You’re Not Going to Convince Me to Cut My Little Boy’s Hair, So Stop Trying

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“She’s getting so big!” a male relative exclaimed as he strutted through the door at a recent family gathering, his remark directed toward my growing toddler.

It was a seemingly harmless comment, yet it left me brimming with irritation and resentment.

You see, the “she” that this relative was referring to was my son, a “he” in every sense of the word.

A little boy who loves race cars and motorcycles, mud holes and trash piles, loud noises of all kinds and anything that will leave him filthier than before. A little boy, who just happens to have longish curly hair because, well, I adore it and am hanging onto this final piece of his babyhood for as long as I can.

It's OK to let my little boy have long hair. And, no it's none of your business. #littleboy #hairstyles #styles #manbun #longhair #motherhood #momlife

Now, this man was fully aware that my child is in fact a boy, but he couldn’t resist making an underhanded remark meant to express his disapproval about the length of my son’s hair. His comment was nothing more than a criticism disguised as an innocent mistake, something I’ve grown used to as the mom of a little boy with longish hair.

Situations like this are not uncommon, and no matter where we are, someone is certain to bring attention to my son’s hair.

People seem to enjoy making remarks about it, apparently trying to convince me to cut it.

When I take him outside to ride his bike, a neighbor rolls down the window of his truck to yell, “You need to cut that boy’s hair! You’re gonna grow him into a girl!” I guess I should be glad that he at least used the proper pronoun, but I certainly didn’t appreciate the unsolicited advice, nor his distorted view on raising children.

When I take him to the grocery story, a fellow mom comments on the length of his hair and asks with curiosity how I get it clean. I roll my eyes on the inside and explain that I wash it, just like I wash my daughter’s much longer hair. That I use water, shampoo and a comb – the same way people have been washing hair for all of time.

When someone expresses concern that people might think he’s a girl, I point out that he is wearing a navy blue shirt with a bright red firetruck on the front and that his fists are gripping handfuls of tractors and toy cars. And I have to wonder if they are really concerned that he might be mistaken for a she, or if they are simply uncomfortable with my choice to allow my little boy’s hair to grow out.

And there is always someone who feels it necessary to tell me that my son will never be a real man unless I cut his hair.

First, he’s two – which means he’s nearly two decades away from the age of being considered a “man.” And second, a boy’s transition into manhood has nothing to do with the length of his hair. It has to do with respect and responsibility, making hard decisions and doing hard work, showing love and setting a good example – all things that I intend to teach my son.

People act as if I am doing my young son a huge disservice by allowing his soft curls to grow out just a bit more, and it seems they have already categorized him as being “too feminine” simply because he doesn’t have a buzz cut.

It’s absurd, isn’t it? That the stereotyping begins at the age of two?

It's OK to let my little boy have long hair. And, no it's none of your business. #littleboy #hairstyles #styles #manbun #longhair #motherhood #momlife

There is no doubt that one day my son will become a man, regardless of how his hair is styled.

And I assure you that I am raising him to be a good man. But for now he’s still a little boy, and I intend to hang onto his littleness while I still have the opportunity to grasp it.

Yes, he is getting big, but he’s still my baby. And while everything about him seems to have changed, his hair has not. His curls continue to adorn his head in shades of copper and gold, the fine strands of hair the only piece of his babyhood left. And there is not one outside opinion that will convince me that his curls are going to damage him physically or psychologically, nor that I must cut it before it’s too late.

Let him be little. His babyhood has seemingly slipped right through my fingers, and the soft curls hanging loosely from his head are all that remain from our early days together. Let me enjoy his littleness, and his sweet little curls, before they slip right through my fingers too.

13 COMMENTS

    • Me too!! My five-year-old has long blond hair four inches past his shoulders. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me he needs to cut his hair or someone called him a girl, I could retire. He doesn’t want to cut it so we don’t make him. It’s his hair. As long as he brushes it at least once a day, I’m not sure why people care!

