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LostInParadise's avatar

Why do children cry when they get their first haircut?

Asked by LostInParadise (24716points) March 27th, 2010

Granted this is one of life’s lesser tragedies, but it seems it should be preventable. There is no physical pain involved so there must be something that the child is fearful of. Couldn’t someone explain what is going to happen and do a small demonstration?

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21 Answers

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Fyrius's avatar

You’re cutting off a part of their body. It’s not so hard to see why that idea sounds scary if you’re not used to it.

Bernard's avatar

You’re in a strange place with strange people coming at you with sharp scissors and noisy clippers, while you’re trapped by that apron.

I remember before the first time I was actually brought to a barber’s, my brother and sister telling me how much it would hurt. Pulling out one of my hairs and saying “This is what they do to all of your hairs”.

Seek's avatar

Toddlers aren’t the only ones who freak out over losing their hair. Have you ever seen a makeover episode of “Top Model”? Inevitably, one of these presumably grown women falls into hysterics over the loss of some dead cells.

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I remember that lol.

Thats too cute, I’d imagine a child would be scared when having sharp shiny objects so close to them knowing they are getting something “cut” and not knowing if it’s going to hurt or not.

I can’t wait to experience this with my baby girl (:

ucme's avatar

It’s the Samson effect.

MissAusten's avatar

I think it depends on the age of the child and how well they are able to understand what is going on. Luckily, my kids were mostly bald until past their first birthdays. The boys were over two by the time they had a “real” haircut. Neither of them cried, but the big challenge was convincing them to stay still. Sometimes it was easier to have them sit on my lap for the haircut until they were old enough to remember not to wiggle.

I remember telling them getting a haircut was easier than having fingernails clipped and just as painless. The lady who cut their hair was very patient and would show them that she wasn’t going to hurt them. She’d even let them play with a spray bottle and spray water all over the place while she cut their hair so they’d be occupied and sit still. No matter what you do, some very young children are going to be nervous because it’s a strange situation with a strange person. Someone I know used to cut her twin boys’ hair while they slept, but I have never been able to imagine how she managed it.

It might also help to read a book about getting a haircut, have the child watch you or an older sibling get a haircut first, or play “haircut” at home with a small comb, a spray bottle, and some fake plastic scissors (like the kind that usually comes with a kids doctor set). Of course, the drawback to that last suggestion is that the child could find some real scissors and do their own haircut.

Fred931's avatar

Some person you don’t know is approaching your head with sharp objects that make loud noises and look sharp and that you know can cut things very easily. None of you would trust me with a pair of scissors near your head, now, would you?

whyigottajoin's avatar

Because we want long hair! I cried so hard because I wanted my hair to be long, like the other girls’s hair. Plus I didn’t want to be ugly. People thought I was a boy with short hair, thank you, mother.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Mine didn’t. One even fell asleep!

Seek's avatar

My son doesn’t like having a warm, snuggly wet washcloth close to his head, and will literally kick and punch his way out of the situation. Why the hell would he allow scissors? I say let the hair grow! He has adorable curls anyway, and I won’t be responsible for anyone getting inadvertently stabbed with some really sharp shears.

talljasperman's avatar

Its a trust and comfort issue… I kicked the dentist when he tried to give me that huge metal needle in the cheek…I thought It would go through the other side.

MagicalMystery's avatar

my mother used to have to cut my baby sister’s hair while the baby was sleeping.

faye's avatar

Mine were fine but I suspect it’s because I did it at home!

RedPowerLady's avatar

I’ve cried over getting my haircut as a child. It wasn’t that it was unusual and scary I simply did not want my hair cut. I liked it the way it was. I think many toddlers feel this way, it is a stubborn age ;).

nebule's avatar

Theo didn’t either… I told him what was going to happen, he’d seen scissors before, I had even cut my own hair in front of him… he was cool with it…just didn’t want the apron on or be alone… they generally just want to know all be will ok I find…

UScitizen's avatar

Because their parents have failed to prepare them for the interaction.

ubersiren's avatar

Doing many things which are unfamiliar makes children uncomfortable and even scared. Many toddlers are extremely shy and wary of strangers. So if a stranger is messing with his head, it’s probably too close for comfort. My son didn’t cry for his first, but was very stiff and definitely looked scared. The second time, he cried. The third time he had no problem at all. It probably has to do with what mood the kid is in, too.

@UScitizen If you think that every time a child cries it’s because their parents have failed them in some way, then every parent is a failure nearly every day for the first two years of their child’s life. A child having a fear or crying is not necessarily an indication of parental failure. I’d say almost never. Children cry. Especially young ones in a new situation. You can make a huge effort to prepare your child for a new experience, but when it’s time for the real thing, there’s a huge chance that it will not go as planned.

MagicalMystery's avatar

babies and young children communicate by crying. they communicate by telling us they’re wet, hungry, mad, frustrated, lonely, tired. there’s no indication of failure in that.

thriftymaid's avatar

My girls didn’t, but my nephew had an absolute fit. Why? I have no idea, but it probably has something to do with fear.

YARNLADY's avatar

They don’t always, as @UScitizen says, it usually means their parents didn’t explain to them what was going to happen.

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