suggest letting his hair go, with the expectation that it would be washed and combed on a regular basis. Let him know beforehand that he’s expected to get his hair cut for christmas, if anyone dies, etc.

I found that being somewhat flexible with fixable choices helps position you as reasonable with kids, and leads them to better choices because they know they have some semblance of self-determination.

janbb's avatar

I agree with what others have said – hair is just hair and you have to pick your battles. I pretty much let my sons do what they wanted from when they were pre-teens as regards hair and that resulted in green hair, surfer cuts, etc. (one is now a Ph.D candidate and the other a very successful programmer.) Permanent body alterings are another thing entirely at that age.

Having said that, I wanted to grow my hair long at that age and my Mom said that when I was twelve, I could do what I wanted with it. That made getting to age 12 pretty special and I felt really grown up at that point. Maybe you want to set some kind of rule like that with your son so he knows he has something to look forward to.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Now that you mention it, janbb, my kids liked it when I gave them an age that they were allowed to do things if they chose. It can be a great way to say no without saying no.

augustlan's avatar

I let my children decide on their hair and clothes (within limits-nothing too revealing,etc.), and I let my 14 year old get her ear cartiledge pierced. Tattoos and any other piercings are a “No” until they’re adults.

jtvoar16's avatar

Let them learn the way life intended them to learn:
With turmoil and difficulties.
They are /human/ after all, and the only way anyone ever learns anything, being a human, is doing it the hard way.
When they are 40, if they make it that far, and they see the sagging tattoo, they’ll know they screwed up, and thus, lesson learned.
Isn’t that why we are all here?

janbb's avatar

The other things I was allowed to do at a certain age was have my ears pierced. That was at 14, but it was also many years ago.

One thing I did with my kids which worked really well for all of us was give them a clothing allowance at age 15. I would give them a budget for the season and as long as they stayed within that budget, they could get what they wanted. It worked really well, we had never really fought about styles (was that because they were boys?), but we did about money and this way, it put the decision making in their hands. “If I want to pay $75 for a pair of shorts, I won’t have it to spend on t-shirts, so maybe I’ll wait ‘til the sales.” I thought several battles were averted and lessons learned from this policy.

Judi's avatar

My daughter wishes I would have been more picky about her wardrobe. I let her choose pretty much what ever she wanted to wear. She was the “Punky Brewster” kid and I guess took a lot of flack for it. Of course I didn’t know at the time, but she tells me now.
I do think it depends on the kid. If your kid tends to be a leader, then I would probably let him explore his individuality some more. If you know (and it’s hard for a parent to admit) that your kid is a follower, I would help him to question their choices and maybe even limit their choices more.

deaddolly's avatar

The advice of learning to choose your battles is excellent. Kids need to find things out for themselves….hair, piercings etc are just a form of expression. They don’t harm anything.
What’s more important is a good moral foundation and teaching your child to be compassionate. It doesn’t matter how he or she looks. He’s only 11 and will go thru so many phases. The more you voice you disapproval, the more he will want to rebel.
Sure, you’re the parent, but if he’s a good kid – what harm is a hairstyle or a piercing? It won’t change who he is, but it will give him more of a sense of himself. He’ll have to deal with strange looks if his hair is wild and he’ll have to clean his piercings. I hope you are getting what I mean…
This is a little off topic but as an example: I went to school with a girl who’s father didn’t let her her ANYTHING. He would follow her everywhere and was super, super strict. She couldn’t go to dances or anything. As soon as she was of age, she left home, met this nasty guy and ended up doing many things that you would never imagine. I, on the other hand,
was raised with moderate rules…had my hair every color under the sun, am tattooed, pierced, don’t drink or do drugs and am successful in both paretnhood and life. My friend on the other hand is now an alcoholic.
I’m not saying all kids with strict parents will turn out to be wild children; I just think the more freedom you give them to be themselves and go thru their phases; the better adjusted adults they will be. That does not mean drinking parties at age 16…I just mean the hair etc. stuff.

hearkat's avatar

We recently had this same discussion on another site… I’ve linked the page, which is best viewed in Safari (but Firefox might work)

cdwccrn's avatar

thanks to everyone. Hair is not worth fighting over.

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