  1. I love his beautiful LONG CURLS!! Keep them until you and your son decide otherwise. I’d stop you in the street just to tell you how awesome they are!! Keep being the great mum that you are. Don’t mind the idiots xx

  2. M son is eleven. He is intelligent, going into middle school next year, loves computers, gadgets, animals hanging out with his friends and his hair is past his waist. He is Indo-Korean and has lovely, dark, thick, wavy hair. I still get comments from family, strangers, friends who are telling me to cut his hair. None of these people showconcern about his grades, interests, or any other aspect of his life. I’m growing my child to join the world. This includes different people of various beliefs, cultures, and hair lengths.

  3. I have a 6 year old boy with long hair. My mom and some other people say I should cut his hair. I refuse to and I don’t listen to them. It’s not their child. He also loves his long hair, it hasn’t changed his gender. He loves all boy stuff and hate dolls. Lol

  4. My son is 12 and has long blonde curly hair. A lot of people comment on how beautiful it is and say how jealous they are not to have hair like him. My family (1 or 2) in particular say he needs it cut cause he looks like a girl. He is starting high school in February and he might want to cut his hair but until then I will leave it. It’s who he is and is a part of his personality. He looks like a surfer dude.

  5. If you are so comfortable with having his hair long, why do you even care what someone says. Mothers who get offended because someone comments girl instead of boy???? I don’t get it. I like a little boy haircut, not sure why you want your little boy to look like a girl? The photo you posted of him is adorable but if I made a comment on your adorable child, I just might refer to him as she is beautiful. It is what it is.

    • Kendra, refer to what she just said above. Why does she want her little boy to look like a girl? That’s exactly the type of comment she’s addressing. Who decided long hair is just for girls? Why do you like short hairstyles on boys and think that’s cute? It’s all a matter of opinion. By all means you don’t have to agree. People wouldn’t go up to any grown man with long hair and tell them they look like a girl, because obviously they don’t they are a man. They shouldn’t do it to children especially when they no better. If gender isn’t known as you suggested you would do, you make a neutral comment if at all. I do this because when babies are very small sometimes it’s genuinely hard to know for sure.

  6. I praise you for a beautifully written piece and I too have a beautiful 6 year old boy who chooses to have long hair. He has varied interests which include playing with cute stuffed guinea pigs and drawing figures with cutesy anime eyes. When he was about 3 years old he came up to me asking to get a haircut. I asked him and he said it was because his uncles and randos kept calling him a little girl and sometimes making fun of him. My heart broke but since it was his decision we cut his hair. Immediately after, at the salon chair, he asked to get his long hair back. He regretted it and made it his mission to grow it back. Fast forward to the present, 3 years long it took to grow it back to the same length and he loves his hair. He still gets the same “you’re a girl” nonsense from his uncles but he calls them out on it. He’s very much vocal about equal rights and freedom of choice. He corrects strangers who make the mistake and tells off ignorant randos who insist he is a girl only coz of his hair. At times it would get pretty confrontational and I have to tell him that some people are just not willing to understand but that’s not his fault and just walk away, but I do so smiling and proud that I’m raising such a confident boy whose decisions wont be dictated by other people’s opinions of him. Keep at it moms, I say it’s all worth it in the end.

  7. It is annoying to have people give unsolicited advice to boys hair! As well as girls. I have a very short pixie cut and get comments regularly about why don’t I want long hair. My two year old son has beautiful blond wavy long hair and I get comments all the time about why I don’t cut his hair. He likes it long, we like it long. They don’t understand why my 5 year old son has a “boy” haircut but my 2 year old son doesn’t. Ain’t nobody’s business! You do you! That’s what I say. We also have twin boys- and let me tell you- I get so much “advice” from strangers about how to raise my twins. Haha. People are funny!

  8. I hated the day my niece finally caved in and cut her little boy’s hair, it was so beautiful!!! Stay strong and let him keep his lovely locks.

  9. My SIL has a 7 yr old boy with long, mid-back length hair. She tells every one who comments that its his decision; he wants it long. But the truth is, its mom who wants it that way. Before he was born she had told everyone she wanted a girl and was having one. Now secretly at home she puts in braids and even sets it on rollers. His clothes are often androgynous and one way or another, she’s still set on having a daughter.

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